Wednesday, May 13, 2009
1 Samuel 24-25; Luke 2:8-35
1 Samuel 24-25
We continue the twisted tale of Saul's irrational pursuit of David. Providentially, Saul unwittingly presents himself as a fat target to David, to which temptation David responds by cutting off part of Saul's garment. Even that he immediately regrets as an unwarranted assault on the person of the Lord's anointed. In the aftermath, Saul admits that David will be king, but asks only that his own house be preserved. Saul did not live to see David fulfill that promise.
The story of the death of Nabal shows the reader another difficulty that David had to deal with: antagonism from those who were probably not supporters of Saul, but neither were they supporters of David. In those days, armies lived off the land. There were no supply lines from the rear to the front. Everything was at the front. therefore, it was necessary for armies to supply themselves where they were. David's protection of Nabal and his resources was probably not from purely unselfish motives, but Nabal's hard-hearted response was as foolish as his name. It was only the quick action of Abigail that saved, for the short term, the life of Nabal, but the integrity of David as well. It is clear in these stories that even though David and his men were hunted by Saul and the armies of Israel, they did not take out their frustration on the people of Israel. David, though not yet actual king, acts more kingly than Saul.
A story that almost everyone knows by heart. But have you ever stopped to consider the shepherds? These were people who were considered unclean by the Pharisees because of the requirements of their occupation. Yet to them, and to them alone, is the angelic announcement made. I still remember a sermon from more than thirty years ago in which the preacher emphasized this point, taking us on the shepherds trip from the fields into Bethlehem. They were astounded that nobody else had heard what they had heard, nor had seen what they had seen. Hence they tell everyone what they had seen and heard. Likewise, the testimony of Simeon. This old man was told that he would see the Lord's Christ before his death. But how many saw the baby Jesus without any sense of who he was, or who wondered about what was happening with that old man and the couple with the baby.
We tend to assume that everyone knows about Jesus, but they don't. That's why we are called on to bear witness to what we know, what we have seen and heard.