Summary: The life of Saul exposed
At the close of the book of I Samuel one of the saddest stories in the history of the nation of Israel is told. Saul, the once highly blessed of God, king of Israel, commits physical suicide atop mount Gilboa (I Samuel 31:4). The man that was anointed of God (I Samuel 10:1), given another heart by God (I Samuel 10:9), used by the Spirit of God (I Samuel 10:10; 11:6), and humble in the beginning (I Samuel 9:21; 10:23) commits this ultimate act of despair.
However, his slide down the path of sin began when his own self-will caused him not to keep the commandment of the Lord and intrude into the Priest’s office (I Samuel 13:8-14). He lost his reasoning ability, making a rash oath(I Samuel 14:44). He directly disobeyed the voice of the Lord by not eliminating Amelek, instead sparing him and "the chief things which should have been utterly destroyed."
This open disobedience by the king caused Samuel to utter those now famous words: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king" (I Samuel 15:22,23).
His jealousy led him to try to kill David, falsely considering him an enemy (I Samuel 18,19). And, his anger caused him to try to kill his own son Jonathan (I Samuel 20:33). He later, brutally commanded the slaughter of 85 Priests and all the inhabitants of their city (I Samuel 22:17-19). His last irrational act prior to his suicide was consulting the witch of Endor.
Recognizing that the Lord no longer was with him, he turned to Satan’s counterpart to give him counsel. But even through this unlikely source he hears from the departed spirit of Samuel who soundly condemned him and prophesied his doom. Saul reacts by falling down and "was sore afraid"(I Samuel 28:20). This bizarre encounter leads him into the final episode of his life as he ends it all by committing physical suicide.
This is Satan’s ultimate goal for the child of God. Ending their God-given life in shame and utter despair is Satan’s plan and unfortunately it is not an uncommon thing to hear of suicide among many today and especially the young. As a matter of fact, it is the leading killer of teens in the U.S.A.! One mortician recently told me: "The majority of suicides never make the news, most are hidden in shame."
However, it is obvious that Saul’s physical suicide began by his acts of self-will, disobeying the Lord, and finally rejecting His Word! "Spiritual Suicide" always takes place first, before anyone is found committing physical suicide! Underline always! When anyone gives up on life, they have previously rejected the ways and wooing of the One who is the very Author of life, the God of the Bible. Giving life, whether it be physical or spiritual is God’s business!
Saul, obviously received eternal life from God when "God gave him a new heart", and the Spirit of God then repeatedly used Saul. These two acts of God prove that he truly was a child of God. But, Saul’s "Spiritual Suicide" began when his self-will opened up an opportunity for the devil to direct his thoughts and actions leading him down the treacherous road of rebellion and witchcraft ending ultimately in his Satanically motivated self-destruction!
‘No man in the Bible had so many opportunities thrust upon him to make a success of life, and no man ever so missed them and deliberately abused them as this man Saul. The down-slide of Saul is the old familiar story of pride, egotism and abuse of power leading to moral degradation and ruin’ (Herbert Lockyer).
Saul was Satan’s Number 1 target in the nation of Israel at that time. Eliminate the leader and the followers will flee in disarray! I Samuel 31:7 attests to these despairing facts: "And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them." A similar thing occurred when Jesus was taken by the Jews, as the disciples fled fearing the Jews (Mark 14:50; John 20:19).
Satan’s primary target is God’s leader for he knows by past experience that he can inflict the most damage through destroying the one whom God has chosen to direct and lead His people. All the more why we should pray for and uphold those whom God has chosen to be our leaders, the Pastor and Deacons of our local church and the government officials He has ordained to be in positions of authority.