"Snippets" from David
 

For the Good of All

In our modern American society, the good of the individual has triumphed over the good of the nation or society. One of the few endeavors wherein the individual is sacrificed for the interests of the nation or society is the military. Otherwise, it is common to pursue the individualís rights even if the nation or society suffers. In the ancient world, the well being of the nation always took precedent over a personís well being.

The situation in King Saulís Israel was disastrous and demoralizing. The king and his son were dead, killed in battle with Israelís mortal enemy. Israelís army was slaughtered. Israelite people abandoned their cities to the Philistines and fled. The weapons of the king and his sons were taken for display in Philistine territory. The weapons were finally placed in the Philistine godsí temples. The Israelite military loss was declared to be proof that the Philistine gods were superior to Israelís God.

As the final insult to Israelites, the decaying (and headless) bodies of Saul and his sons were nailed to the walls of Beth-shan.

Looking back, we know the defeat of the Israelite army and Saulís death had nothing to do with the superiority of the Philistine gods. We know it was the consequence of Saulís evil acts and rebellion against God. However, to the Israelites who lived through the loss, it was simply the horrible consequences of losing. Saying they were devastated and demoralized is putting it mildly.

How do people recover any sense of self-esteem as a nation after experiencing such a horrendous loss? How do they keep from fading from history? How can any hope of future reality continue in the face of such decisive defeat? How can a people rise above such horrific suffering?

Brave men walked all night to rescue the dead, decaying bodies of Saul and his sons. They took the headless bodies to Jabesh where they cremated the flesh, buried the bones, and fasted seven days.

When David and his men heard the news, he and his men mourned (2 Samuel l:11-12). Though King Saul made their existence miserable, they wished no harm to him. They surely understood what his defeat and death by the Philistines meant to Israel!

David even composed a lament for Saul and Jonathan which was taught to the sons of Judah. It was called the "song of the bow" and was recorded in the book of Jashar.

In answer to the above questions, consider a three part answer:

  1. First, there must be brave persons who realize there is more to be considered than personal safety.
  2. Second, those brave people must expose themselves to risk.
  3. Third, the well being of the whole must triumph over the temptation of survivors to taunt the defeatedósome consequences make past personal problems insignificant.

There is much to be learned from the past. Past primitive times do have wisdom to give the modern age of technology. Even when the brave might be seen as stupid by many, in their bravery they take necessary risks. As hurtful as fighting within may be, there is never reason to rejoice when an evil person falls, and his or her fall hurts everyone.

Dare to be brave in righteousness. Let your bravery in Christ take necessary risks. Never taunt the fall of anyone.

24 April, 2007
David Chadwell


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