David’s succession as the next king was not smooth or uneventful. In today’s reading, the saga continues. Abner’s change of heart seems to be the most remarkable. All this time, Abner had been fighting to preserve Saul’s dignity and memory. Now Abner was called out by Saul’s son for taking his father’s concubine. Concubines would have been objects of power, and apparently Ishbosheth had not pursued that power but was upset that Abner had.
Ishbosheth’s handling of the matter set off Abner. Where was the gratitude and respect for all Abner had done? It was like a light bulb went on for Abner realizing that David was indeed the true king. Abner said, “May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the Lord has promised him!” And with that Abner set out to make amends with David and vowed to bring all of Israel back into alignment with David.
This is a bit of a delayed reward. Remember the words David heard about Saul’s reward — that the one who took down Goliath would get to marry one of Saul’s daughters? I’m not sure how much time has passed, but it looks like David is finally going to receive his prize.
Although, it doesn’t sound like that part of Saul’s “reward” was a motivating factor for David in killing Goliath. He says, “Who am I, and what is my family in Israel that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” What do you think of David’s humility here? He even gave the gift away! Adriel, a man from Meholah, now had a new bride, the king’s daughter, thanks to David!
God was still in charge, but the people saw a powerful leader that day! Saul’s actions were certainly not weak. God wasn’t about to let the man he anointed as Israel’s first king be a “wimp.” We know from our last reading or two that Saul didn’t seem all that enthused by his new calling. I wonder what was going through his mind now after having felt God’s spirit coursing through his veins?
There is no feeling quite like that. When God’s spirit is alive in you and moves you to do God’s work, it’s definitely a warm fuzzy! At least that has been my experience. It’s like the Holy Spirit has lit a fire in my soul, has acted through me, and left me feeling totally exhilarated. Sometimes what happened or what I said is just a blur. Can you relate?
To know exactly what to expect is going to happen must be exhilarating! Think of the whirlwind young Saul has been on over the past day. While looking for his donkeys, he found Samuel. Samuel’s words will profoundly change his life forever. He has no idea what it will be like to be used by God in this moment.
Maybe you’ve felt like this before. You know you’re called to do something great to further God’s kingdom, but what does that look like? I’m sure we all wish we had Samuel in our corner preparing us for what is about to happen. The detail here is quite something, wouldn’t you agree?
Was it really the Israelite God who sent the plagues upon the Philistines? They had to know for sure. The Philistines were afraid of the Ark and consulted with their own priests and diviners about the best way to get rid of it. But what if the plagues were simply a coincidence?
A plan was suggested involving two cows and a guilt offering. They had underestimated God’s power, and the guilt offering or payment had to be more than sufficient to calm God’s anger. This plan would assure them, once and for all, it was the Ark causing all the trouble. New mother cows would never leave their babies unless there was some divine intervention. In addition, two cows not used to being yoked together would not calmly allow such a thing to happen.