And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul's sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.
So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together. And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. (1 Sam. 31:2-3, 6-7)
God had pronounced that Saul was done as king and would not have a legacy or heirs upon the throne. At this last battle all his able-bodied sons went out to battle and all were slain. Saul, still continuing in his pride and self-worth, took his own life rather than allowing the Philistines to declare their victory over Saul, which they did anyway, as they paraded his head and his armor around their cities until some brave men recovered it and the bodies of his sons from the Philistines. Most of the army was in hiding or had fled out of the reach of the Philistines and the rest were now with David. Though the battle had gone against Israel, God had a purpose in allowing the defeat as he removed Saul from the throne and his sons from the line and lineage of Saul.
When we see ministers and their programs fail before the Lord it is with mixed emotions for those who follow Christ. On this side of the grass, we do not know if it is the Lord’s doing, or if they have somehow caused it themselves. We ought to continue to pray for the ministries of God’s church that they will be faithful to reaching the lost with the Good News of Salvation, teaching all that He has commanded, and preaching His Word, that He may be glorified in all that we do. God will take care of His own but He can also end even our favorite programs and ministries if they are no longer effective or following Him. Prideful adherence to what we have always done rather than complete surrender to the will of God may mean that God will declare that our ministry is done. Ministries, missions, and discipleship programs that no longer focus on His Word and His work of evangelism and are no longer serving God but satisfying themselves will be removed that the work of God may be fruitful and God alone is glorified. If we are to truly reach those who are not born again by faith in Him and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary, God’s people must be about His business of taking His Gospel to lost people and growing His people through His Word that the love of God may be perfected in us.
While we are here, God has sent those of us who are His saints and know Him out into this world to reach the lost that they might be saved from sin. He desires that His people strive to be holy and obedient unto Him that we might minister to those around us who are hurting and in need as He provides. We serve others, equipped with the Word of reconciliation and righteousness, rightly divided and fitly spoken, that they may see Christ in us, the hope of Glory. Our God has commanded us to love one another with an unfeigned love, even as He first loved us, and to disciple one another in the Word of God so that we may all grow in grace and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our Lord has commissioned those who are His with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to go where He sends us in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we go, we are to proclaim the Good News of forgiveness through repentance and reconciliation with the Father through faith in His Son, that those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of God might have life in His Name.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus loves you and wants to establish a covenant relationship with you that is real and personal. Surrender to Him on His terms and He will give you a brand new life of discipleship and fellowship with Him that is abundant and everlasting. God calls you to faith in Christ and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary to pay your sIn debt. He has provided the only way of reconciliation with God, forgiveness from God, and Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God the Son, to give you a new life in Christ. Turn away from yourself and your sIn and turn to Him alone for eternal Life, now and always.