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HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN?
Intro: So far, our journey with David has covered about ten years of his life. For about seven of those years, David has been on the run from King Saul. Saul had been a good, godly man in the beginning of his reign; but his rejection of God’s plan for his life, and his refusal to walk with the Lord, had brought about his own rejection by God, 1 Sam. 16:1. From that tragic moment, Saul began a downward spiral into insanity.
Saul’s insanity manifested itself in jealousy and murderous hatred toward young David. The Bible record is clear; Saul hated David and wanted him dead. But, God in His sovereign plan protected David from the murderous intentions of the mad king.
David survived and even thrived during those hard years when he was on the run from Saul. He grew stronger while his enemy Saul grew weaker and weaker. What a testimony to the grace of God!
This text records the awful, tragic death of King Saul and his three sons. I want to examine these verses because I believe they contain an important message for each person here.
By way of introduction, allow me to call your attention to 2 Sam. 1:17-27. In those verses, David is lamenting the death of Saul and Jonathan. As he sings his psalm of mourning, he makes a statement three times in that passage. Three times David says, “How are the mighty fallen! I would like to take that cry of pity and lamentation and use it as my title. I want to make three observations today from the death of King Saul.
I. THE TRAGEDY OF SAUL’S DEATH
His Death Was A Sad Death
B. His Death Was A Shameful Death While the death of Saul was sad; it was also shameful. There are two reasons why I say this.
1. It was
shameful because of what happened After his death, the body of Saul was
desecrated by the enemies of
2. It was shameful because it did not have to happen Sauls life did not start out like it finished. Forty years earlier Saul had been a handsome young man. He had been humble, brave and obedient when he was first inaugurated as king. But, little by little he had allowed compromise into his life and he had descended into weakness and wickedness. When Saul died, he was only a short distance from Ramah where he had been crowned king forty years earlier. Spiritually, however, he might as well have been on another planet.
(Note: The tragedy of Saul’s death is that it did not have to happen like it did. God had a far better plan for his life; but he failed to live his life within the plan of God and he paid a terrible price as a result.
Sadly, we see the same thing happening to people all around us. God desires to save, bless and use people for His glory. Men, however, refuse to go God’s way and they live lives of defeat and ultimately they die tragic deaths. It does not have to be that way. God has a better plan.
said this: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I
am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,
II. THE TESTIMONY OF SAUL’S DEATH
(While Saul’s death is a terrible tragedy; it also shares a powerful testimony with those whose hearts can hear it.)
A. There Is A Reminder In Saul’s Death Sauls death serves as a clear reminder that death is coming for all of us. Think about it, on that battlefield that day, the poor man and the rich man; the king and the slave; the godly man and the sinner; the Israelite and the Philistine; the weak and the powerful; all entered death together.
This pitiful scene is a tragic, but clear reminder that death plays no favorites. Unless the Lord returns in our lifetimes in the Rapture, none of us are getting out of this world alive. That is the clear teaching of Scripture:
Ψ Heb. 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Ψ 2 Sam. 14:14, “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person:”
Ψ Psalm 89:48, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
Ψ Rom. 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Ψ Eccl. 12:5, “…because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:”
We may not like to think about it; and we may live like it will not happen, but death is coming for us all. That is the testimony of Saul’s death; that is the testimony of every graveyard, every funeral home and every hospital in the world. Death is coming and you and I had better be ready when it does!
The merchant lent him his horse and the servant galloped away in great haste.
Later the merchant went down to the market place and saw Death standing in the crowd. He went over to her and asked, "Why did you frighten my servant this morning? Why did you make a threatening gesture?"
was not a threatening gesture," Death said. "It
was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in
of us has an appointment in
B. There Is A Reality In Saul’s Death The reality is this: we can either die badly like Saul, or we can die well. When a life has been lived like the life of Saul; death is always a tragedy. When there was no repentance, but only the anguish of wasted years that is a terrible and tragic event. We have all known people who lived such lives and died such deaths. When they passed, we just shook our heads and said, “My, what a wasted life! It is never pleasant when death comes for one who has not properly prepared for it. Even God does not desire the death of the sinner. Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Eze. 33:11.
On the other hand, when a saint of God has lived the right kind of life and death comes; it is not a tragedy, it is a victory! Listen to what the Bible says about the death of a child of God:
1. Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
2. Rev. 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
3. Phil. 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
the precious saints of God breathe their last on this shore, they merely go
home to be with the Lord Jesus in His presence,
Have you given any thought to how you want to die? I want to leave here faithfully serving Jesus Christ. I want to leave here with my spiritual boots on, doing His work, accomplishing His will, and preaching His saving grace. If I do, then roll me down the aisle, put me in the corner and go to meeting. Shout it out for the glory of God! But, if I fall by the wayside, and drop out on God, just take me to the graveyard, plant my body in the cold ground and spare the saints of God the tragedy of burying a fallen preacher!
Saul left a tragic testimony in his death. What kind of testimony will you leave behind?
III. THE TEACHING FROM SAUL’S DEATH
A. The Appearances Of Saul’s Death There were two things that appeared to be true when Saul died. These same two things appeared to be true when Jesus died.
It Appeared That The End Had Come
When their king was slain,
Appeared That The Enemy Had Won v.
7-10 tell us that the Philistines occupied the Israelite cities; they
mutilated the corpses of Saul and his sons; they sent Saul’s head from city to
city as a testimony to the power of their gods; and they rejoiced in their
(Note: I am glad that appearances can be deceiving! In
it was also when Jesus died on the cross.
Hell rejoiced; earth mourned and Heaven waited with bated breath. From all appearances hope was gone and evil
had triumphed; but God still had His Man!
Three days after
The Accomplishments Of Saul’s
Death God used the death of Saul to accomplish some important matters
It Allowed The Introduction Of A
New Plan When Saul and his sons died, the way was opened for David to be
the next king. This fulfilled the
prophecies made to Judah, Gen. 49:10;
and to Samuel, 1 Sam. 16:1; 12-13. God used this event to change the royal line
2. It Allowed The Introduction Of A New People David was not in the human line to ascend to the throne. The way was opened for him by the death of another.
Jesus died on the cross, His death provided a way so that “whosoever will could
come and be saved by grace. His blood
pays our sin debt and allows us access to God by grace,
It Allowed The Introduction Of A
New Promise The reign of Saul had been a time of failure and terrible
dissatisfaction among the people of
C. The Absurdity Of Saul’s Death In his death, Saul displayed for all to see the foolishness of man. He literally “played the fool,” 1 Sam. 26:21. He had lived like a fool and now he had died like a fool as well.
It may have seemed foolish to others, but the death of Christ on the cross was the culmination of four thousand years of patient activity on the part of God. When Jesus died on that cross, the way of salvation was opened for God’s people. The world still sees the preaching of the cross as foolishness; but it is still the power of God to those who believe it and receive it!
Conc: How are the mighty fallen? Saul
died like a fool. Jesus died as a
is a cemetery in an old Methodist church in Burke Country,
However, there are at least two tombstones there that have hands carved into them that have chains wrapped around the wrists and the index fingers of those hands are pointing down. These tombstones are testifying to a foolish life that ended in eternal tragedy.
If we were to carve your headstone today, what would best fit the kind of life you have lived? If there are problems in your living or your dying, now would be a great time to get that fixed up. The fact is, we will be leaving this world one day, would to God that we would all leave it ready to meet Jesus, saved by His grace, believing in His death and resurrection.
 Charles Swindoll, David: A Man Of Passion and Destiny, (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 1997), 127.