1 Chronicles 10:1-14 (Part 2) – The God of Last Resort

Posted: February 17, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 10:1-14 (Part 2 of 3)

The Death of Saul

When you read about King Saul, we are often reminded of ourselves. I know that was the way that I was prior to accepting Christ as my Savior. Growing up as a preacher’s son, it was not like I did not understand who God was or what Christ represented. I understood a lot about the Christian faith simply by being in church every Sunday and at church for every event and by simply listening to my dad discuss these things. However, living in a parsonage does not guarantee faith in Christ. There’s an old saying that preacher’s kids are the worst when it comes to model behavior. We are often reminded of the portrayal of the preacher’s daughter, Ariel, on the movie, Footloose. She was a wild child and she was the one that encouraged Ren to protest the repression in the town concerning dancing.

Although I was not blatantly rebellious toward my dad, I would often be involved in things that would get me in trouble with him (as it would with any parent not just because he was a pastor). Whereas my brother was a conformist to what my parents expected, I was a subtle rebel. And, I think part of that played into my later life. I so wanted to be accepted by the regular kids that I had to prove I was not some squeaky clean kid. May preacher’s kids are this way. We seem to purposely show that we do not sit around do Bible studies all the time. We are often out to prove that we are just as wild as any typical teenager.

And I think it was that backdrop of seeking acceptance as rebellion against what I was expected to be that led me to take so long to get to the cross. Oh I knew who God was. Oh I knew about salvation. Oh, I was in church every time the door was open. But I was not moved by being in the presence of the faith. As a matter of fact, as I grew older and into my teens that I was just numb to it all and really didn’t see what real impact the faith was on my life. Sure, I prayed to God on occasion but it was always when things were bad or when things did not go the way I wanted them to go. He was my God of last resort.

I knew who He was. I actually fully understood and acknowledged His existence. It’s not that I did not know who He was. I just did not acknowledge that He was part of my life. He was a conceptual God to me, a theoretical God, but not one who was a real part of my life. Well, until I was deeply hurt by something or someone, or circumstances had piled up over me, and I didn’t see any way out of a situation that was good for me. I prayed then. I prayed hard. I prayed hard to this God of last resort. Aren’t many of us like that until we know God through accepting Christ as our Savior.

You see it all the time in the world in which we live today. When something really bad happens, you will see us pray to God. People that don’t care about God or His existence 99.9% of the time will pray to Him when things are bad or something unexplainable happens or both. We want to ignore Him any other time. Often we are so bad about ignoring Him we call him the Universe so that we do not have to truly acknowledge Him as God. But let something major happen to us collectively or individually, we will pray to God. We use Him as a Last Resort God because any other time, we want to not be bound by His Word. We want to live life our own way and what we perceive as His “restrictions”. Yesterday, I preached a sermon about intimacy God’s way. In this area of life, we want to do things our way instead of the outlined in God’s Word. We want to do it our way. And I proceeded to demonstrate the horrendous impacts that the sexual revolution has had on our society. And, I stated that God’s way was not restrictive but rather a Loving Father looking out for our best interest, looking out for us to keep us from harm.

When we do things our own way and that are often the opposite of what God commands, there are always negative consequences. God is not restrictive. He is preventive. But we are like impetuous teenagers who rebel against their parents because we think we know better. We then only admit that our parents were right when we fail miserably. Many of us are that we with God. We come to Him only when we have failed miserably and need Him to get us out of a jam.

That’s what came to mind this morning as I thought about King Saul. He was a rebellious kid when it came to God. Although God had provided him with his kingship, he ignored God’s guidance until things went awry and then and only then would he go to God. With that in mind, let’s read this passage, 1 Chronicles 10:1-14, together for the second of three blogs on this passage:

10 Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. 3 The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him.

4 Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to taunt and torture me.”

But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died. 6 So Saul and his three sons died there together, bringing his dynasty to an end.

7 When all the Israelites in the Jezreel Valley saw that their army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns.

8 The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found the bodies of Saul and his sons on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they stripped off Saul’s armor and cut off his head. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death before their idols and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. 10 They placed his armor in the temple of their gods, and they fastened his head to the temple of Dagon.

11 But when everyone in Jabesh-gilead heard about everything the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their mighty warriors brought the bodies of Saul and his sons back to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones beneath the great tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.

13 So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord’s command, and he even consulted a medium 14 instead of asking the Lord for guidance. So the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

In this passage, we find a reminder of the kingship of Saul. In the account in 1 Samuel 26, Saul asked the Lord for guidance but received no answer. This account implies that he did not ask God for help. The answer to this apparent contradiction lies in understanding Saul’s motives and timing of his request to God. His frantic requests came only when he had tried everything his own way. He never went to God unless there was nowhere else to turn. When he finally asked, God refused to answer. Saul sought God only when it suited him, and God rejected him for his constant stubbornness and rebellion.

Are you like King Saul? Are you like me when I was younger? I would only seek God when I had exhausted all other means of molding my life’s events and my reactions in the way that I wanted. I treated God like He was my personal genie. He sat on the shelf until I needed him to grant me my desires – my desired fix to a situation. However, in this scenario, we have the relationship all backwards. We are making God our handyman, our genie, our puppet. When in fact, it should be the other way around. We must recognize Him as the source of all things all the time. We must seek Him in every moment of life. We must acknowledge that He is supreme and we are His subject. He is God and we are not. We must have relationship with Him and recognize Him as the leader of our lives. We must have a relationship with Him so that we understand that He is the source of life, of even our every breath. Otherwise, we treat Him like we own Him and expect Him to fix things our way and do things our way. That’s not a relationship with the Creator of all things, including us. That’s a magic elixir God. That’s a God of our own making. That’s the magic cure God. That’s the God of last resort. That is not God. We are praying to a God our own making, a God of last resort, that will magically restore our lives into the perfect world of our own making. That’s just not who God is.

Help us, Lord, to be in relationship with you with the proper perspective of who each of us is. Help to seek you daily and at all times. Help to have a real relationship with you through Jesus Christ and not just in times of crisis. Help us not to treat you as the God of Last Resort.

Amen and Amen.

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