God is departed from me and answers me no more” 1 Samuel 28:15 KJV

“God has departed from me and no longer answers me” 1Samuel 28:15 NASB

“O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39 KJV

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”  Matthew 26:39 NASB

The final nights of Israel’s first king and Israel’s last (ultimate) King, provide a sharp contrast. Both are seen prostrate upon the ground; both are marked by tears; both are concerned with the will of God. Yet, while comparisons are present superficially, there are marked contrasts.

Saul, marked by self-will, disobedience, and pride resorted to the witch at Endor in hopes of communication from Samuel. Desperate for a word of comfort or assurance, he stooped to the occult, in an effort to have his fears quelled.

Saul had been marked by pride. While the outset of his reign saw him little in his own sight (1 Sam 15:17), power and prominence had bred pride which the flattery of the court hangers-on had no doubt fed. His pride led to self-will and fighting against God. He failed to carry out God’s Word, blaming the people, Samuel, and even God on different occasions. Pride and self-will led to open disobedience and rebellion against the will of God.

As Saul comes to his last night on earth, he is conscious that the gulf between him and heaven has been fixed and cannot be spanned by prayer or remorseful tears. A tragic broken man is seen groveling on the floor of the witch’s house. His sentence has been passed; death awaits him on the battlefield in the morning. His last night is one of tears and loneliness. Israel’s first king ends in disgrace.

The Lord Jesus spent His last night on the ground (Matt 26:39); but it was in communion with His Father. There was no distance in the Garden.  Luke will add that heaven came down to the Garden in the person of an angel to minister to Him. His face was also stained with tears; but not tears of remorse or regret for folly committed. His were tears wrung from the deep anguish of soul in light of the next day (Heb 5:7, 8). The will of God is prominent in this exchange as well. But here is a King Who has come to obey and accomplish that will even at the greatest possible personal cost. The One Who had taught His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done” (Matt 6:10), now breathed the same prayer from the anguish of His own heart. The honor which that prayer brought to God is beyond human calculation.

Saul’s death on Mt. Gilboa was a shameful end; his death accomplished nothing other than his removal to make way for David. The death of the Lord Jesus accomplished the will of God, establishing a righteous basis for the entire divine program to be fulfilled.

Consider:

Acts 13:22 describes the death of Saul in this manner: “when He had removed him.” How does this contrast with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Can you find other contrasts between the two last nights of Israel’s first and last King?