Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Good morning sisters and brothers,
We read one story yesterday about Saul's fall from grace. Today we get a second story. This whole idea of total destruction of an enemy by God's command is extremely troubling. The idea is that in certain settings every person, animal and piece of property had to be destroyed. It was said to be "devoted to the Lord" and the way it was devoted was through destruction. Ideas like this in the Bible are dangerous and hard to deal with constructively. For me it helps to remember that these passages were written much later than the events they describe, in a time when Israel was in danger because they were seduced by the gods and ways of life of their neighbors. Passages like this emphasize the call to be different from the world around them. There is not any archeological evidence that suggests that Israel ever actually destroyed enemies like this, so it's likely that the idea came later, in response to new threats.

Apart from the disturbing command, the thing to take away from the story is that Saul and his soldiers didn't obey God's command; instead, they kept the valuable things that their enemies had. Selfishness took the people away from following what God had commanded.

blessings as you follow God today,


1 Samuel 15:1-11
Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. 3Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

4So Saul summoned the people, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers, and ten thousand soldiers of Judah. 5Saul came to the city of the Amalekites and lay in wait in the valley. 6Saul said to the Kenites, “Go! Leave! Withdraw from among the Amalekites, or I will destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites. 7Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt.

8He took King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the cattle and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was valuable, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed. 10The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11“I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me, and has not carried out my commands.” Samuel was angry; and he cried out to the Lord all night.

No comments:

Post a Comment