Thursday, August 7, 2014

That’s Not Fair! Part 2 of 3

What did Saul do to lose the kingship of Israel?

Click here for Part 1 or Part 3
Last week we saw how Saul began his kingdom. Everything seemed to be going well. Today we will find out what Saul did, or didn't do and the consequences of his choices. Next week we will discuss why the consequence was so drastic and compare Saul to David.

Enjoy this dramatization of the Biblical events of 1Sam. 13 and 15. This is taken from:

The Presence of Shadows

Copyright ©2014 by Kara Howell 

Brehane, his sister Zema, his mother Lakech and father Tesfa sit around the cook fire and listen to Uncle Mihret continue the history.

 “If only the peace and joy could last. But Saul knew that sooner or later Yisra’el would have battles to win.

“He set up his military by taking three thousand armed men to be with him at Michmash. He also placed one thousand men under his son, Jonathan, at Gibeah.

“Soon after, the Philistines assembled their army at Michmash. They were unsettled by the Yisra’elites victory at Jabesh-gilead and wanted to squash their neighbors before they could gain strength. The enemy brought thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horseman, and warriors as numerous as the sand on the seashore.”

Zema commented, “That’s a lot. How will Saul be able to fight that many?”

“Do you remember who watched over the nation of Yisra’el?” Uncle Mihret asked. “It wasn’t really Saul, was it?”

“No, it was Melek,” Brehane answered.

“And you will see that it’s a very good thing that Melek was their protector.

“Saul gathered all of the men who were able to fight at Gilgal. Gilgal was situated in a craggy pass, with the walls of the ravine on three sides.

“When the Yisra’elites saw the massive army that came up against them, many ran. They hid in caves, cliffs, thickets of bramble bush, and even in deep pits in the ground. Saul stayed where he was and watched his troops flee as dread rose in his heart. The men who did not run shook so badly they would be no use in battle. The air was saturated with their fear.

“Samuel had told Saul, ‘Wait for me seven days, then I will come and offer the burnt offerings and sacrifices to Melek, so that you may go into battle with His blessing.’ Saul didn’t know how he could wait another minute to ask Melek to go with them while his army ran for their lives. He managed to wait for seven days for Samuel’s arrival. However, at daybreak on the seventh day, he was done waiting. He was king, after all. So he made the sacrifices himself. He hoped it would rally the men’s courage. Never mind that Melek was very specific about who could offer sacrifices. Surely a king should be exempt from such laws.

“As the smoke from the extinguished fire cleared, Samuel flew into camp. His nostrils flared as they drew in the air, heavy with the smell of burnt flesh. ‘What have you done?’ he demanded with a loud cry. His jade green eyes sparked as they turned to Saul. The tone of his voice sent the men near Saul back into the grip of despair.

“‘The men were all fleeing!’ Saul replied. ‘I had to do something to bolster their confidence! I forced myself to do what you should have been here to do.’ Saul pointed his finger at Samuel. ‘Why didn’t you come when you said?’

“Samuel’s tail tore at the earth as he thrashed it from side to side. ‘I am here, on the seventh day, as I promised! You have acted foolishly. Did you not know that Melek would have established your family’s kingship over Yisra’el forever? However, because of your disobedience, Melek has stripped the kingdom from your hand! Because you did not do what you were supposed to, Melek has looked and found a man whose heart is like His own. He will make this other man king over His people.’

“Samuel’s pupils looked like teardrops as he slowly turned from Saul and flew off to Gibeah.

1 Samuel 15 continues to show us why the kingdom was taken from Saul. Here is what happened . . .

Uncle Mihret drank some water and then continued. “At dusk one night, Samuel flew into camp. He had come with a message for Saul. He ducked his head and threaded it through the tent opening. Saul stood and waited for Samuel to speak.

“‘Melek is sending you to punish the Amalekites for their evil treatment of Yisra’el when they came out of Egypt. When you attack, leave no one alive. Also, do not leave any spoils; destroy them and their animals with them.’

“Saul gladly agreed and left to summon his army. He had learned a few things since his first battle. He sent men to hide in the hills behind the city they intended to attack. When the Amalekites rushed out to meet them, the Yisra’elites let them push them back. Saul’s other men ambushed them from behind and left none alive. They returned to their base camp full of the confidence that comes with a huge victory.

“But Samuel, who was not at the battle, received a very different message about how Yisra’el had fared. The voice of Melek came to him saying, ‘I regret that I made Saul the king of My people. He has not obeyed My commands, and has turned his back on Me.’

“These words wrenched at Samuel’s heart, seeming to tear it in two. He was sick with sorrow; his banana-sized tears fell until morning. His den would take days to dry out.

“At dawn, his tired wings carried him into Saul’s camp. Saul ran up to greet him with an excited cheer. ‘Come and see that I have done all that Melek commanded.’ Pride shone from his face. ‘I brought back Agag the king of the Amalekites, but have destroyed the rest of them.’

“Samuel’s sad voice replied, ‘Why do I hear sheep bleating, and oxen lowing?’

“‘Well, we destroyed everything that had a defect, but saved the rest for your God. The people brought them back for a sacrifice to Melek!’ Saul’s excitement over their disobedience disturbed Samuel.

“‘Let me tell you what Melek told me last night,’ Samuel wearily replied. He rubbed his right eye with the back of his massive claw.

“His scales didn’t shine as brightly as Saul had remembered. Saul touched his shoulder in eagerness. ‘Speak, friend!’

“‘Didn’t Melek take you from a humble position and raise you up to be a king? And didn’t He send you to punish the Amalekites for the evil they have done? Why, then, did you disobey Him?’ Samuel sighed. ‘Because you have rejected His will, He has rejected you as king.’ Samuel swallowed the fire that rose in his throat.

“‘I have broken the commands because I feared the people, so I listened to them.’ Saul stomped in frustration. ‘Samuel. Please. Grant me pardon and come with me to worship Melek,’ pleaded Saul.

“‘Bring Agag, the king, out to me,’ Samuel directed.

“Now, Agag thought that he was safe from death because he had not yet been killed. He sauntered out to the center of the camp where Samuel waited for him. Before Agag could get over his awe of the huge turquoise dragon, Samuel sliced him to pieces with one swipe of his claws and then turned the body into ashes with the fire from his belly.

“Saul and the others scattered out of the path of the fire that erupted from Samuel’s maw.

“Samuel left for Ramah, while Saul went to his home in Gibeah. Samuel grieved over Saul because he had been rejected as king. He had come to love Saul.”

So what’s the big deal? Isn’t giving gifts to God a good thing? What's wrong with keeping the best spoils from a battle? Isn't it good not to waste invaluable resources? Come back next week to find out.

Click here for Part 3

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