A TIME TO GRIEVE
Gracious Lord Jesus, I affirm you today as my Lord and Savior. I bless your holy name.
Read 2 SAMUEL 1:17-27
David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan
17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):
19 “A gazelle[a] lies slain on your heights, Israel.
How the mighty have fallen!
20 “Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.
21 “Mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
may no showers fall on your terraced fields.[b]
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
22 “From the blood of the slain,
from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
23 Saul and Jonathan—
in life they were loved and admired,
and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
24 “Daughters of Israel,
weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.
25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.
27 “How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished!”
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.
Look for God’s ways, but also seek to see where you have wandered from them. Where you have sought your will over God’s, today, bow down for God’s forgiveness.
The elimination of the army and the death of Saul were a tragedy for Israel.1 This was a house divided, though it had formerly stood united before God, and it now faced the inevitable consequences. Israel’s glory lies slain on the heights – in full view of its enemies. The mighty have fallen (v 27) – they were brave Israelites (the bow and sword did not neglect their duty, v 22), in spite of their shortcomings. Many in Israel may have questioned David’s grief over Saul’s demise, but David’s elegy honors both the anointed Saul and Jonathan, whom he dearly loved. Later, David himself would find the temptations of kingship difficult to resist!
Today, we are called to be Jesus’ ambassadors, inevitably facing times of difficulty and frustration, yet commanded to love and pray for those who persecute us.2 At times, we will feel alone or weakened, but God doesn’t call us alone: rather, within a community, to walk in a Christlike way together. He calls and anoints us for his purposes, even when we don’t understand. Initially, Saul the prophet had, like David, sought after God’s heart. Sadly, his flesh consumed him, yet David and Jonathan had continued to pursue God’s battle to restore unity. We all need to respect those who may not hold our opinions, yet still follow the Lord – this brings unity to his body.
The song in these verses calls for respectful honor: let the mountains mourn, let the earth and its people weep, for these men of God are dead. David’s heartache is real (v 26), as must God’s be. He chose Saul, he has chosen David, but ultimately, he can anoint whosoever he chooses, for it is not victory over lands or wealth he desires, but peace and unity.
Saul and the Amalekite desired self-elevation. In David and Jonathan, we see a difference: love, one-mindedness, and loyalty for each other and God. Who are we like?
Dear Lord, please help me to be prepared to sacrifice everything for you if I have to walk a road of sorrow. Grant me the assurance that you will provide.
1 M Evans, NIBC 1 & 2 Samuel, Hendrickson, 2000, p142 2 Matt 5:12,44
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