Come with me this morning as we see an army marching through the wilderness. There is no talking or jesting. They are a determined group of valiant warriors with one objective in mind. As we approach the city of Bethshan, we see what has motivated these men to march all night long. Hanging on the wall of the city are four dead bodies. As we draw closer we find that one of the bodies is missing its head. These men carefully remove the bodies from the wall, burned them, buried the bones, and fasted for seven days.
Who are these four men who have been hung on the wall in open shame? They are Jonathan, Abinadab, Melchishua, and Saul. What has happened? Why has the king of Israel and three of his sons been killed by the enemy and fastened on the wall of this Philistine city for all to see?
I. The Historical Reason.
A. Israel had rejected God.
1. They refused Godís authority in their lives.
2. They wanted a king like all the other nations.
3. God granted their request...their choice was Saul.
B. Saul had rejected God.
1. He refused to accept Godís authority in his life.
2. God gave him direction, but he chose to go his own way.
3. Godís man, Samuel, had delivered the prophecy that God would strip away his kingdom and give it to David, because of his disobedience!
C. God rejected Saul! 1 Sam. 28:4-19
1. The Philistines were gathering together to fight the final battle to overthrow Israel and its kingdom.
2. Samuel had died.
3. Saul was afraid to go into battle without some counsel, but God wouldnít answer him.
4. Saul chose to seek counsel through the witch of Endor.
5. However, what he heard wasnít what he had wanted to hear.
II. The Real Reason. cf 1 Chron. 10:13-14
Note: We could look at this event and simply say that Saul and his sons died in battle as countless others had died before them. We can view events in our lives with a very cold and calculating eye and explain why things happen as they do. But there is a God in heaven! And folks, we fool ourselves if we think that we can reject His authority in our lives and go our own way and not suffer the consequences! Go with me to 1 Chron. 10:13 and we will see the real reason that Jonathan, Abinadab, Melchishua, and Saul were killed.
A. "Saul died for his transgression..."
1. He may have tried to blame someone else for what he did, but God held him responsible.
2. Today we are told that it isnít our fault...it is because of our environ- ment, our parents, our race, our gender, or whatever else you want to put in the blank.
3. There is coming a day when everyone of us will stand before Almighty God and we will have to answer for ourselves!
4. No more excuses...no more pointing our fingers at someone else...we will stand before God and answer for ourselves!
5. Our legal system is not about justice anymore...it is about words and phrases and technicalities of the law!
6. Saul died for his transgressions, not because Samuel had failed, not because the Philistines had over- powered the army of Israel in battle, but it was because of his trans- gressions.
B. "Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord..."
1. All sin is against the Lord! Let me repeat this: All sin is against the Lord!
2. We may think that we can do as we please and God will not care, but that is faulty thinking!
3. When we set our feet where they do not belong, when we place our eyes where they do not belong, when we put our hands where they do not belong...we transgress against the Lord!
4. When that happens, God will not look lightly upon it!
5. I do not want to offend you, I do not want to offend my wife, but I certainly do not want to offend God!
C. "Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the Word of the Lord..."
1. It is one thing to know what Godís Word says, but it is another to be obedient to it.
2. Saul was not ignorant of Godís Word, but he chose to disobey it.
3. I have talked with folks who know what Godís Word says, but they have chosen to do what they feel is right!
4. Jeremiah has told us that we cannot trust our hearts...we cannot trust our feelings...we can only trust the Word of God that does not change!
5. Saul knew what God had said, but he chose to go his own way.
6. There are many today who, like Saul, seek counsel from everywhere but God and His Word!
7. Usually, it is because they donít want to hear what God has to say!
D. "...Therefore He slew him..."
1. Listen to what God is saying here.
2. Because Saul transgressed against God and His Word, God took his life.
3. Saul was defeated on the battlefield, died a cowardís death, and was disgraced by the enemy.
4. What a tragedy!
5. But it didnít have to be that way.
a. There was another king who disobeyed God and transgressed against Him.
b. His name was David.
c. Note: Psalm 51
What was the difference? Repentance. Listen to me this morning. All we like sheep have gone astray. There is none righteous no not one. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
But God is ready and willing to deal with our sin effectively. We may want to try to cover it up and hide it; but God wants us to acknowledge it and repent of it. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) Will you come to God today?