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When the Mighty Fall

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
January 30, 2021 12:01 am

When the Mighty Fall

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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January 30, 2021 12:01 am

The downfall of King Saul reached a tragic conclusion on the battlefield. How did David respond when he discovered that his enemy had perished? Today, R.C. Sproul discusses how David's lament reveals his character.

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Coming up today on Renewing Your Mind so is no longer a threat to David. Saul is dead, so one might expect that though David would certainly be brokenhearted about the news that Jonathan's bosom friend had been killed that he would be elated to hear that Saul has perished with this notice response.

David had been a fugitive on the run so chasing them for years managing David's level of exhaustion. Constantly looking behind never able to relax. So when Saul was killed in battle. Everyone expected David to rejoice today on Renewing Your Mind. Dr. RC scroll takes us to a time when a national tragedy befell Israel and the person upon David as we continue with our study of the life they we remember all the David had fled from the presence of Saul and it virtually abandoned hope in the promises of God. But God would protect David from Saul and delivered David someday to the throne of Israel. I'm going to jump ahead now to the very last chapter of the book of first Samuel that tells of a catastrophic battle that takes place between the armies of Israel and the armies of the full listing. This is a crucial moment in the history of Israel. We read in chapter 31 the Philistines fought against Israel and the men of Israel fled and the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons and the Philistines killed Jonathan Bennett and Mel kiss you. Saul's sons sons of salt free of them fell in this battle, and what the narrative goes on to say is that the battle became even more fierce and was loaded on one side with the power of the archers of the Philistines and the archers hit Saul and he was severely wounded and now at the point of dying, Saul said to his armor bearer draw your sword thrust me through with it less.

These uncircumcised men come and thrust me through, and abuse me. So Saul is mortally wounded. You see the same. He's about to die. He does not want to suffer torture at the hands of the conqueror's and so he says to his armor. Barry bags his armor bearer.

Please run me through with your sword, put me out of my misery. Let me die with some dignity. Don't allow me to fall into the hands of my enemies, but the armor bearer wouldn't do it.

The Scriptures tell us that he was greatly afraid and so therefore Saul himself took a sword and fell upon it, and when his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead. He also fell on his own sword and died with and so Saul is three sons. His armor bearer and all of his men died together. That same day. This was an enormous victory for the Philistines and they were not afraid of gloating about it.

Listen to what they did when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those around the other side of the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead. They forsook the cities and fled in the Philistines came and welding them. And so it happened the next day when the Philistines came to strip the slaying that they found Saul and his three son cut off his head.

They stripped him of his armor and they sent word throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among their people. Now listen what they did they take the armor of Saul and they hang it in the temple of the Ashtoreths that is in their Hagan Temple.

They display the armor of the king of Israel, and they took his body and fastened it to the wall of Beth Strahan know when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard with the Philistines is done all the valiant men arose and traveled all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of the Shan and they came to Jay Bish and burned them there and they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at JB's and fasted seven days, so this band of Israelite guerrillas heroically and valiantly went and rescued the body of Saul, that he might be buried with his bones. Among his own people.

There, and Israel know this record of the death of Saul includes within it the narrative that Saul dies by his own hand is mortally wounded by the archers of the Philistines. He asks his armor bearer to finish the job when his armor bearer won't do it. Saul then falls upon his own sword in the Scripture say that when he did that he died and then his armor bearer committed suicide as well. But that's not the story that is given to David.

David gets another story a different and conflicting account of what happens. That story is told to us in the first chapter of the second book of Samuel where we read that after the death of Saul when David returned from the slot of the Emily kites and so one that happened that a man came from Saul's camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head when he came to David, he fell on the ground and prostrated himself and David said, were you come from the site escape from the camp of Israel.

David said tell me please how did it go what happened that there and the man replied.

The people have fled from the battle. Many of the people are fallen in bed and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead. Also, they said how do you know that.

Then the young man who told him said as I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa. There was Saul leaning on his spear, and indeed the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him now when he looked behind him. He saw me in a call to me and I answered here mind. He said who are you and I answered and said I am enamel a kite and then he said to me again please stand over me and kill me for anguish is come upon me and my life still remains at me.

So I stood over him and killed him because I was sure that he could not live after he'd fallen and I took the crown that was on his head bracelet was upon his arm and brought them here to my Lord, who was a dangerous thing in the Old Testament to be a messenger because when the messenger brought bad, he was often killed for bringing the bad message though if he brought good news he could be in for a tremendous reward know this animal a kite who comes to David with the news of the death of Saul doesn't know for sure.

I'll David is going to respond to this, but he assumes, obviously, that David will be pleased that Saul has died and so he tells David that he finish the job usually came along and married found Saul on his spear but he still hadn't quite died. According to this man and he said that Saul begged him to finish the job and so he did it. The sort of catching it both ways. In one hand he could be seen as an act of treachery to kill the king.

On the other hand, if they would is unhappy that Saul is dead that Lisa can say I was just doing what Saul wanted me to do and he said look David, I brought his crown and I brought his bracelet for you, my Lord, so he's really trying hard to get in the good graces of David, how would you expect David to respond to this. We have been watching relentlessly the pursuit of David by Saul David's profound fear that Saul would kill him now for the first time that fear has to be finally and fully removed from David.

Saul is no longer a threat to David. Saul is dead, so one might expect that though David would certainly be brokenhearted about the news that Jonathan, his bosom friend had been killed that he would be elated to hear that Saul has perished with this notice response verse 11 of chapter 1 says therefore David took hold of his own close and pour them and so did all of the men who were with him and they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel because they had fallen by the sword and then David said to the messenger where you from the set on the son of an alien enamel a kite and David said how was it that you were not afraid to raise your hand against the Lord's if I wanted Saul killed. I could've done it myself but I wouldn't do it because it was anointed by God to be the king you think you are an alien enamel a kite to come and kill the king. So David is furious at this messenger who's taking credit for the death of Saul and David orders the messenger to be executed said your blood is on your own head for your own mouth is testified against you saying I have killed the Lord's anointed and then in verse 17, which is what I want to focus our attention on today we read these words. Then David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over. Jonathan his son and told them to teach the children of Judah of the song of the bow. Indeed, it is written in the book of Jewish we have seen already the uncommon gifts that David had with music and with poetry. One of the most moving forms of ancient music and poetry was the dirge or the lament. We remember a whole book of the Old Testament written by the prophet Jeremiah called the book of Lamentations were Jeremiah expressed his unbelievable grief over the destruction of Jerusalem. Here, David, in the midst of morning provides a lament during church over the death of Saul and of Jonathan and it's a dirge that most of us are familiar with, at least in its highlights. We've heard portions of this lamentation expressed in our culture over and over again. The central thesis the central refrain of the lament reads like this all how mighty have fallen.

It is a calamity for people when their leaders when their hero's are killed or fall from grace are disgraced in one way or another. Who can forget the national reaction to the accusation against O.J. Simpson when he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife and another man who can remember of those who were alive during the time when the present United States was assassinated.

The funeral Cortez that went down the Avenue in Washington DC with the symbol in the parade of a horse without a rider symbolizing the fall of the national leader all how the mighty have fallen in this case, David, along with the nation's grieving over the death of their king. Verse 19 begins the lament the beauty of Israel is slain in your high places. How the mighty have fallen talent not in Gath for claimant, not in the streets of Ashkelon, less the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, less the daughters of the uncircumcised try to hear what he saying a whole.

This is a day of hunter distress and calamity speak about it in the streets of Gotham don't proclaim it in the places of Ashkelon where Gath and Escalon booster to the five major city states of the Philistines. This was a day of gala celebration among the Philistines, the king of Israel was dead there arch enemy had fallen in battle against their dancing and singing and having a parade, and David is crying publish it not and Escalon talent not in Gath. How the mighty have fallen and he calls upon the mountains or mountains of Gilboa, let there be no due nor rain upon you, nor fields of offerings for the shield of the mightiest castaway there.

The shield of Saul not anointed with oil from the blood of the slain from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back in the sword of Saul did not return empty. David pronounces a curse upon the battlefield on the scene where the hero's of Israel had fallen and then he goes on Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives and in their death.

They were not divided they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lines. They say that even David, who had been warned by Jonathan were Jonathan and the sense betrayed his own father by taking David into his confidence and protecting David from the range of Saul, although in Jonathan's mind.

He was not betraying Saul, he was protecting Saul, he was protecting Saul from Saul's own madness and David appreciates that. And David says. At least there's one good thing. Father and son were together that bond was not destroyed.

They fell as a family owned daughters of Israel weep over Saul who, how hard is it for us to mourn over the death of an enemy, but somehow in the deepest chambers of David's heart. He still could not look at Saul as an enemy. He looked past the madness of Saul past the jealousy of Saul and remembered those tender moments when Saul expressed his love for David as if David were his own son and daughters of Israel weep over Saul who closed you and Scarlett with luxury who put ornaments of gold upon your repair, how the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle. Jonathan was slain in your high places, and now he changes his focus to his distress over Jonathan. I am distressed for you.

My brother Jonathan, for you have been very pleasant to me.

Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women. How the mighty have fallen in the weapons of war perished. David could've seen this as an occasion to celebrate his own freedom from the pursuit of Saul, he could've just run his hands in glee the throne. It's my all the obstacles to my dreams have been removed that which stood between me and the kingdom of Israel has now vanished.

I will celebrate and rejoice in this occasion he doesn't do it, he takes no joy in the fall of the mighty jealous people do bitter people do small people do weak people do. But even with all of his faults, David recognized in Saul, a man of great power and virtue. He applauds his victories in the field. He knows that Saul was a double minded man. He knows that Saul was good and bad, vicious and virtuous and he at this moment takes an occasion to praise him for whatever virtue was manifested there that takes grace. 11.

It takes grace to see virtue in the lives of your enemies in the lives of the opponents but not only that David is concerned and this is something that he loses later proceeded he's concerned not only for Jonathan and not only for so he's concerned for the people, because he knows that no king lives as an isolated individual.

No prints, lives in solitude. They are public people public persona and so there is a sense in which the destiny of the nation is tied up with the destiny of their leaders, and David sees that and says this is a day of told calamity for our nation king has fallen our prints has fallen all how the mighty have fallen. Here we see David at his best, David expressing grace David expressing a profound love for his adopted father, as it were his king and for Jonathan, whom he loved as a brother David's deep mourning over the loss of his friends reveals much about his character. Saul had been chasing him down the killer yet. David loved him deeply. As RC mentioned, we see David here at his best, but as we examine his life. We also seem at times at his worst, we have been studying the life of David here on the Saturday edition of Renewing Your Mind and I hope you'll stay with us. Dr. Spruill return in just a moment with a final thought on our responsibility.

When leaders fall as we returned to the series. Each week were seeing an amazing story unfold, but more than that were learning how David's incredible life set the stage for the rest of redemptive history. Dr. Spruill was showing us how to connect the Old Testament accounts to the new covenant are resource offered today will help you do that is well you'll be able to see the full narrative of Scripture is the special edition of Dr. Spruill series duster glory is a 57 part study tour that explores the themes and events of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In this special edition set provides an extra disc containing the study guides for the series to request duster glory.

When you go to Renewing Your or when you call us at 800-435-4343 we have the privilege religion are ministries of reaching people around the world with teaching series like the one referred today we want to help believers around the world understand theology, the Bible, church history and and what it means to have a Christian worldview. One of the ways to connect with this rich teaching is through rough that that's her 24 hour Internet radio station when you tune in, you'll hear curated Christian content from a reformed perspective will hear from Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, Alister Begg, Dr. John MacArthur, and of course Dr. RC Sproul, you can listen at any more on the free riff net app. Now here is RC with a final thought I'd like to ask you how you feel sometimes when you read in the newspaper of scandals that attach themselves to the names of the rich and famous as a people were almost addicted to gossip partly we kind of wring our hands in glee when we discover another scandalous action of somebody who is prominent in our society. The tabloids are filled with this kind of stuff the popular magazines create a feeding frenzy. Whenever we hear of a new scandal with somebody that's powerful or that somebody it's famous instead we are to be weeping. Will you be heartbroken when our leaders fall and when they embarrass that which they stand for and that which they represent. The other point we need to take from this story is a lesson on being gracious to our enemies. Jesus said that we are to love our enemies and to be concerned for them and not to take delight in their destruction. We may be grateful when their evil is resisted and defeated, but that was not David's heart to be vengeful here, David. On this occasion had a broken heart, because he cared for those who fell. David's sorrow wasn't temporary. He had promised Jonathan that he would take care of his dear friends, family, and David did just that.

I hope you'll join us for the message titled the cripple at the table next Saturday here on Renewing Your Mind

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