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Saul's Slippery Slope

Who doesn't love an “underdog story” where there's a nearly impossible challenge overcome by an unlikely hero? We often attribute such news to the example of David and Goliath. It is encouraging to read about a faithful and humble boy being anointed king and then defeating an enemy that was literally of gigantic proportions. In Sunday schools across America, there are numerous lessons taught on the call and courage of David. In light of this, we don't hear much about his predecessor. All that some Christians know is that Saul was an angry and jealous king who tried to have David killed multiple times.
They don't realize that even Saul's back-story was one of lowliness. He came out of one of the most insignificant households in Israel (1 Samuel 9:21). His family was poor and his tribe small. True he was very tall and handsome, but in his own eyes, he was unnoticeable (1 Samuel 15:17). Though he was anointed king, he was not pridefully eager to accept the royal role placed on him (1 Samuel 10:22). At one point, Saul was led by God's Spirit to prophesy alongside Israel's prophets (1 Samuel 10:11)! He was only thirty when he was appointed king, yet he still showed a measure of mercy and discernment when faced with ridicule and disrespect over his position (1 Samuel 10:27).
So what happened to this lowly, young man? What path did he choose that ended up hardening his heart and diminishing his passion for the ways of God? Near the end of Saul's life, you are left with an image of a crooked, embittered, fearful, and savage man. It may take a few articles to unpack the needful warnings that emanate out of his example, but for our learning, we must not gloss over his life. In the coming weeks, as we learn about his dangerous decisions, we must place Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 1:11-12 at the forefront of our minds, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (ESV) What is evident is that at one point Saul's heart was established in meekness and trust and at another he began to allow the weed of arrogant, self confidence to take root within his life. Our strength to stand will only come from the power of God's might (Ephesians 6:10). Remember, only God is able to make rivers flow from a rock and make water a firm foundation to walk on. 


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