Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Hopelessness?

“And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchi–shua, Saul's sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.”

1 Samuel 31:2-6
 

Who isn't familiar with the proclamation of the alleged “hopeless situation”? And who hasn't experienced similar situations in their own lives? Yes, circumstances occur in life where you simply don't know any further. You feel paralysed with fear of what is to happen next. You speak of finding yourself in a “hopeless situation” for which there is no resolution. Even in the Bible we can read about such situations, where people just didn't know any further. Our scripture today is about war and defeat; more importantly: it describes the end of Saul, the first king of Israel, who committed suicide in his final battle – for fear of falling victim to his cruel enemies.

Yes, once again there was war in Israel. The Philistines had invaded the country and were robbing and plundering it. Saul called the troops together and challenged the Philistines to battle. Saul, his sons and thousands of brave men fought desperately to ward off the invaders. However, it was hopeless, they had no chance against the Philistines. They were surrounded. Saul saw the defeat approaching – three of his sons had already fallen in the battle and he knew that he also did not stand a chance to win this battle or even to escape the battle alive.

What was he to do? Who will he reach out to? He stopped believing in God and His help for a long time already. But who else will help him out of this helpless situation? Who can he expect to rush to his help in this situation and show him an escape route? Saul felt like he was at a dead-end: Turn around – no longer possible. Proceed – also not possible any more. He saw no solution, no escape. He found himself – so it seemed – in a hopeless situation. One thing he did not want under any circumstances – to be killed by the Philistines, worse still, to be taken prisoner by them. Someone else should rather kill him, just not the Philistines. So he told his armourbearer to kill him, but he didn't want to, he just could not do it. Saul didn't hesitate any longer – and fell into his own sword.

How would Saul's story have ended if he did not fall into his sword? We don't know, and it is actually pointless to speculate about it. Fundamental is: Saul saw no way out of his circumstances. He did not know who he could expect help from as he had lost his faith in the God of Israel, in Who's Name he was made king over the nation of Israel, a long time ago. We as Christians have it easier: we know and believe that we can have certainty, in any crisis, that Jesus is with us and can and will help us. Even if it seems unimaginable that there is a way out of our stalemate situation – God has a much bigger scope, than what we can imagine, to clear the way for us out of seemlingly hopeless situations, and to make us whole again.

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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