Some stories are just sad…
- A family’s house burns down on Christmas Eve.
- A child is killed by a drunk driver.
- A marriage that seemed so solid ends in divorce.
- A man works hard all his life, only to find he has cancer 3 weeks after retirement.
1 Chronicles chapter 10 is a sad story. It’s a story that goes downhill quickly; getting darker and more discouraging with every sentence.
- The Philistines attack and the Israelites are forced to flee.
- The Philistines close in, and King Saul’s sons are killed.
- The Philistines wound King Saul, and he commits suicide.
- The Philistines move in to occupy the Israelite towns, and they put King Saul’s dismembered body on display.
- Loyal Israelites recover the remains of King Saul and bury him and his sons…burying Saul’s dynasty forever.
Some stories are just sad.
But the last two verses of 1 Chronicles chapter 10 tell the reason for such a sad story. In these verses, we’re told that Saul was unfaithful to God. Saul was disobedient by not following the commands God had given him, and he was dishonoring by turning to something other than God for guidance. And so God brought his reign to an end and handed over the opportunity to someone else…David.
It could be tempting to read 1 Chronicles chapter 10 and come to the conclusion that God is vindictive and overly punitive. But in fact, it was Saul, not God, who determined the nature and end of his story. God had told Saul (and all the people) what would lead to a good story and what would lead to a sad story. (See 1 Samuel 12:14-15) The choice was Saul’s, and his choices with relationship to God determined the story.
The same is true for you and me. The choices we make, with relationship to seeking God, listening to God, and obeying God will determine the nature and outcome of our story. (Deuteronomy 11:26ff)
Some stories are just sad. Will yours be the same?