After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. (2 Samuel 1:1 NLT)
We finished last week with Samuel and, finally, Saul passing away. Samuel left with stories that can encourage all of us: you can live a lifetime for The King. Saul left behind stories that warn us just how bad things can get when we don’t live for The King.
On the third day a man arrived from Saul's army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect. "Where have you come from?" David asked. "I escaped from the Israelite camp," the man replied. "What happened?" David demanded. "Tell me how the battle went." The man replied, "Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead." (2 Samuel 1:2-4 NLT)
Even with all his mistakes, Saul was still a human being made in the image of God. In addition, he was selected by God to be Israel’s first human king. Saul was a mighty warrior who helped Israel push back the oppressing Philistines. Saul answered God’s call to be king and united Israel against God’s enemies. The Israelites lost much on the day they lost Saul as their king.
"How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?" David demanded of the young man. The man answered, "I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. 'How can I help?' I asked him. "He responded, 'Who are you?' "'I am an Amalekite,' I told him. "Then he begged me, 'Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.' "So I killed him," the Amalekite told David, "for I knew he couldn't live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord." (2 Samuel 1:5-10 NLT)
Saul may have seen David as his enemy for the last part of his life, but David was man enough to recognize the good in Saul. David may have spent many years trying to escape death at Saul’s hands, but David recognized the loss for Israel as well. Beyond all that, David recognized the loss for The LORD. God had given the Israelites the king they wanted. Now, that king is dead. Yes, The LORD already had David anointed as the new king, but this moment is not about the change of power. This moment is about pausing, remembering, and mourning the loss of a king.
David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the LORD's army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day. (2 Samuel 1:11-12 NLT)
How about you? Have you ever mourned the loss of someone who was important to you? Have you mourned the loss of someone, even though they had many faults? Did you mourn knowing that God mourns along the side of you? Have you mourned with The King?