Okay, so the Doctor Who clip does more to show my nerdiness than to contribute to the point running through my mind right now, but it is what came to my mind as I read 1 Chronicles 10 the other day. And I like the clip. It’s funny. So, I shared it. But, to get back on track…how can a Doctor Who clip be relevant to Scriptural ponderings? I’m so glad you asked!
Allow me to point you specifically to 1 Chronicles 10:13-14.
So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.
Remember the story from 1 Samuel 28? The Philistine army has gathered to fight against Israel. Terrified, Saul tries to call upon the Lord, but the Lord will not answer. So, instead of entering into an attitude of repentance, he decides to try to dredge up the dead prophet Samuel through a spirit medium. The news he receives from this endeavor does nothing to comfort the king, as he hears only of his impending death (1 Samuel 31).
What I find interesting is that 1 Chronicles lists this seeking of the medium as the specific sin leading to Saul’s death and his family’s loss of the kingdom. But, check out what 1 Samuel 28:15-18 records.
Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.” Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary? The Lord has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. As you did not obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day.
Samuel refers back even further to an incident much earlier in Saul’s reign, found in 1 Samuel 15. Saul refused to repent of this sin, therefore causing God to reject him and his descendants way back then, not here at the end of his life with the sin of seeking the medium.
This is where the "wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff" becomes relevant. God created time for us, but He is by no means bound by it. He meted out judgment upon Saul early in his reign, but He knew exactly where it would culminate. He knew that it would end with Saul’s final refusal to submit and repent. I fully believe God would have answered Saul right there at the end of his life had he repented. But He knew that, when all was said and done, Saul would end his reign as he began it. He would continue to refuse to submit to God’s authority over him. He would refuse to repent. The first sin and the last are one and the same. The end simply confirms the beginning.
This passage presents a very bleak, depressing story. But, what was heartrendingly tragic for Saul offers great hope for us. The fact that God stands completely outside of time means…
Christ’s forgiveness covers it all: past, present, and future. We think about past and present, but how often do we glean hope from the future covering?
God knows! What a reminder! Oh how often we forget this in the depths of our hearts, even if we say it with our mouths. He knows.
Our prayers are not limited by time. That one really captivates me. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought, "Oh, if I had only known I would have prayed!" Yet my prayers rise to a God who is completely outside of time. He is the Creator of time. The true Master of time! He can take my prayer of today and grow me through it, even if it applies to a situation of yesterday.
The record of Saul’s refusal to repent provides us with an understanding of God that gives us such hope. We serve a timeless God. Our today fits into His plan for ten years ago as easily as it fits into His plan for a hundred years from now. May we rejoice that our past, present, and future are sealed in the righteousness of Christ, not in the condemnation of Saul!