What Does A Headless King Have To Do With The Will Of God?
The Lord’s displeasure over King Saul’s disobedience should serve as a loud, stinging reminder to each and every Christian today. Myself included.
As believers in the post-resurrection era, we have each been issued a divine mission to go, share the gospel with every creature, and make disciples of all the nations. To not be wholly obedient to this command is sin, and all sin has its consequence.
“Do not be deceived,” the Scripture warns, “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap”(Galatians 6:7). If we who call on the name of the Lord continue to sow laziness in our personal devotions, cherish lukewarm pews of convenience rather than dying daily, or lack zeal for the redemption of the unsaved, then we may reap divine judgment sooner rather than later.
Notice, however, that although God immediately pronounced judgment against King Saul, He withheld His omnipotent hand until a later date. Saul remained king over Israel and lived many years after his failure with the Amalakites.
Could it be that perhaps the LORD was granting Saul an opportunity to repent and return to Him with faithful obedience? After all, the Lord also waited nearly two full years for the early church to leave Jerusalem before He allowed them to be persecuted in Acts chapter eight.
Could God also be holding back His judgment against any one of us at this very moment? Could He be waiting for us to finish (or even begin?) the ministry we have been appointed to, rather than making excuses for our lack of effort?
Regardless, however, do not misinterpret the fact that it was God—not man or devil—who ultimately killed King Saul. A Philistine archer launched the arrow that pierced his flesh and Saul subsequently committed suicide when he “took his sword and fell on it,” but God in His sovereignty ordained all of it to be (c.f. 1 Samuel 31:3-4).
As it clearly states in 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, “So Saul died for his treason which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse” (italics mine).
The consequence of Saul’s idolatrous disobedience stands as a warning to everyone today who names the name of Christ. As sheep prone to wander, we each need to be reminded about how important it is to be passionate about our own personal discipleship, following through with our Lord’s command to “Go therefore and make disciples.”
The requirement of total obedience is as potent today as it was to the early church in the book of Acts. In the same way that there was a severe consequence for the early church being only partially obedient to God’s revealed will of Great Commission Discipleship, there will be a consequence for us as well; whether in this life or at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Beloved, be intentionally radical about your love for Jesus Christ. This is most certainly God’s will for your life today.
If You Are Breathing Then You Have Another Chance
President Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter on October 4, 1864 from his office in Washington, D.C. The letter is not exactly famous, but it is certainly interesting. It reads as follows:
“Upon condition that Roswell McIntyre of Co. E, Sixth Regiment of New York Calvary, returns to his regiment and faithfully serves out his time, or until lawfully discharged, he is fully pardoned for any supposed desertion heretofore committed; this paper is his pass to his regiment.”
What is so fascinating about this particular letter is that at the bottom left corner was scribbled:
“Taken from the body of R. McIntyre at the battle of Five Forks,Va., 1865.”
Roswell McIntyre was a Union solider who, in a moment of cowardice, deserted his military post and went AWOL. He was eventually captured and imprisoned, but President Lincoln gave him a second chance to reclaim his dignity. The choice was his alone to make. To his credit, Mr. McIntyre chose to take Lincoln up on that promise and rejoined his troop.
A year later that decision cost him his life. Instead of living out the remainder of his years as an imprisoned and disgraced coward, he died a brave and heroic soldier at the battle of Five Forks in Virginia.
And so is every Christian who obediently engages in the next opportunity of ministry that crosses their path. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ remains the God of second chances.
May that be the case with every one of God’s children as we obey His revealed will, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the glory of God alone.
* Photo credit: killerturnip (Creative Commons)