Summary: It is not enough to have great potential or show great promise. It is what you do with that potential that makes all the difference. A good beginning does not guarantee a good end. End your life well, to the glory of God.
Whatever we start, do it well and end it well. Put your heart in it and do a good job. It is more important how we end than how well we start.
• This is so true of Saul’s life. He started well, but did not end well.
• We are going to read about his death today (1 Sam 31), and I’ve entitled my message – don’t waste your life – to remind ourselves that we want to live a purposeful life and end it well, to the glory of God.
Saul started out well, actually. He was anointed by God and given the chance to lead his nation.
• 1 Sam 9:2 says he was “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites - a head taller than any of the others.”
• But a good beginning does not guarantee a good end. It is not enough to have great potential or show great promise. It is what you do with that potential that makes all the difference.
If we squander His blessings, you would have wasted the opportunities God has given us. Don’t spurn the grace of God in our lives.
Let’s read 1 Sam 31:1-7.
• The author reveals more how exactly Saul died in 2 Sam 1:1-12.
David got to know of Saul’s death on the third day after his return from fighting the Amalekites… in order words, both battles could have happened about the same time.
• We see the grace of God here. He led David away from Aphek and avoided the fight against his own nation Israel (where Saul and his sons would be killed).
• And having David returned in time to rescue his family from the Amalekites.
• “… in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
The author described Saul’s death at great length. In fact, we only had one simple line that says his sons were killed (31:2). Nothing more.
• We don’t know how Jonathan died. Some of us may like to know because Jonathan has been David’s most loyal supporter. He risked his life to save David.
From the way this part of Israel’s history was written, it is clear that the author wants to track TWO LIVES – Saul and David.
• He swings between Saul and David, telling us what happens on Saul’s side and then what happens on David’s side.
• Most of the time, they are at two different places, except the few occasions they converge.
The author’s primary interest is to contrast Saul with David. It is not a chronological record of historical events.
• He wants us to see two different lives with two different hearts – one drifting further and further into disobedience, and the other drawing closer and closer to God in obedience.
• One is a heart that is after his own heart; the other is a heart that is after God’s own heart.
And today we read the conclusion of the life without God – a tragic end, filled with gloom and doom.
• This is not that God has not been good to Saul, or that He has not shown him favour.