FEAR OF WHAT?
Almighty Lord, you give me the day and you will show me the way. Whatever challenges I must face, I know your grace and strength will see me through.
Read 2 SAMUEL 1:1-16
David Hears of Saul’s Death
1 After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. 2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.
3 “Where have you come from?” David asked him.
He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.”
4 “What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”
“The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”
5 Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”
6 “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. 7 When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’
8 “He asked me, ‘Who are you?’
“‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.
9 “Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’
10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”
11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”
“I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.
14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?”
15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of a time when you experienced grief and how you related to it.
No one could claim the Bible is air-brushed or edited to give its readers a simplistic message or make everyone look good. What are we to make of today’s difficult passage of grief and vengeance? Perhaps there’s something here for all of us to benefit from in those times when events, life and even God don’t turn out the way we expect or think they should.
We know from 1 Samuel 31 that Saul wasn’t killed by the Amalekite in today’s passage, no matter how elaborate the yarn he spun for David (vs 6–10). Saul had taken his own life. So why would the Amalekite lie? Very likely, to curry favor with the new king. But David’s heart wasn’t like those of others (see 1 Samuel 13:14). So instead of a self-interested glow of achievement, of having finally arrived, that might have gripped other kings’ hearts (and perhaps ours, too), David was first gripped by sorrow (v 11). This wasn’t a formal showing at a state occasion; David genuinely grieved for Saul and his son Jonathan (v 12). Have you ever considered the practice of fasting to express sorrow, grief or repentance? David was then moved by the fear of God and couldn’t quite believe the Amalekite so glibly broke God’s law (v 14; Psalm 105:15). The resultant execution of judgment was swift and terrible (vs 15,16).
Is there someone you know who is from suffering loss? How can you help? Know what tools are available to you and your community to help in processing grief.
Holy Spirit of God, help me today to think clearly without confusion, to speak strongly without rancor, and to decide courageously for you.
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