Read – 1 Samuel 31
Focus on verse 4-6
Fear Factor was or perhaps still is one of the many reality shows that became popular in the last decade. The idea of the show is to attempt to motivate people to overcome their greatest fears by offering them large amounts of cash if they are able to overcome. For me it was something that was interesting for about three episodes after which I had had enough. In today’s reading we see how a life ruled by fear ends.
Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”
But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day. (v. 4-6)
Fear and faith might be considered polar opposites, but there is one thing they have in common…they are both contagious. The faith of David when he slew Goliath inspired the armies of Israel to a rousing victory over the Philistine army. In today’s reading we once again see how Saul’s fear spread to most of the men who followed him, and led to a tragic defeat and death of many of those same men who not that long ago had been inspired to victory by the faith of David.
Even in Saul’s last moments he is motivated by his fear to command his armor bearer to kill him so that the Philistines do not find him alive. Ironically the armor bearer suffers from the same debilitating fear and refuses. In the final moment their fear prompts them to both take their own lives by falling on their own swords. A tragic end to a tragic life. What a contrast to the way David’s life came to an end.
While I would not suggest that David never feared anything, I would point out that David responded much differently to fear. When David faced frightening challenges he always took his fear to the Lord. “He strengthened himself in the Lord” as we read yesterday, and then he faced the challenge head on which allowed the Lord to give him victory.
So here is the lesson in this. If we allow fear to rule our lives, it is very unlikely that the Lord will give us victory. It is only as we trust Him in faith to help us overcome and face those fears that He graciously intervenes to turn the table on our enemy who seeks to intimidate us by fear. Fear is one of Satan’s most powerful weapons, but it is has no power over faith, particularly when that faith is rooted in love.