Summary: An Exposition of 1 Sam. 31

Am I Ready to Die Today?

1 Sam. 31

Author H. B. London writes in his newsletter to pastors: More than 300 people were aboard Air France flight #358 when it came to a stop about 220 yards beyond the end of the runway in Toronto [this past] Tuesday {Aug. 2, 2005.] Miraculously, no one died in the crash and only 43 of the 309 people were injured. In less than three minutes, all people on board were evacuated — and then the plane burst into flames. The one comment that caught my attention as I read the report was from a 32-year-old man who said, "I didn’t want to die today." In one short phrase, he captured the sentiments of most of us. Yet the truth is,…the Census Bureau believes that one person dies every 12 seconds in the United States… If my math is correct, approximately 7,200 people die each day in the United States….The reason the statement of that young man — "I didn’t want to die today" — caught my attention was because it could easily be restated, "I am not ready to die today." How many of [us] are ready to die today?

If you could chose the day of your death, what day would it be? Would it be today—tomorrow---10 years from now? How would you go about making that choice? Most of us can sympathize with comedian Woody Allen, who once said::

I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.- Woody Allen

But you will be there. Ready or not, expected or unexpected, death comes. Try to ignore it, some things in life remind you that today could be the day you die: a close call, like these airplane passengers; the funeral of a friend; a celebrity obituary; maybe even a scene taken from the pages of the Bible.

This is why 1 Sam. 31 is so important for us to look at today: in these verses, God tells you and I some very important truths that can help you be ready to die today, tomorrow, or whenever it comes your time to leave this world. Today I want you and I to look death- your death, my death- in the face, and see beyond death to the hope God offers us through Christ.


A traveling evangelist once asked the pastor of a church he was holding revival in, “What’s the death rate in this area?” The pastor replied, “One per person.”

You and I know that, but somehow it doesn’t always sink in, does it? An old Jewish proverb says Every man knows he will die, but no one wants to believe it. Many of us seem to unconsciously believe dying is what happens to other people, not me, not now, not today. But when you read these verses, they remind us that all kinds of people die every day.

First of all, let’s notice that bad people die. Saul is a good example.Saul was like most bad people- he didn’t start off as an evil person. In fact, he was probably a pretty good person. He was handsome, and eager, and seemed willing to serve his country and his Lord.

But Saul let his crown go to his head. Instead of obeying God, he takes a wrong turn, and ends up doing all kinds of wicked things, from trying to murder David to turning to the occult instead of God for guidance. It doesn’t shock us when bad person like Saul dies.

What shocks us is when good like Jonathan die. Here is a prince of a man: loyal to God, a faithful soldier, loyal to his wicked father, but also loyal to his friend David. He is a man who trusted God, and who could be trusted by others. And yet he dies on the same day, in the same battle as his evil father Saul. It doesn’t seem fair that good people like Jonathan die.

But there are those who are somewhere in-between who also die. Saul’s army is made up of some who were neither especially good, nor especially bad. They were just doing their duty, serving their country, their king, and their God. They are not particularly righteous, or all that evil, they’re just stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Which is my point: Everybody dies. You may brave and good as Jonathan or as twisted and evil as Saul, or even somewhere in-between, but one thing is sure: you will die.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

You may be old or young, single, married, divorced, or engaged. You might be at home, or at work, or at school. You may be sitting at the supper table, driving down the road, or laying in a hospital bed. But there will come a day when you inhale one last breath, your heart will pound out one more beat, your spirit will leave your body, and you will die. It may be 20 years from now, later this year, or next month, or two weeks from now. Or it may be today.

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