Summary: Saul, Pt. 2


It’s been said, “Rome is not built in a day.”

When I was a youngster I was in a 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 a 30-month’s advantage over me. He had the last word on everything. Our arguments would end abruptly when 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 5. By that time he was in a different school. Up to grade six, I was still slightly above average in height, but when I was fifteen the growth spurt began. By the time I was done with 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” or 5’ 9”. 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 event of his selection. His job was unfashionable, his critics were merciless (1 Sam 10:27), and his supporters were dumbfounded.

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, 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 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 can we see it happen?

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.

Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty, the girl with the big nose and freckles on her face who likes to tease Charlie Brown by asking if he loves her, were sitting underneath a tree. They were lying on the grass with their heads leaning against a tree and their clasped hands resting on their stomach, staring in opposing directions when Peppermint Patty admitted, “I’m scared, Chuck. What if I grow up, and no one ever loves me? We people with big noses are very insecure. Do you think I have a big nose, Chuck? Do you think someone will love me someday?” Charlie Brown said without much thought, “Sure.”

Peppermint Patty, not exactly thrilled by the response, stood up and exclaimed, “Sure?! “Sure,” what? “Sure” I have a big nose, or “sure” someone will love me someday?” Charlie Brown turned his body slightly to listen to her complain but went back to lying on the ground and leaning his head against the tree, and said, “Maybe someday the rest of your face will catch up with your nose, and then someone will love you.”

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