February 21, 2011
Dear reader, it’s been a while. Have you missed me? Well, okay, I suppose 6 days isn’t really that long, but since this was originally a daily blog it feels like an awfully long time to me.
I’ve been very tired recently and am determined not to make blogging another stick to beat myself with, so I gave myself a little break. It may also have been to do with the incredibly low level of inspiration I’ve got from 1 Samuel 11-15, in which we learn about the misguided as short-lived reign of Israel’s first king; Saul. The dominant thought that arises while reading this rip-roaring war-fest is ‘seriously, this guy?’.
God anoints Israel’s first king and, well, he’s not very good! Perhaps this is because God didn’t want Israel to have a king. As I wrote in my last post on this book, it’s a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’. But then we’re used to flawed protagonists in the Bible, aren’t we? I mean apart Joseph, Daniel, Mary and Ruth I can’t think of many irreproachable characters, can you? (yes, Jesus too, obviously!).
The bit that really gets me, then, is not any of Saul’s rashness, but what appear’s to be God’s! In Chapter 15 Samuel tells Saul that the Lord has ordered him:
Now 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.
So what does Saul do? He kills everyone, adults and children alike, but spares the King takes the good cattle for his troops and to sacrifice to God. And for this heinous crime he’s told that that’s the end of his anointed kingship.
Any one else find it difficult to believe that God ordered the killing of entire people? I mean, as the kids say, WTF? (excuse my implied language).
And I’m afraid I don’t have a snappy wrap-up or turn-around. I feel I need to read more about these stories to understand them better but as it stands I find this section of the Bible hard to get fired up about, at least fired up in a good way. But I needed to write something, just to get back on the bloggin wagon, I knew it wouldn’t be pretty, but here it is.
I wanted to be honest about that with you guys, because this is a blog about experience, not insight. And right now I’m finding it hard, perhaps you find some of the Bible hard too; that’s okay. But it that could all change tomorrow. Bring on the psalms.