Sermons

Summary: A study in the book of 1 Samuel 31: 1 – 13

1 Samuel 31: 1 – 13

Heroic acts

31 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 Then the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. And the Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons. 3 The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armorbearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.” But his armorbearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore, Saul took a sword and fell on it. 5 And when his armorbearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him. 6 So Saul, his three sons, his armorbearer, and all his men died together that same day. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, and those who were on the other side of the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. 8 So it happened the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines, to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among the people. 10 Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of BethShan. 11 Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and traveled all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh and fasted seven days.

Just the other night I was watching the news and I was quite moved by the U.S. Air Force released video that highlighted a firefight in which Air Force Tech Sgt. John Chapman made a final heroic stand to save the lives of fellow troops on a mountaintop in Afghanistan, an act of bravery that will earn him a posthumous Medal of Honor later in August.

Taken from an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flying overhead, the video shows Chapman’s relentless counterattack on al-Qaeda fighters in the battle of Takur Ghar mountain. The battle was part of Operation Anaconda, a series of engagements led by CIA paramilitary officers and U.S. special operations troops that sought to root out and destroy al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the Afghanistan’s Shah-i-Kot Valley.

Chapman, an Air Force combat controller, and six members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 had landed on the 10,000-foot peak to rescue another SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, who had been stranded there in an aborted mission just hours before.

The team almost immediately came under withering fire from three directions. Alongside SEAL Chief Britt Slabinski, Chapman charged ahead, engaging multiple enemy positions and killing two al-Qaeda fighters who were firing from a fortified position.

As the battle raged on, Chapman moved ahead to cover the SEAL team’s advance and began taking fire from another enemy bunker. He managed to take out the fighters in their fortified position, but was struck by a burst of gunfire that left him critically wounded and incapacitated.

Under fire and believing that Chapman had been killed, the SEAL team retreated from the peak to let an Air Force gunship finish off the remaining al-Qaeda fighters.

Chapman soon regained consciousness and began to fight again. Despite grievous wounds, he engaged multiple enemy fighters for more than an hour, some in hand-to-hand combat. In his final act, Chapman provided covering fire for an incoming quick reaction force, until he was shot in the chest and killed.

President Donald Trump will present the Medal of Honor to Chapman’s wife, Valerie Nessel, and his family in a ceremony at the White House on Aug. 22. It will be the first Medal of Honor awarded to a member of the Air Force since the Vietnam War.

Slabinski, the SEAL chief who led the rescue mission, was awarded the Medal of Honor on May 24 for his actions at Takur Ghar. He is the second living SEAL to receive the nation’s highest award for valor in the Afghanistan war.

In today’s study we are going to read about some other people who defied danger and in a heroic act went and retrieved the bodies of Saul and his sons that were mockingly displayed by the Philistines.

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