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Fall of the Tragic Hero



In the second message of this collection, Ben Stuart highlights that the cycle that destroyed King Saul can be seen in our own lives today. Proving that we are insufficient on our own to rule our kingdoms well, the greatest King came to walk with us through all of life if we simply trust and obey Him.

Key Takeaway

God is always at work. When we allow ourselves to give way to our most tragic flaws, God does not give up on us. He has provided us with a kind King who continues to lead us.

1) Demand for a King. (Misplaced Hope)

God has never been against government or kings, but He is against looking to something man-made to take the place of His Authority. Ben Stuart explains how we do the same thing today. We have the right "what", but the wrong "why".

God has positioned us to be set apart to be a blessing for others, but we want to be like everyone else. So instead of being different for the sake of a culture, we want to be the same as the culture for our own sake.

We, just like the Israelites, look to things to fix our problems. The things are not bad in and of themselves, but we misuse them. We often look to a political solution for a spiritual problem. We look to our created idols to give us a sense of comfort, security, and identity that only can be found in Christ.

Their demand for a king was evil, but the mercy of God says, "I'll care for them anyway".

2) Rise of a King. (Hidden King)

The first words recorded of Saul are, "Let's go back". We quickly see that the man chosen as king has major flaws of indecision, insecurity, and being uninformed of the world around him. However, because he is attractive and taller than the rest, any hint of lack of character is overlooked or not even noticed to begin with.

At first, with the Spirit of the Lord upon him, Saul leads well. Samuel warns him: that it is all contingent on obedience. As long as Saul honors what the Lord has asked, all will be well with him, but Saul will fail to do this.

The hope for the believer is that when we are surrounded by Sauls, there is always a Hidden King who is ruling over everything and leading us.

3) Fall of a King. (One Thing)

Saul had one job. He was told to wait before going to battle so that Samuel could lead them in sacrificial offerings, but when his soldiers started getting nervous and scattering, Saul took matters into his own hands. He sinned against God by performing the sacrifice himself.

This was the tipping point that exposed Saul. All of the character flaws that were barely noticed before are now beginning to grow. He becomes even more insecure, even more indecisive. He goes as far as setting himself up against his son, Jonathan. As time passes, Saul continually disobeys God. He has proven himself to be an unsafe king and Samuel tells him the kingdom will be taken from him. Saul gives a half-hearted apology, but still asks Samuel to honor him in front of his people.

This is the sickness of Saul that we exhibit today: "I want to be liked more than I want to be faithful, I want to be accepted more than I want to be obedient, and I want glory for me more than I want glory for God".

Saul did not trust and obey God and that's what God desires from His people.

4) A Need For A New King. (Anti-Tragic Hero)

We need a King that will take us with our flaws and redeem them. King David will come after King Saul, but he falls short as well. Jesus, the Son of David, is coming and will reverse all our tragedies and bring Him glory.

We can trust and obey Him, He is the perfect and true King.


"God has a secret will and a revealed will. Just because we don't know his secret will does not negate our responsibility to his revealed will."

Alistair Begg

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Scripture References

  • 1 Samuel 12:19-25
  • John 12:49
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.