Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers.Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. I Samuel 31:1-6 ESV
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. I John 4:16-19 ESV
Mark Antony was a leader and a military general in the late Roman Republic. He was a supporter of Julius Caesar, and when Caesar was murdered, he was next in line for power. However, Caesar’s nephew Octavian also claimed the throne. There was a lot of tension between the two men, although they sometimes had to work together against other enemies. Mark Antony even married Octavian’s sister, but later he left her because he loved Cleopatra, the ruler of Egypt. After that happened, Octavian came against Mark Antony in a war in Greece, and Mark Antony lost. He ran away to Egypt, and Octavian’s forces came after him. Mark Antony was afraid of falling into Octavian’s hands, and he killed himself.
Saul did the same thing when he lost the battle with the Philistines. He was wounded, but he hadn’t died. He was afraid that if the Philistines took him captive, they would torture him, and he couldn’t face that. He wanted his armor-bearer to kill him, but the armor-bearer wouldn’t do that, so Saul killed himself. He died the same way he had lived for a long time, cowardly and afraid. He had turned away from God, and had no strength on his own to face difficult things in life.
Sometimes we are afraid of things in life. We might be afraid of pain or sickness or the anger of other people or shame because of things we’ve done wrong. Sometimes people can’t face these things, and they might even try to kill themselves so they don’t have to face them. But the good news is that we never have to go through difficult things alone. God is always with us to help us and give us his love and courage. If we are afraid of the consequences of things we’ve done wrong, God will also help us with that. He might not take away the consequences, but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross we can be sure that he completely forgives us. Nothing will separate us from his love, and nothing can take away the life we have with God, now and forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, please give us courage to go through difficult times in life. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.