A Sad Epitaph for an Unfaithful King

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Picture of grave markers with an epitaph

Today’s Bible reading* ends with a very sad epitaph for Saul, Israel’s first king. You may remember a few days ago when we looked at the people’s demands that Samuel give them a king so they could be like all of the surrounding nations. You may also remember a few days later when we read about Saul trying to help God when Samuel didn’t arrive at a pre-determined time.

It seems that Saul thought everything was all about him. Just look at his behavior. Look at his paranoia about David. He was threatened by the young musician. In many ways, David was everything that Saul was not. Most of all, David was a man with a single-minded focus on the heart of God.

David’s epitaph was that he was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14) Saul, on the other hand, went against God’s Word and he broke his own laws to pursue his own agenda. He was more concerned about his reputation and legacy than God’s.

Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the Lord because he did not keep the Lord’s word.
He even consulted a medium for guidance, but he did not inquire of the Lord.
So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
1 Chronicles 10:13–14 (CSB)


A frozen pizza commercial asks what you would want on your tombstone. Have you ever thought about that? How would you like for your epitaph to read? How would you like to be remembered? Eighteenth-Century theologian, Nikolaus Zinzendorf, said that he wanted to, “preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.” Obviously, he didn’t get his wish because we remember him for his wish.

But seriously, what would you like to be remembered for? What are you doing right now that would cause people to remember you that way? What changes do you need to make?

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
1 Samuel 28
1 Samuel 29
1 Samuel 30
1 Samuel 31
1 Chronicles 10

This devotional was originally published on April 13, 2021.

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