1 Chronicles 9:35-10:14

The church of Jesus Christ is composed of real people who bleed when they’re cut, and not ‘stained-glass window’ saints.

Saul was a real man (9:35-44): That’s one clear fact Saul’s genealogy tells us. Although the Chronicler chooses not to record the fact (after all, he had his own editorial purposes, and uses Saul to introduce the story of David’s reign), for a time Saul was a bit of a super-hero (well, a lot of one actually.) He had such a promising beginning. He was Israel’s first king and he got off to a flier. But the heroes of the Bible are real people. They have feet of clay.

There is no such thing (as great people)! The greatest man or woman is 99 per cent just like yourself. George Bernard Shaw.

Real men get hurt (10:1-3): They know the heat of the battle. Pain registers with them. They get wounded in the fight. They become aware of the enemy pressing hard after them (2). They experience the fighting growing fierce around them (3). In the ranks of the church we need to ensure that we erect a ‘Prayer Shield’ around our leaders. Pray earnestly for them. This won’t mean that they will escape the ferocity of the battle; that they won’t carry scars. But it can prevent them  from becoming unnecessary casualties. As the Message puts it, the enemy will ‘zero in’ on leaders and their families. Let’s do all we can to protect them with our prayers. (However, as we will see, Saul did not die because the battle was tough, but because he was unfaithful to God. If church leaders are to know the Lord’s full protection, it will take more than our prayers. They also have to remain loyal to their Lord and Master.)

Real men die. The dreadful reality of the death of Saul and three of his sons (see 9:39/10:6) is hammered home in (10:5-8; 11, 12). These men were buried because they died. (The inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead are mentioned out of respect for their honourable treatment of these beloved bodies. You can contrast this with what the Philistines did in verses 9 and 10. They celebrated this as a spiritual victory, as if their god Dagon had triumphed over Israel’s God. Of course he hadn’t and couldn’t. See 1 Samuel 5. But this is what can happen when believers live in a way that is contrary to our profession. We can cause the heathen to blaspheme.) Pete Scazzero, in his book ‘Emotionally healthy spirituality’ quotes Roger Rohr who has written about five fundamental truths men must awaken to if they are to grow up into their God-given masculinity and spirituality. These are: a.) Life is hard; b.) You are not that important; c.) Your life is not about you; d.) You are not in control; e.) You are going to die. But, although all of this is true, and we have to honestly and courageously face the unavoidable reality of our mortality, not all people have to die in disgrace. Saul did (13/14). Don’t agree to follow his script! Don’t let his story be yours!! (As F.B. Meyer has commented, men who have dismissed God will deal with the devil rather than go it alone. Surprising, but true! Saul died in disobedience, disobedient to GOD. He didn’t obey GOD’s words. Instead of praying, he went to a witch to seek guidance. Because he didn’t go to GOD for help, GOD took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. The Message.

Oh, the grievous shipwrecks of some great ships! We see some boards and planks lying in the mud at low water, but that is all! Thomas Shepard