Mortal Combat

David Learns of Saul’s Death

2 Samuel 1:1 NLT - After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag.

  • It’s important to note that David was camped in Ziklag located deep in the southern territory, while King Saul was killed on Mount Gilboa far away, north of Judah.

2 Samuel 1:2–4 NLT - On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect. “Where have you come from?” David asked. “I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied. “What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.” The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

  • For David, this news would be similar to us hearing about the planes hitting the twin towers on 9/11 or JFK being assassinated. We can remember the exact place we were when the news was delivered.

2 Samuel 1:5 NLT - “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man.

2 Samuel 1:6–9 NLT - The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him. “He responded, ‘Who are you?’ “ ‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him. “Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’

  • His words suggest he may have been fighting alongside the Israelite army. Yet, his lackadaisical choice of vocabulary leaves a lot to be desired — and may have tipped David off to the man’s true intentions—he excepted a reward.

2 Samuel 1:10–16 NLT - “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.” David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day. Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?” And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.” “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked. Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”

Mortal Combat

As we studied last summer, it was Saul’s refusal and failure to completely wipe out the Amalekites, that the Lord rejects Saul as King.

1 Samuel 15:17–24 NLT - And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?” “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded.

Saul’s downfall as Israel’s king is bookend by enemy Amalekites.

When you refuse to put to death the things in your life that God has commanded you to kill, they will be the death of you.

The death of your influence, the death of your ministry, the death of your joy, the death of your peace, the death of your contentment, etc.

Colossians 3:5–10 NLT - So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Putting Sin to Death


1. Identify & make sin your enemy

Romans 8:6–8 NLT - So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

2. Prayer

Matthew 26:41 NLT - Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

3. Renew your mind

Romans 12:2 NLT - Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

4. Resist & Avoid

James 4:7 NLT - So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Psalm 1:1 CSB - How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers!

5. Confession & Accountability

1 John 1:9 NLT - But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

James 5:16 NLT - Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

6. Live by the Spirit

Romans 8:11–13 NLT - The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

7. Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

Hebrews 12:1–2 NLT - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Romans 13:14 NLT - Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.


We have a tendency to play around and dabble in the things that God has called us out of. Our refusal to put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within us, will be the death of us. The death of our influence, our ministry, our peace, our happiness, our contentment. It's time to experience victory.