Last week, we learned what Dark Places were. We were also able to see clear references from the Bible of people who experienced Dark Places. This week, we’ll shine the Light of the LORD on the Dark Places of a person who chose to live his life with God around it instead of in it. Additionally, we will identify those who presently live their lives with God around it instead of in it.
Who are the people who live their lives with God around it instead of in it?
The people who live their lives with God around it instead of in it are those who are most akin to King Saul by way of personality, nature, and traits. Let’s take a quick look into the Word of God and discover the Dark Places of Saul. In doing so, we will be able to better understand those with “Type Saul” characteristics and in essence those who experience Dark Places and who have no real connection with God.
When we first meet Saul in 1 Samuel, we learn that he was a very handsome man who “from his shoulders upward was taller than any of the people.” He seemed to be a dutiful son in that he was carrying out a task for his father (looking for some lost donkeys belonging to his father). But what else do we learn about Saul? We learn that once he encounters Samuel, he questions Samuel as to why he is identified as “the one in whom all the desire of Israel is on.” He countered Samuel’s comments with things like, am I not of the smallest and least of all the families and why.
I find it interesting how this son of Israel, who likely grew up hearing of GOD and all that God had done for His people, questioned what had already been determined (See 1 Samuel 9). Why didn’t he believe and accept what Samuel said right away? Why did he immediately focus on irrelevant things? Clearly, God had already shown Israel that size didn’t matter and that what He determined to accomplish would be accomplished. But if you will, please allow me to give you a clearer view into Saul’s character. In 1 Samuel 10, we see the real nature of Saul. After Samuel met with Saul and told him, in a nutshell, the things that would come to pass and the specific events that would take place, he [Saul] was approached by his uncle who asked him what Samuel had said to him. Now don’t get me wrong, the scripture says that Saul answered, but what I find interesting is that he did not tell his uncle the entirety of what Samuel had said. I had to ask myself why. Why would he not tell his family member?
Next, look at verses 21 and 22 of 1 Samuel 10. This is classic Saul. After Saul had been told by Samuel of his determined position, after he was anointed by Samuel, after prophesying and going to the high place, Saul was observed cowering and hiding.
Fast forward in Saul’s life and you can see more ups and downs. You can see how he demonstrated bitterness, envy, and jealousy. He contributed to conflict and discord within his family, he was ruled by insecurity and fear, he used manipulation, bribery and evil demonstrations to get his way, and the list goes on and on. In fact, Saul was so affected by his Dark Places, among other things, that he started losing his mind. He was a man living his life with God around it instead of in it.
Saul could be summed up like this – he was an insecure, people-pleasing, deviously plotting, bitter, angry man who consulted with a medium, demonstrated jealousy because someone did something better than him, and all-around fearful, crazy man.
How do Saul’s Dark Places equate to people who live their lives with God around it instead of in it?
The thing about Saul is that he never fully believed God and he never really gave himself over to the Spirit of God. He, in a sense, seemed to remain that insecure, people-pleasing, manipulative, jealous, disobedient person who got the big head and made foolish choices. (Read about his life. You’ll see. )
Saul allowed God around him, but he never really allowed God to be in him. Don’t get me wrong, Saul did have the Spirit with him for a time, but if you study the Word more thoroughly, you will see that scripture reveals that the Spirit of God departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14).
In the end, Saul’s life came to a tragic end. In chapter 31, we can read how Saul was on the run. He was hit with arrows and severely wounded. But like the cowardly character he showed in life, he chose what some would call a coward’s death (31:4) – he took his sword and fell on it.
God around a life instead of in it equals a Dark Place where light cannot and does not exist. It is a path that can lead to destruction on so many levels.
Does this sound like you? Are you unsure of why God has called you, appointed you or positioned you in a place that you just don’t feel you belong? Perhaps you may be running or hiding from responsibility. Maybe you are struggling with self-confidence. Maybe you are a people-pleaser. You might be weaker than you care to be. Or maybe you are just lacking in the area of obedience. Could it be that you are running to everyone but God and His Word, looking for answers to things you need to know? Whatever you are dealing with and wherever you are in your Dark Places, the Word of God can be a Lamp unto your feet and a Light unto your path.
What are the illuminating lessons for us today from visiting the Dark Places of Saul?
1) You can be who God has determined you to be.
2) God will provide you with everything you need to light and guide your way.
3) Give yourself over to the Word of God and the Spirit of God completely.
4) Let go of the “Type Saul” mentality!
The Word of God can be a Lamp and a Light for your path, shining on your Dark Places of insecurity, fear, deceit, envy, and foolishness. Let Jesus bring these things inside of you out from under the cover of darkness and free you from your Dark Places.