Was It All Bad? (James 5:19-20)

The mighty city was besieged by the invading army. Even when the citizens pleaded for peace in exchange for being their servants, the invaders ignored their request. Instead, they were bluntly told that all of their right eyes would be gouged out! Desperate, the city leaders sent out messengers requesting help. No one answered except one man. He brought an army of over 300,000 men and defeated the invaders, rescuing the city.

The man who answered the request for help was Israel’s first king, Saul. Chosen by God and anointed by the priest-prophet Samuel, Saul was a tall and handsome man. He looked like a king! His beginning was very promising and God blessed him with many military victories including the victory, referenced above, against the Ammonites, rescuing the city of Jabesh-gilead. (1 Samuel 11:1-14).

King Saul soon fell victim to his pride. Instead of seeking God first and giving Him the glory as he did with Jabesh-gilead, He took matters into his own hands. He rejected the counsel of Samuel. He fell victim to bouts of mental illness and attempted to kill his son-in-law, his successor and the future King David. Saul and his three sons died an ignoble death on the battlefield, by falling on his own sword. When the Philistines found his lifeless body, they cut off his head and displayed his body on a wall. It was a tragic end to a once promising reign. 

The Bible never sugarcoats its accounts of the leaders and kings of Israel and Judah. Even David, Saul’s successor and described as a man after God’s own heart, was an adulterer and orchestrated a murder. Yet, David repented of his sins and sought the forgiveness of God. Saul never repented. Yet, do we dismiss Saul because of his faults? The people of Jabesh-gilead did not. They always remembered what Saul did for them and courageously recovered the bones of him and his sons from the Philistines and buried them in their city, forever honoring and enshrining his achievements. 

But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days. 

1 Samuel 31:11-13 (NLT)

Only God knows if Saul’s faith truly saved him and he is now in heaven with Him. However, we should recognize that even with the fallen saints of the Bible, some of their actions were noble and in line with God’s will. It wasn’t all bad. Saul is a sobering reminder that even if God has chosen someone for a special purpose, they may fail and fall from the faith. As Christian believers, we must always support our brothers and sisters during these difficult times. God commands it.

My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. 

James 5:19-20 (NLT)


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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