Keeping the Faith
by Joseph Franks
Saul is tall, dark, and handsome; he is a sight to behold. In the course of time, he is specifically chosen by God to be Israel’s king, and with the royal crown comes a special anointing of the Holy Spirit. As the military leader of Israel, he is gifted in the art of war. His conquests make up the victory songs of his people. He is also gifted with pleasure and prosperity. More than this, he is blessed with sons like Jonathan, servants like David, and priests like Samuel. And, whenever Saul desires, unlike other worldly pagan monarchs, he can acceptably worship the one true God according to God’s priests, sacraments, ordinances, and sacred writings. What a blessed individual!
However, Saul is one of the most tragic figures in the Bible. He is a failure in the eyes of his people. He is a failure in the eyes of his son. He is a failure in the eyes of God’s chosen messiah — David. More than this, he is a failure in the eyes of God. On his final day, his three sons are slaughtered in his presence. His kingdom is ransacked by those who mock and despise the Lord. Like an arrogant coward, he tries to commit suicide, but this he does unsuccessfully; his armor bearer finds it necessary to seal the deal. And the last day of his life ends with the Philistines stripping him of his armor and removing him of his head. With great pomp, ceremony, and enjoyment they take his noggin and hang it as tribute in the temple of their god. Dagon is now the one who owns the “head” of God’s people.
Why such a miserable life and dismal death? The prophet gives us his inspired summary:
So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
Saul did not keep the faith. Saul did not obey the command of the Lord. Saul did not consult or seek guidance from the Lord.
Friends, the times have changed, the enemies have changed, the dispensations have changed, the covenants have changed, and the names have changed. However, one thing remains the same; God and his desires have not changed. He is still displeased and sadden by:
- His kings not keeping the faith
- His kings not obeying the command of the Lord
- His kings not consulting or seeking guidance from him
Worshipers of God, why don’t we learn from Saul, for we are much like him. Because of God’s undeserved mercy and grace, we have been chosen, redeemed, regenerated, justified, adopted, and anointed; we are destined to reign with him. Better than Saul, we have a permanent anointing of the Holy Spirit; he does not come and go with us as he did with his Old Covenant worshipers. Like Saul, we are more than conquerors through him who loves us so much. Many of us have been granted more than sufficient prosperity on this earth; all of us are sure to enjoy the best of God’s gifts in eternity. Despite our personal failings, a great number of us are blessed with sons like Jonathan who are already outshining us in their love for God and neighbor. And like Saul, whenever we desire, we have the ability to acceptably worship the one true God according to God’s Priest, God’s sacraments, and God’s sacred writings. What blessed individuals we are!
So, how will our day end today? How will we worship God? Will he be honored and glorified, or will we give his enemies a greater opportunity to mock and blaspheme his name? Will we be like King Saul, or will we be like King Jesus?
- Jesus kept the faith.
- Jesus obeyed the command of the Lord.
- Jesus sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit in everything he did.
Beloved of Jesus, let us forsake the ways of the Philistines, and let us forsake the ways of Saul. Let us walk after the manner of our Savior, Lord, and King. At least for today, all day long, let us honor God by:
- Keeping the faith
- Obeying the command of the Lord
- Consulting him and seeking his guidance
This is what we were created to do. This is what we were re-created to do. This is the desire we have within our regenerated, converted, justified, and sanctified chest. This is good. This is honorable. This is best. This is the way we walk when we wish to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Go talk with your Savior now. Then be ready to do what he commands through his Word.