Today's devotion from 1 Chronicles 10.
The chronicler is developing a postexilic summary of the events that brought Israel to where they currently find themselves. While he has provided some pretty lengthy genealogical lists, it is telling that he begins his narrative with this moment in their history. Now, to be sure, Israel had many failures before the monarchy got off to a rocky start. But there is something about this moment that was important to those returning from exile that caused the Spirit of God to inspire the chronicler to begin here.
During the reign of Saul, Israel officially became a people in the minds of men. They were no longer a loose confederation of tribes and city states. When the monarchy began, they truly became a nation in the way the world would define a nation. In his telling of the account, the chronicler emphasizes the fact that the king of Israel became a trophy for the Philistines, and that he became a trophy because of his disobedience to God.
"Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the Lord because he did not keep the Lord’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance, 14 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) Look at the language used by the chronicler. It was not God that failed, but their king.
In fact, the chronicler makes it very clear that even though Saul was killed by the Philistines God was still in control. The LORD put Saul to death. The LORD turned the kingdom over to David. These were divine acts entrusted to a gentile people by a sovereign God. The message is clear for a people who have just returned from an exile that was a divine act entrusted to a gentile people by a sovereign God: be faithful. Don't be a trophy for the enemy.
How many trophies does the Enemy have? How many pastors have fallen morally? How many believers have lost their testimony? All due to breaches of faith and broken covenants. This is a lesson for us as well in a fallen world looking for any way possible to subvert the work of God.