He said to the young man carrying his weapons, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, so that these godless Philistines won’t gloat over me and kill me.’ But the young man was too terrified to do it. So Saul took his own sword and threw himself on it. The young man saw that Saul was dead, so he too threw himself on his own sword and died with Saul. And that is how Saul, his three sons, and the young man died; all of Saul’s men died that day.(verses 4- 6)
Read 1 Samuel 31:1-13
Saul kills himself so that his enemies will not gloat over him. Suicide is a regrettable reality in society. People, so lost in abject misery, see no other way but to take their own life. In Saul’s case we may understand his action, but, generally, who can fathom suicide? All the ‘ifs’ and ‘but ifs’ don’t help at all.
The act of suicide ensures we will never truly understand the person’s misery. Suicide makes us deeply sorrowful, as David was when he heard of Saul’s death. Never really knowing another person’s circumstances, we can only believe that God is always there with his love also in the darkest times in our lives. The armour bearer in the text was loyal to his king even unto death. We are called to be loyal to the Father’s plan, knowing he is a gracious and merciful God at all times, and especially when darkness invades our lives.
Dear Lord, when darkness invades my life, help me to know you are there. Help me to bring your light to those in deepest misery. Amen.
by Eunice Freiberg in ‘Renewed Hope for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2000)
Visit the Daily Devotion archives page.