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Summary: A sermon built around the delinquent shield of King Saul.

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The Perils of An Unanointed Shield

2 Samuel 1:17-27 KJV And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: [18] (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.) [19] The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! [20] Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. [21] Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. [22] From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. [23] Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. [24] Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. [25] How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. [26] I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. [27] How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

NOTE: AT THE READING OF THIS TEXT, THE FOCUS IS VERSE 21. READ THIS ALOUD WITHOUT THE ITALICS THAT WERE INSERTED BY THE TRANSLATORS.

l. INTRODUCTION – TIME HAS A WAY OF TELLING

Yesterday (3/20/04), I found an interesting article in the USA Today weekend edition in the lobby of the Ramada Limited in Mobile. It told a story, in fact on the front page, about a journalist named Jack Kelley who had been employed by USA Today for ten years. He had written 720 stories over the course of a decade. In an extensive investigation of these stories, 100 of them have been found to be full of sweeping and substantial fabrications.

The evidence strongly contradicted Kelley’s published accounts that he spent a night with Egyptian terrorists in 1997; that he met a vigilante Jewish settler named Avi Shapiro in 2001; that he watched a Pakistani student unfold a picture of the Sears tower and say, “This one is mine,” in 2001; that he visited a suspected terrorist crossing point on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in 2002; that he interviewed the daughter of an Iraqi general in 2003; or that he went on a high-speed hunt for Osama bin Laden in 2003.

Significant parts of one of Kelley’s most gripping stories, an eyewitness account of a suicide bombing that helped make him a 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist, are untrue. Kelley told readers he saw the bomber. But the man he described could not have been the bomber.

But the story that got him into this mess was one from 2000. He used a snapshot he took of a Cuban hotel worker to authenticate a story he made up about a woman who died fleeing Cuba by boat. The woman in the photo neither fled by boat nor died, and a USA Today reporter located her this month. If Cuban authorities had learned she was the woman in the picture, she says, she could have lost her job and her chance to emigrate.


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