August 3, 2013
READ: 1 Chronicles 10:1-14
Saul took his own sword and fell on it (v.4).
God is greater than our shame. Because Saul failed to realise this, his life ended tragically. The Israelites were engaged in a fierce battle and suffered defeat at the hands of the Philistines on Mt. Gilboa. That day the Philistines killed Saul’s three sons and wounded him. Humiliation, torture and death were likely to follow his capture. Unable to endure the shame, Saul committed suicide. Beneath this desperate act, however, lurked the larger and the darker issues of disloyalty and disobedience to God.
Saul’s suicide is one of several recorded in the Old Testament (Judges 9:50-57, 16:21-31; 2 Samuel 17:23; 1 Kings 16:15-20; 1 Chronicles 10:4-5). The common psychological denominators seem to be shame arising from guilt, defeat and failure (2 Samuel 17:23; 1 Kings 16:18; Matthew 27:5; Acts 16:27). In each death, the individual usurped God’s sovereignty.
Since God is Creator, He has authority over His creation and ultimately controls life and death (Genesis 2:7; Job 1:21; Psalm 139:13-15). Therefore, taking life—including one’s own—is sin (Exodus 20:13). It violates God’s commands to love and respect ourselves and others (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 5:29).
Shame and humiliation can be difficult to bear and often lead people, even some believers in Jesus, to adopt the easiest and most immediate way out—suicide. Yet, God is greater than our shame, and nothing can separate us from His love in Christ (Romans 8:35-39), not even suicide.
In our darkest days, let’s find hope among fellow believers as we look to the One who took our shame on Himself so that we might have abundant life (John 10:10; Hebrews 12:2). —Marvin Williams
› Luke 11:14-32
Read 2 Samuel 17: 1-23 and consider why Ahithophel took his life.
Think about a time in your life where you felt the darkness of shame overtaking you. How did God meet you in that time and show you that He was greater than your shame?