2nd October 2023
Read - 1 Samuel 14:47-52
Message Alan Burke
Far too often I am with a family after the death of a loved one making arrangements for a funeral. In those times all you can do is try help the family to navigate through what is a difficult time for them as they say goodbye to one that they loved. There are practical arrangements made and then normally a time to speak of their loved one so that I can put words together to convey to the congregation who will gather at the funeral service. Those times can be difficult. What makes them all the more difficult is when there is no hope. Jesus in Mark’s gospel said; what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? (Mk 8:36-37) There are many people who have achieved much, have made a mark on this world, who have left an inheritance for their family, sometimes even have meetinghouses named after them but they have forfeited their soul.
You may wonder why I start with this but as continue with the account of Saul we are given a summery of his military accomplishments along with details of his family. It seems very out of place, it doesn’t fit and if you want to know what I say that look at what came before and what comes after, why are we now being told this, it would better come at the end of his life as a tribute after his death. Saul though is not dead, his life is far from over and as the account continues we learn more of a number of his family members in the coming chapters.
Well the summary of his military victories and his family that tell us that Saul had done well for himself and done well for the nation of Israel leading them in battle, being a military leader throughout his reign as verse 52 makes clear, and although these verses would be more suited to be given at the end of Saul’s life are placed here because ultimately it was for nought, for to use the words of Jesus, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mk 8:36). Saul may have had it all, he may have achieved much in his reign, but when it came to living for the Lord he failed miserably. In the only area of his life that really mattered Saul had failed. These verses are put in-between two victories that end with his spiritual failure to highlight to us that even with the military success and his family he had failed.
I suspect that if you are reading this you know and love the Lord, you have not forfeited your soul but what lessons if you are a parent of young children are you teaching them? That everything this world has to offer is of more worth, hobbies beat worship, achieving a good education matters more than knowing the Lord? You only have a few years with them and many who read this I’m sure can testify to how they wish they had taught their children more of the truths of the faith rather than pushing them to what the world offers but will fade and decay. And for all of us when this earthly life comes to an end, there may be much said of us, we may have achieve much but what truly matters is that we know and love the Lord our God, that we have trusted in Jesus Christ for our salvation, for all that we have now we will leave behind and we will be forgotten.
Q59 Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?
From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath. (Gen. 2:2–3, 1 Cor. 16:1–2, Acts 20:7)