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It’s a Slow Fade Indeed

English: Saul Rejected as King; as in 1 Samuel...

An illustration of Samuel telling King Saul that the LORD has rejected him as king of Israel

Casting Crowns which is a Christian singing group from USA did a track entitled ‘Slow Fade.’ It chorus goes:

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

It’s the last part that has inspired this article. People never crumble in a day. There are so many examples that you and I can cite to uphold this statement, but I would like us to turn to Scripture and look at the life of the first king of Israel, Saul. He, too, never crumbled in a day.  It was a slow fade.

After being king over Israel for some years, God had this to say about King Saul: “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments,” (1 Samuel 15:10).  Later on Samuel blatantly tells King Saul, “Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, the LORD has also rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23).

The story that began so well is ending on a sad note.  Earlier on when the LORD directed Samuel to anoint Saul as king, Samuel said these words to the people of Israel: “Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!” (1 Samuel 10:24). But after some time, the same Samuel tells Saul that God has rejected him as king.

Now, we might wonder as to what happened for the Lord to completely reject Saul as king but if we take a detailed look at his life we will find evidence of ‘slow fade’ in the life of Saul. He who begun so well by trusting the Lord, ended up doing things in his own way and breaking the heart of God in the process. Disobedience, jealousy, murder and idolatry slowly faded away the trust and faith that Saul had in the LORD earlier.

First was the disobedience to the word of God through prophet Samuel who told Saul to go to Gilgal and wait for seven days before Samuel could come to offer burnt offering (1 Samuel 10:8). However, Saul out of panic as the Philistine army approached him, failed to obey the word of God and offered the sacrifice himself instead of waiting for Samuel.  Remember that only Samuel was supposed to offer the burnt offering.

Samuel rebuked him for this ‘foolish act” (1 Samuel 13:12) and he told Saul that because he disobeyed the commandment of God, the Lord will not establish Saul’s kingdom over Israel forever (1 Samuel 13, 14). I was expecting to read of Saul’s repentance in the proceeding verses but there was no such thing. No remorse, no repentance from Saul.

What follows this foolish act is another sin of disobedience when Saul directly disobeyed God’s command. The command from the Lord through His prophet Samuel was crystal clear: “Now go and destroy the Amelek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey,” (1 Samuel 15:3). But disobedience reign supreme in the life of Saul and there is a sad report in verse 9: “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened claves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.”

When asked why he defied the Lord’s command Saul shamelessly replied that he spared the best sheep and oxen to sacrifice them to the Lord. Samuel response to this lame excuse was very outstanding: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 1:22).

After this story we continue to see the godly life of Saul slowly fading into oblivion. Next you read of his jealousy of David. Jealousy leads to plan of murder. Saul is determined to kill David despite the latter sparing his life a couple of times. Then to crown it all, Saul takes the path of idolatry. Because his relationship with the Lord is not good, he resorts to consulting the souls of the dead to give him guidance. Idolatry finally leads to death and 2 Samuel 1:27 sums it up all: “How the mighty have fallen!”

Indeed it’s a slow fade and people never crumble in a day.  After reading this, we might be tempted to shudder in fear and think, if this is the case. Who then can survive without slowly fading away? Christ has the answer in John 15:5, 6:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into fire, and burned.”

The truth of our vulnerability without Christ should continually be borne in our minds hence we should continually lean on Jesus and completely refuse to be deceived by our wicked hearts that we are strong without Christ. The word of God is very lucid on this: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,” (1 Corinthians 10:12). We can’t stand without Christ otherwise we will surely crumble although it might not be in a day.

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