I Chronicles 10 - The Turning Over of a Kingdom
I Chrsonicles 10 is a short chapter containing 14 verses. But in those 14 verses we see the fall of a king and his family and the victory of the Philistines over the Jewish people. It was a very difficult time for Saul's army. They fled from before the Philistines and then were killed on Mount Gilboa. The Philistine archers found him and the archers wounded him. In that moment he asked his armor bearer to kill him but he would not. So Saul fell on his own sword. All three of his sons also died in this battle: Jonathan, and Abinadab and Malchi-chua. At this time the people in the valley saw that the war was lost so they fled from the cities and abandoned their homes. Then the Philistines came and lived in them. When the Philistines found Saul they took his head and his armor and sent messengers throughout the land with good news that the Israelites had been defeated. Saul's head was then put in the temple of their God.
As you can see, this is a very sobering chapter. The only bright spot in the story is a group of valiant men who went and took the body of Saul and his sons and buried them. Then they fasted seven days. Other than that little part of the story it seems as though Israel would fade away into history.
But then we are given the reason for all that has just happened. We are given the reason that such a calamity has occurred. It was not because of the gross incompetence of the soldiers. It was not the lack of tactical skill of the generals. No, it all happened because Saul was faithless and did not seek the LORD. We read in 13-14a, "So Saul died for his breach of faith. He did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over...".
But my friends, this is not the end of the story. There is good news in this story for the Jews and for us. If the Philistines get some good news to share with their countrymen, should we not have some comforting word for us? When we read that the LORD turned the kingdom over we expect to hear that the kingdom was turned over to the Philistines; but that is not what the LORD has done. We read, "Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse."
Through all these things we see that the LORD has done all of this to install a man on the throne that He had chosen. This man was David, and he would seek the LORD all the days of his life. Let's consider this good news that we see in verse 14.
First, we see that it is not the Philistines or chance that is ruling in all these things. No, it is the LORD who put Saul to death and who will raise up David. The LORD is sovereign and He reigns in all things. The LORD rules over all things seen and unseen. He rules over kingdoms, godly or wicked. He sets the boundaries from which we operate. Nations come and go but the LORD rules at every point.
Secondly, in defeat their is victory. Saul was killed but David was enthroned. The Philistines had won a victory but it serves the LORD's end. The Philistines seems so powerful now but God is stronger and He is installing David as king.
The darkest moment in all of history was the day that Jesus was betrayed and killed on a cross. In that moment it appeared that all was lost. It appeared that the devil had won. But it was through suffering that Christ was perfected and won the eternal redemption of all who were slaves to sin and slaves to the fear of death. The kingdom of God has been turned over to Jesus Christ. He has all power and authority. He has victory and His word endures forever. He sits enthrones far above all other powers. One even greater than David has come! This is very good news for us all.