Reading about Jesus’ final hours can be an emotional encounter, especially when we put ourselves in the scene. We’ve been walking with Jesus to the cross, and today we arrive. Seeing it dramatized is also a very powerful way to remember. I’ll never forget the car ride home in silence after our family watched Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” when it first came out in theatres.
Sometimes we want to rush ahead to what happens next, but the first disciples didn’t know this was only the beginning of the miracle of all miracles. Let’s stay where we are in this moment, seeing our Savior’s sacrifice of love.
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.”