The Death of Saul and His Dynasty

Scripture: 1 Samuel 31

Topics: Self Reliance, Surrender

Study Guide

In 1 Samuel 31, we come to the conclusion of the book, which ends with Saul’s tragic death. As Saul’s battle for control reaches its natural consequence, he destroys many other lives in his wake. However, there is hope in a future king through the line of David. Jesus will submit to God’s authority, even unto death, and bring life to his people.
Application
  1. Self-reliance is considered a positive quality in our culture. As believers, what can we learn from Saul’s life about the dangers of self-reliance?

  2. Although Jonathan’s death is sad, his ending is not tragic like his father’s. How can Jonathan’s story give us hope?

  3. Sin has consequences and will control our lives. Can you think of a time when sin had more control over you than you realized?

  4. When things get difficult, we tend to escape into what makes us feel like we have control—work, exercise, alcohol, social media, etc. How have you seen this play out in your life? What “deep work” (repentance, seeking God through his word, etc.) could help you move toward trusting God instead of yourself in those times?

  5. As believers, we have hope that Christ has overcome the logical ending to our lives (which is death) because we have surrendered to his will. What areas of your life are you still trying to rule over? What steps do you need to take to repent and move towards God in those areas?

Key Points
  • In Saul’s tragic death, we see the principle of sowing and reaping on full display. His self-reliance and pursuit of control have ended in self-destruction.

  • In contrast, Jonathan illustrates faithful dependence on God. He is willing to give up his kingship to David, aligning himself with God’s purposes instead of his own.

  • The destructive nature of sin is evident throughout the book of 1 Samuel, and we must be mindful that we are all like Saul in the sense that our sin will have consequences.

  • We are called to live in such a way that we reflect God’s kingdom and not our own. In that, we bring honor to God instead of dishonoring him.

  • Even in this tragic end, God is accomplishing his purposes. We can have hope that God works his will in spite of human failure. The Israelites have hope for a future king in David and ultimately in Christ.

  • Throughout 1 Samuel, we see that God honors those who submit to him and those who rebel against him are brought low. This reversal is essential to what it means to follow Jesus.

  • There is no success in ruling our own lives. Jesus can be our only true king.

Other Scripture References