Conflict and Courage


A Suicide, June 17

1 Samuel 31:1-6

The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness. Proverbs 11:5. CC 174.1

On the plain of Shunem and the slopes of Mount Gilboa the armies of Israel and the hosts of the Philistines closed in mortal combat. Though the fearful scene in the cave of Endor had driven all hope from his heart, Saul fought with desperate valor for his throne and his kingdom. But it was in vain. “The men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in Mount Gilboa.” Three brave sons of the king died at his side. The archers pressed upon Saul. He had seen his soldiers falling around him and his princely sons cut down by the sword. Himself wounded, he could neither fight nor fly. Escape was impossible, and determined not to be taken alive by the Philistines, he bade his armor-bearer, “Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith.” When the man refused to lift his hand against the Lord's anointed, Saul took his own life by falling upon his sword. Thus the first king of Israel perished, with the guilt of self-murder upon his soul.29Ibid., 681, 682. CC 174.2

By following the dictates of Satan, Saul was himself hastening the very result which, with unsanctified ability, he was endeavoring to avert. CC 174.3

The counsel of the Lord had been disregarded again and again by the rebellious king, and the Lord had given him up to the folly of his own wisdom. The influences of the Spirit of God would have restrained him from the course of evil which he had chosen, that eventually worked out his ruin. God hates all sin, and when man persistently refuses all the counsel of heaven, he is left to the deceptions of the enemy, to be drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed.30The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 2:1019. CC 174.4

The first king of Israel proved a failure, because he set his will above the will of God. Through the prophet Samuel the Lord instructed Saul that as king of Israel his course of action must be one of strictest integrity. Then God would bless his government with prosperity. But Saul refused to make obedience to God his first consideration, and the principles of heaven the government of his conduct. He died in dishonor and despair.31Ibid., 1017. CC 174.5