Summary: Saul, Pt. 2
HURRY UP AND WAIT (1 SAMUEL 11)
It’s been said, “Rome is not built in a day.”
When I was a youngster I was in a big hurry to grow up. I was skinny and short. When my brother and I sat in the same car going to school every day, I couldn’t help but compare his size to mine. My brother, who was two years older than me, had thighs like trunks; mine were like sticks. He was a head taller but it didn’t occur to me at that time that he was two and a half years older or had 30 month’s advantage over me. He had the last word on everything. Our arguments would end abruptly each time he issued his usual “Shut up, or else” warning. Fighting him was a death wish. I would only hurt myself. So I often stew inside.
The comparisons ceased when I was in grade five. By that time he was in a different school. Up to grade six, I was still average in height, but when I was 15 the growth spurt began. By the time I was done with secondary/high school I was taller than most Chinese and the tallest in the class, measuring 5 feet 11 inches. My brother’s height, on the other hand, stopped at 5’ 8.” I didn’t notice the height difference. It just occurred to me later one day.
I still couldn’t do anything about my weight then – I was gangly for a long time, but it was a wasted worry: marriage and midlife will do it to you.
New believers or converts do not become strong disciples, firm believers or spiritual giants overnight. They need room to grow. Unknown to us, we have caught a modern disease known as “hurry sickness,” but babies will cry, boys will be boys and teens are not adults. Even adults have lots of room to grow.
After Saul’s public coronation, he returned immediately to Gibeah - back to farming and tending livestock. Business was as usual after the highly publicized coronation. His job was unfashionable, his critics were merciless (1 Sam 10:27) and his supporters were flabbergasted.
In the meantime, the sadistic Ammonites were right on Israel’s doorsteps. Jabesh-gilead was a good city to pick on. It was isolated to the east of the Jordan, just west of Ammon. The men of Jabesh Gilead knew they were no match for the Ammonites but their surrender was not enough for the pushy Ammonites. The offer to serve Nahash was soundly ridiculed and rejected. Nahash pledged to gouge out their eyes (v 2), the same way the Philistines treated Samson’s eyes (Judg 16:21). This was the first “reproach” the Israelites suffered as a nation in the new land. The joint action of “lifting up voices and weeping” (v 4 – in Hebrew) was an act of desperation exclusively associated with the threat of extinction (Judg 21:2).
How do we develop spiritual resolve, fortitude and courage when enemies threaten and fears surface? What must we be prepared to do in the meantime?
Be Patient With Yourself
11:1 Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.” 4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. 5 Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, “What is wrong with the people? Why are they weeping?” Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said. (1 Sam 11:1-5)