Elisha now has his first opportunity to show God’s power in helping the people. There are two very different stories shared in our reading today. The second left me uneasy and wanting to know more. I’m so blessed to have a Bible scholar for a husband. He has spent a lot of time helping me understand the original Hebrew as well as what may have been happening with the bear incident.
Sometimes when we read our Bibles something will stand out and leave us questioning what just happened. That was my experience today. My mission is to help people connect with God through his word, and texts like this can often scare people away.
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?