Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Got any crazy friends or relatives?

What do to about the crazies in our life?
The story of Saul and David comes to mind as I ponder.
I Samuel 15:10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel saying: I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me.
Q: Is Samuel God's spokesperson because Saul respects him? Why didn't God speak directly to king Saul?
Saul did not follow God's very specific directions to wipe out all of the Amalekites---even the animals. When God tells this news to Samuel, Samuel prays all night. He is distressed. Samuel goes to Saul and confronts him, but Saul tries to squirm out of it by blaming the people---15:15 "the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the Lord Your God!" And when Samuel points out the error of his ways, Saul again insists that he did obey God. again. Blames the people.
"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being king."
In verse 24, Saul confesses, repents with "I have sinned" and admits that he "feared the people and listened to their voice".
Q: will Saul be in heaven? (trick question, as there is a definite verse about it at the end of the story)
Q: what should Saul have done? Agreed to step down as king?
Samuel executes the captured king Agag (who comes cheerfully) and Samuel "hews" him to pieces very publically. Verse 34 says that Samuel did not see Saul every again until the day of Saul's death! There is brokenness, and consequences.
Q: Why didn't God strike Saul dead? Why did God keep Saul around?
God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem and anoint one of Jesse's sons and Samuel complains he is afraid of Saul and that Saul might kill him. Instead of pointing out this absurd thought, God gives Samuel an excuse: "take a heifer and say, I have come to sacrifice to the Lord." I Samuel 16:2 God asked Samuel in the verse prior, "how long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel?" God set the standards. God said there would be consequences.
When Samuel shows up at the gates of Bethlehem, I Samuel 16:4 the elders come trembling. All of Jesse's sons are paraded before Samuel and we are privy to the conversation between Samuel and God:
"Surely,...but the Lord said to Samuel: do not look at his appearance or height because I have rejected him...for God sees not as man sees for man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart."
Q: are all David's brothers in heaven? God loved them as He loves everyone, but God rejected them for the JOB of king.
I Samuel 16:12 handsome, ruddy, anointed youngest David "and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David"
I Samuel 16:14 the spirit of the Lord departed form Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him.
Q: Is God teasing Saul with David? Why not just make David king?
David's reputation: skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, a handsome man, AND THE LORD IS WITH HIM. David would play his harp and king Saul "would be refreshed and be well." "And the evil spirit would depart from him."
Next is the Goliath story. What is God teaching us in this story of Saul and David? Saul was still the Lord's anointed. Saul is still alive. Saul won't die for 15 more chapters.
It seems to start with jealousy. I Samuel 18:9 says "Saul looks at David with suspicion from that day on" as they were singing David's praises, and his count was higher.
18:11 Saul hurls a spear at David
18:12 Saul admits being afraid of David.
18:13 Saul puts David in command of one thousand hoping he will be killed in battle, but God prospers and protects David.
18:17 Saul promises his oldest daughter hoping the Philistines kill David, then gives his daughter to another.
18:20 Saul tries to "snare" David with his daughter, Michal by requiring an 100 foreskin dowry.
18:29 "enemy continually"
I Samuel 19:1 Saul told his son Jonathan and servants to put David to death. They do not obey.
19:7 temporary restoration of fellowship. one of many.
19:8 but "there was war again"..."an evil spirt...Saul tries to spear David." again.
19:11,12 Michal helps David escape. (but what was she doing with a household idol? Did Saul marry a woman of another religion? Idols were a big no-no.)
I Samuel 19:18 Ramah prophesying story---they can't help it. naked.
I Samuel 20 David asks Jonathan, what have I done? What is my sin before your father? David and Jonathan make a covenant. Jonathan is afraid David will be missed at the new moon celebration (verse 18) and they devise a plan. Saul voices that he knows David is to be the next king and tries to incite Jonathan again, but Jonathan and David talk about their covenant. And they part.
I Samuel 21 David escapes to Nob. alone. David lies to the priest that he is on a secret mission and asks for the consecrated bread which only the priests and their families were to eat. Doeg the Edomite, chief of Saul's shepherds sees David and reports back to Saul and in chapter 22 kills 85 priests, their families, children, infants and animals. So 85 plus die innocently. Ironically, tragically, Saul who refused to obey and kill all the enemy Amalekites, murders his own priests and their families without consulting God.
I Samuel 22 So David escapes to the cave of Adullam, and his brothers plus his father's household join him there along with 400 in debt and discontented. David parks his parents with the King of Moab "until I know what God will do for me." (verse 3)
God uses the prophet GAD to warn David not to stay in the stronghold. I Samuel 22:5 but to go to the land of Judah. I Samuel 22:6 Saul declares war on David. From jealousy to anger, to spear throwing attempted murder to all out war...only one son escaped to tell David.
I Samuel 23 David inquires of the Lord before going to battle with the Philistines.
23:14 Saul looks for David every day. It has become an obsession.
I Samuel 24 David has an opportunity to kill Saul, but cuts off an edge of Saul's robe in a cave and then proclaims: "Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord's anointed."
24:20 Saul "repents" and restores and makes promises. again. "AND EVERYONE GOES TO THEIR OWN HOUSES AND STRONGHOLD."
Samuel dies. Chapter 25 is the Abigail story. I Samuel 26 finds David sparing Saul's life. again.
I Samuel 28 Saul consults a medium. Samuel is brought back from the dead to say, in verse 19, "tomorrow you and your sons will be with me!" And in I Samuel 31 we are given the details of Saul and his sons' death. Second Samuel begins with David hearing the news.
What do we see in dealing with a crazy person? What do we learn? We pray. We seek God's will. We ask for God's direction and guidance. Even when there is temporary and repeated restoration, we wisely do not put ourselves in harms way. Everyone goes back to their own houses and strongholds.
We love. We forgive to prevent personal bitterness. But, we are not stupid.

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