Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Not to be King

Today's passage:  I Samuel 16:14-23
     I have not had my cup of coffee this morning.  Something about sipping my coffee drink (because I load it up with cream and sugar so my husband says it can hardly classify as coffee-he calls it my foo-foo drink) while I am reading my Bible wakes me up and allows my mind to start working.  I settle down into a chair by the computer, switch on a blank blog screen, read, and start typing.  Today, however, along with no coffee, my computer chooses to be disagreeable.  The cursor won't go where I want it to, when I scroll with my mouse, instead of scrolling the page it is behaving like a zoom lens, increasing and decreasing the fonts on the page. When I navigate to a different page, it keeps opening up a new tab.  I think the evil spirit that settled on Saul in the passage this morning settled on me as well.  You see, I have a very small window of alone time in the mornings.  This alone time changes every day.  My kids, who are usually not out of bed until 6:30 or after, switch it up constantly.  This morning, my oldest woke up before 6am.  The older two will watch something on TV in the morning as I'm finishing up, but my littlest guy will not be appeased until Mommy has tended to his every whim.  All this to say, I'm feeling a little out of sorts.  If I had a David around, I might need him to play me some harp music to send the grumpiness away.  I have my routine, and when it gets disrupted, I have difficulty letting go.  This is a little thing.  I know this, so the Holy Spirit is advising me to forge on without the coffee, accomplish what I can with the temperamental computer, and work until youngest starts calling.  Did I also mention that all of these distractions interfere with my focus, so it is hard to really grasp what God is trying to teach me this morning?  No?  Well, there, I said it.  Some mornings I struggle.  I want to get something from God, I read the passage, but all I end up with are crickets.
     As I'm reading the end of Chapter 16, I am feeling a little ornery.  It's the absence of coffee, I'm sure.  Saul's servants have noticed that Saul hasn't been himself lately (like me this morning) and they want to help him.  They want to help themselves too by getting as far away from him as possible.  They say, "Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp..."  In other words, they would be perfectly willing to search the country for this person, if it will allow them to be a good distance from the king.  I'm guessing that having clay pots, javelins, shields, goblets, thrown at them has been tiring.  They will gladly surrender their target practice duties to any of the other servants.  At least Saul is willing to take their recommendation.  At least he is aware that he is not himself, that he needs some help.
      One of the servants recommends David.  He gives David a glowing review.  I'm not sure how he became acquainted with Jesse's youngest son, but he lists to Saul all of David's fine qualities.  David is good with a harp.  Since they were looking for a harpist, probably a pretty important quality to have.  He is a brave warrior (had the servant seen him kill the lion and bear?  how would he have seen this demonstrated?).  David was "prudent in matters" which I gather to mean he would not be a gossip.  If this young man was going to be before the king day in and day out, they needed someone who was not going to divulge all of Saul's moods to the countryside.  The people still needed to have confidence in their king.  I'm sure the country folk would pressure David into revealing the palace's most unbecoming secrets.  The king would need someone who would not succumb to this pressure. 
David Plays for Saul
Public Domain, Source and Illustrator Unknown
     The servant also says that David is a "comely" person.  I'm not sure why the servant sees the necessity in telling Saul how this young man looks, except that it must have been important to Saul.  Maybe Saul only surrounded himself with good-looking people because he felt that was a reflection on him.  In any case, David is handsome, he is easy on the eyes.  But most importantly, but to Saul maybe the least important, is that "the LORD is with him."  This servant understood the importance of not choosing just any good-looking, secret-keeping, young man.  They needed someone who loved the Lord.  They needed someone who could anticipate the changed mood of the king, who would try to overcome it with God's Spirit and God's music.  Saul has David summoned to court, and he is pleased.  He is more than pleased.  He wishes for David to live at the palace so he could be at his beck and call.  Soon, David will be used for target practice, despite all that he tries to do to help his king.  The servants must be relieved that Saul has someone else to rehang the torn down tapestries, or to parchment the broken window through which another chalice was flung, or to covertly confiscate all the sharp objects in the bedchamber. 
     Can you imagine being David, shepherd boy, reporting to the palace for work?  What ideas must he have had before coming to the palace?  This was Israel's first king, and David was going to get to work for him.  Probably the reality of what Saul was really like was jolting for David.  This was their king?  This is how he behaved?  Like a baby who threw tantrums, surrendering his will and being to evil spirits?  The saying goes, "All that glitters, is not gold".  Never assume that people who look like they have it all together, really have it all together.  Never infer that happiness on the outside is happiness on the inside.
     The king of Israel surrounded by luxury, surrounded with aides, was the most miserable man on the planet.  A carefree shepherd boy, probably at times bullied by his older brothers, given the more undesirable tasks of caring for the sheep, on hot days, on rainy days, with little material gain to show for it, may have been the happiest person.  The difference was where God's Spirit rested.  And it rested on David.  Saul's disobedience cost him God's peace.  This peace, especially in a troubled mind, would have been more valuable to Saul than all of his wealth, and even more than his position.  God was training David how not to be king.  And I think, for the most part, David learns the lessons pretty well.  In fact, I think with David's new position as Saul's armor-bearer, he could use a strong cup of coffee.


No comments:

Post a Comment

What is God doing in your life?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...