By: Danny Chua
A handful of us went for the Project Timothy Evening Expositions – Preaching Old Testament Narrative from 2 Samuel.
2 Samuel 1 was covered on the first night over two short sermons.
The scene begins with the death of King Saul, who has killed himself in his losing battle against the Philistines. King Saul wasn’t the most obedient king – when instructed by God Himself to destroy, the Amalekites, he actually spared the king and the livestock (1 Samuel 15:9-11). Now, besides his death, we also see other consequences of his disobedience towards God.
King David on the other hand, has successfully defeated the Amalekites while Saul dies fighting the Philistines. The scene shifts as we see a young Amalekite trying to take advantage of King Saul’s death – apparently, he reckons that the new king, David would be overjoyed to receive Saul’s crown and insignia (v.10). David and Saul used to be enemies and one would think David should be glad to receive this affirmation of kingship from the Amalekite. However, David is upright, stands for the truth in God’s kingdom, sees that the young man is lying about Saul’s death.
The last chapter of 1 Samuel (31:6) tells us that King Saul killed himself, ‘falling upon his own sword’ – no one committed the deed. Although David doesn’t have a foreknowledge of this, he sees through the lies of the Amalekite after questioning him intensely. The summary of this scene is this: the fall of Saul is tragic, it ends in suicide, but it doesn’t stop there. Even after his death, his mighty enemies (and ironically, the ones he spared), the Amalekites, are represented by this very young man who seeks to exploit Saul’s death, to gain favour with the new king, David. The disobedience of Saul towards God has grave consequences, and it is emphasized not just by his tragic death, but also by the shame embedded to his name – someone tries to exploit him, a dead man, for benefits!
The reality of the tragedy is accentuated when King David mourns the loss of Saul, and his son Jonathan. Israel has lost not just its king but also its crown prince, a deep, deep national tragedy indeed! In spite of this, we see David’s celebration of Saul’s goodness (v.23), his generosity (v.24) and his might (v.25) when he was alive. Saul may have been honorable in various aspects, but he was far from perfect, really.
Friends, we must not lose sight of the big picture here – our best, most brilliant of leaders and rulers will always definitely fail us in some way or another, because they are all sinful and imperfect human beings. Even their goodness and virtues are lost along with death, which eventually happens to everyone.
The story, by the grace of God, does not end in hopelessness. The hope we lose in our imperfect rulers point to a great, perfect King that will usher in His perfect Kingdom. King Jesus will rule with righteousness and just authority. He will not fail us the way our human kings do and our hope in Him will not be in vain. As we await the return of our coming King, we have two choices – a life in obedience to King Jesus, or a life according to our own sinful desires..
What will we choose today?