Playing the fool
1 Samuel 26:23
1. Illus. of Alfred Nobel
• In 1866 Nobel invented dynamite and built up companies and laboratories in more than 20 countries all over the world. In the process, he amassed a considerable fortune.
• When Nobel’s brother died, the newspaper made a mistake and ran an obituary for Alfred Nobel. In the obituary they stated that he was known for creating the most destructive force known to mankind, dynamite. When Nobel read the obituary, he decided that he didn’t want his family name remembered for destruction.
• While science had built the foundation for Nobel’s own activities as a technological researcher and inventor, efforts to promote peace had always been close to his heart. As a result he began thinking about giving away his fortune as a means to recognize those that have made significant contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace.
• On November 27, 1895, Nobel signed his final will and testament at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris. When Nobel died on December 10, 1896, it was discovered that according to his will, his vast wealth was to be used for five prizes, including one for peace. The prize for peace was to be awarded to the person who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses.”
• Just before his death he confided in a friend, “I want to be remembered for peace, not destruction.”
2. What will your obituary say? Or, to put it another way, how will your life be summed up? Saul summed up his life one day as he shouted to a young man named David, “I have played the fool!”
3. Saul’s reign began so full of promise. He was tall, smart, and godly. It ended on a battlefield; his son’s dead at his feet, his army routed, and with him taking his own life in despair and defeat. What happened? In his own words, he played the fool.
4. I’ve know many Christians who started out full of promise. Yet, instead of living a life of eternal significance, they lead empty, meaningless lives that amount to nothing. Instead of leaving a legacy of godliness they leave a legacy of sorrow and regret. Do you know why this happens? Because like Saul, they’ve played the fool.
5. I want you to look at Saul’s life with me for the ways he played the fool. I want us to examine our lives and make sure we are not playing the fool as well.
6. How does one play the fool? Saul gives us several examples.
I. We play the fool when we neglect godly counsel
1. Samuel was the prophet that anointed Saul king of Israel. Samuel was available at any time to give wisdom and counsel to Saul. But instead of seeking out that godly counsel, if you read these chapters in 1 Samuel that contain Saul’s life you get the idea he is trying to avoid godly counsel from Samuel. As a matter of fact, the only time he looks for Samuel is when Saul is in trouble!
2. If he had sought out Samuel instead of avoiding him, he would never have wound up on a Philistine hillside falling on his own sword!