Day 19

The Death of Saul

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan


1 Samuel 30:1-31, 1 Samuel 31:1-13, Psalm 56:3-4, Luke 4:18-19

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 30:1-31, 1 Samuel 31:1-13, Psalm 56:3-4, Luke 4:18-19

Yesterday we read about Saul’s moment of desperation. He knew he was facing a mighty battle against the Philistines, and he knew he was facing them alone. He was without Samuel, and he was without the Lord, who had turned away from him after his repeated disobedience. And Saul, who must have been near-crazed with fear, broke his own laws and the law of God by consulting a medium to try to find an answer.

Today, we read about David in a similar situation. The Amalekites had raided the city of Ziklag, burned it, and captured all of the women and children. David and his army returned to Ziklag, but there was nothing left. In fact, they “wept loudly until they had no strength left to weep” (1 Samuel 30:4). That sentence strikes the deepest fear into my own heart, which is rather predisposed to fear and anxiety. I can’t imagine that kind of pain.

And yet David responds with faith. Even though his wives have been captured, his city burned, and his army is threatening to rise up against him to stone him to death—David responds with faith. David is facing a loneliness and uncertainty perhaps even greater than Saul’s before the battle at Mount Gilboa. David has let his people down, the very people God has entrusted him to lead. But 1 Samuel 30:6 tells us, “David found strength in the Lord his God.”

I am humbled by David in this passage. I am convicted by Saul’s impatience and need to control, but I am humbled and inspired by David’s faith and his generosity. His response to trial was to trust the Lord. And his response to great victory was to praise the Lord and share the spoils. David, who knew he would be king, claimed no victory outside of the Lord’s faithfulness.

Even when I do choose the way of David—fragile yet desperately leaning on the Lord because I know only He can sustain me—I often forget His faithfulness when my moment of trial has passed. It is only when I intentionally take time to reflect on the Lord’s guiding, preserving hand that I remember to give thanks and to testify to His goodness.

My prayer today is not only to carry with me the confidence of faith, but to remember to testify to the Lord’s great faithfulness in my life. I can testify to His glory through my worship, His presence through my prayers, and His mercy through my actions toward others. I can testify to His grace in my quickness to forgive and His provision when I am generous.

David’s actions remind me to not only rely on the Lord daily, but to also tell of His great deeds. When I live with gratitude in response to Christ’s love for me, I testify to the gift of His sacrifice on the cross and the unimaginable mercy of the gospel.

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Melanie Rainer is the director of content for JellyTelly, where she writes and edits family spiritual formation resources. She is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, a passionate home baker, and makes her always-messy home with her husband, Price, and their delightful daughter, Ellie, near historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee.

Post Comments (46)

46 thoughts on "The Death of Saul"

  1. Kari says:

    Melanie, thank you so much for this devotional and especially those last two paragraphs. This list of how we can testify to the Lord’s faithfulness in our life not just through our words, but through our actions. Sometimes it’s hard to speak his name, I have trouble telling others about Him sometimes. But you made me realize that showing his faithfulness and goodness by doing things like being generous and forgiving quickly IS testifying to his goodness, when words don’t work for one reason or the next. What a powerful devotional. Thank you Melanie.

  2. Karen From Virginia says:

    When I feel the end near, I get sad. I really wish Jonathan would have lived. I love his heart.
    Reading this time through I was struck more by the kind of man Jonathan was before meeting David. He had the same spirit as David. He expected God to fight the battle and walked in faith. He really encouraged David and helped him in role.
    I want to emulate these men who trust their God

  3. Stacey Cochran says:

    Saul’s story has always been said to me, even as a child. I always thought if he would have just been obedient and did what God told him, the kingdom would not have been taken from him, and he and his family would not have suffered as they did. But as I have gotten older and more mature in faith, I think why can’t I just be obedient and do what God says? Saul’s story still saddens me, but I can learn from it.

  4. Lana says:

    Yesterday my friend and I were supposed to fly to Barcelona. So many strange things had happened up until that point. Like a couple months ago, I was looking to buy an additional swimsuit, and something told me I wouldn’t be needing it. Don’t buy it. And afterwards, I told another friend I had a funny feeling this trip wasn’t going to happen. I don’t own a real tv, so I don’t see the news often. But just as I was coming in from getting my money exchange, the tv in my apartment’s lobby said : breaking news – attack in Barcelona. It had literally just happened. I checked my phone and there were only two news stories that had been published about it. Had I not walked into the lobby at that precise time, I would have gotten on my flight which was in a few hours because I likely would not have know. In my heart I knew I wasn’t supposed to go. It was an inner knowing. I knew if I got in a car to the airport, I would regret it. That it was the WRONG decision. Something said, call your mom, and I did so immediately. She told me not to go. But I felt so bad for my friend. She had been looking forward to it for months. Not only that, we had spent so much money on the flights and deposits. Then I heard something say, who do you worship? Your money? Your friend? Or your God? Clearly, especially after this study, I knew I had to follow my gut which was very clear. Don’t go. And I told my friend and she has been a bit nasty with me ever since. But today I woke up with peace because I KNOW I made the right choice. And all these other details don’t really matter. I returned to the study of David and Abigail. I had JUST READ IT that morning. We talked about her discernment and quick action. I had one hour to decide whether I was going to start traveling to the airport and with Abigail as an example, I decided to stand on faith even though my friend didn’t understand and called me a fool.

    I share this story because in the comments people often ask how do they know the Lord is speaking to them. I believe he tries to make it as clear as possible. I had the discernment a couple of months ago. Then seeing the tv in the lobby at just the right second. The voice that said call your mom! The people who encouraged me to listen to my gut. It’s an inner knowing. We can’t try to logic our way out of it because the information me we have is limited.

    My prayer is the one that I saw in the comments yesterday. That I have a pure heart towards my friend. Currently I’m finding it difficult because of her lack of concern for the people of Spain and our safety. Right now, all I’m hearing from her is “me me me me me.” But I’m praying for a miracle. I pray I can have a pure heart towards her.

    Love you all! Please pray for Spain and please pray the hearts of all terrorists. Please pray they are transformed and made new in love.

    1. Lehua K. says:

      Thank you for sharing. Your story really touched me – especially the part where God asked you who do you worship? I have to learn that a “good deal” money-wise isn’t always the best deal and God’s plan for me, and to get so bent about it like I have lately is to worship money over Him. Such a powerful reminder on what I need to change – thank you. Praying for you and your friend, as well as those affected in Spain.

      1. Lana says:

        Thank you, Lehua. Praying for you as well!

    2. Karen From Virginia says:

      Love your testimony of God’s faithful leading. You are right. God is speaking but we have to choose to tune our hearts to hear.

  5. Emily B. says:

    Like Melanie wrote, I think it’s so interesting how Saul and David are foils to each other, and that can still be seen in these last two chapters. David could’ve panicked when he realized his wives and everyone else was gone and taken matters into his own hands, but he didn’t. He consulted God, and God was faithful to deliver back what had been taken. Saul, on the other hand, didn’t consult God when he was severely injured and decided to kill himself. One of these men is an example of a faith-filled life, and one is an example of a self-filled life. I definitely want to remember everything we’ve learned about David’s example!

    1. aprilinsydney says:

      I had a similar thought about the restoration – what man took away, God restored.

  6. GramsieSue says:

    I am so thankful and blessed by this group of women. A few days ago someone posted :”When I feel the darkness of resentment, pain, and anger begin to creep in…I can pray ‘Lord, give me a pure heart towards her.'” And I was able to pray that prayer yesterday before I had to be faced with a certain woman who seems to delight in pushing my buttons. I was able to walk in with confidence…the “confidence of faith”. And having covered us in prayer before our interaction, God went before me and paved the way. There was no negativity. We had a pleasant conversation and she was actually helpful. I left that place feeling so Blessed! Praising Jesus! So ladies, continue posting. You never know how you may be blessing someone else! ❤️

  7. Mari says:

    I too enjoy SRT. I love how us women can come here not only comment but encourage one another in prayer. I’m so grateful for all of YOU!

  8. Dawn says:

    I love She Reads Truth and I love you women. You all in the different places and spaces of your hearts and lives enourage and reach out and truth tell. Thank you. I thank God for these studies and for this community.

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