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Bible study

Bible Study – A breach of faith (1 Chronicles 10:13)

Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 8-10

Today’s Reflection: 1 Chronicles 10:13

1 Chronicles 10:13 – So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance.

What is this text saying?  1 Chronicles 10 tells the story of the death of King Saul and his sons.

Why is it important?  Verse 13 makes clear that the fall of the Saul’s house was brought about by his own sins—disobeying God’s commands (1 Samuel 13:9-14; 1 Samuel 15:10-29) and consulting a witch and demonic spirits for advice (1 Samuel 28:7-19).

How can I apply this?  There are three lessons this text teaches us that have practical application.

1) A ‘breach of faith’ can be fatal.  It is critical to remember that before the sins for which God judged Saul, God had taken Saul from an unknown member of an undistinguished family to being crowned king of the entire nation of Israel and the leader of a great military victory (1 Kings 9:15-11:15).  In light of all God had done Saul had no reason to question or disobey anything God had commanded him to do.  But Saul lost sight of God and instead sought the favour and approval of men (1 Kings 13:11-12; 15:1-9).  These were the first steps on a path leading to Saul’s death.

2) Disobedience clouds our senses.  After Saul’s disobedience the Bible says he didn’t hear from the Lord again (1 Samuel 15:35; 28:6).  Many believe this means God stopped talking to Saul, but scripture doesn’t support this conclusion.   Psalms 139:7-8 (NCV) reads “Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?  Where can I run from you?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there.  If I lie down in the grave, you are there,” making it clear that God is always near to us, no matter where we are.

However sin does keep us from hearing God clearly.  Jeremiah 5:21 describes people who rebel against God as being “without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.”  Furthermore, holding onto sin makes our prayers less effective. Isaiah 59:2 reads, “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”  Repentance reconciles us to God, making it possible for us to hear from and speak to Him again.  Isaiah 1:18a reads, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”  This tells us that even though God was still close to Saul, because Saul chose to treasure iniquity in his heart he couldn’t hear God’s voice or see His hand moving in his life.

3) When we’re not hearing from God, it’s a sign we should move closer to Him, not further from Him.  Because Israel was under siege by the Philistines, Saul inquired of God for council, but he heard nothing (1 Samuel 28:6).  So Saul decided to consult the only other authority that claimed to have insight into the future—the occult.  Even though he had rid Israel of all witches and mediums, in his desperation he now sought one out for himself.  For his trouble Saul received a demonic prophesy of his death (1 Samuel 28:8-20), one that he suicidally and tragically made come true (1 Samuel 31:1-6).

When we’re seeking answers from God but hearing nothing we have a choice: draw closer to God or move farther away from Him.  Saul also had this choice.  He could have moved closer with repentance and surrender to God’s authority.  Instead he moved further away into rebellion and witchcraft.  When God responds to your inquiry with silence, what will you do?  I pray you’ll choose to draw closer to Him.

One final very important note: Silence from God isn’t necessarily a sign that repentance is required of us.  The book of Job shows a man going through almost every trial possible and not hearing from the Lord throughout this time, even though he was righteous in the sight of God.  But instead of becoming embittered by the poor attitude of his wife (Job 2:9) or the unfounded accusations of his friends (Job 4:7-9; 8:5-7) he continued to trust God and seek His face (Job 13:15; 19:25-27) until God answered him and blessed him (Job 42:7-11).

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