Why was Zadok’s son so eager to give King David the news, and then not tell him about his son’s fate? If you’ve ever lost a child or known someone who has, you know the agony of loss. It’s like the order of things, the circle of life, if you will, are all messed up. Who in their right mind would want to deliver that news?
As it turns out, even bold Joab knew the news would be devastating to the king. That’s why he called up an Ethiopian to bring the news to spare any harm of the king’s wrath, to his own men. The outsider did not have the same fear or dread that held Ahimaaz back from revealing Absalom’s death.
How desperate was Saul to find a solution to the Goliath problem? We learned a couple readings ago that there was quite a reward being offered to the brave soul who kills Goliath. You can imagine Saul’s great surprise when young David says, “Don’t worry about this Philistine, I’ll go fight him!” Don’t worry? This was the same giant who sent the Israelite army scurrying away in fear!
But David had a plan. He knew he wasn’t a warrior in Saul’s army, but he knew he was a smart protector. I can just about picture David clubbing a lion to death should it try to take one of his precious lambs. God had gifted David to fearlessly use his wit and strength, and today we shall perhaps see why.
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?
If at first you don’t succeed…you know the drill. We don’t give up, we try again! And that’s what the Israelites did with great success. Whose victory was it really? Here’s a clue. “So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin.”
God didn’t raise up a spiritual or military leader to fight this battle. The Israelites banded together for a common goal. From the sounds of it, their tactics were a bit crafty and worked well. The warriors from Benjamin were afraid. “The Israelites surrounded the men of Benjamin and chased them relentlessly, finally overtaking them east of Gibeah.”
When God shows up, miracles happen. Don’t you love how this story plays out? In the preceding chapter we saw Gideon as being a bit unsure. When God whittled his troops down to a few hundred men, I can’t imagine that did much for Gideon’s confidence. He certainly didn’t want to show up unprepared. But sometimes being overly prepared doesn’t allow for a miracle of God to be experienced to its fullest.
The LORD had proved himself to Gideon on more than one occasion since getting his attention in the winepress. Gideon was beyond asking for more proof, and yet God could sense there was some hesitation. God said to Gideon, “But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”