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An Awful Choice

Read 1 Samuel 31:1-13

Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely.

Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.” But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
(1 Samuel 31:1-4)


Saul’s armor bearer faced a moral dilemma—should he carry out a sinful order from a man he was supposed to obey? He knew he should obey his master, the king, but he also knew murder was wrong. He decided not to kill Saul.

There is a difference between following an order with which you don’t agree and following one you know is wrong. It is never right or ethical to carry out a wrong act, no matter who gives the order or what the consequences for disobedience may be. What shapes your choice when you face a moral dilemma? Have the courage to follow God’s law above human commands.


Saul faced death the same way he faced life. He took matters into his own hands without thinking of God or asking for his guidance. If our lives aren’t the way we would like them to be now, we can’t assume that change will come more easily later. When nearing death, we will respond to God the same way we have been responding all along. Coming face-to-face with death only shows us what we are really like. How do you want to face death? Start facing life that way right now.

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