Posts Tagged ‘King Saul’

1 Samuel 25: The Inverted Kingdom – Part VI

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ernst Josephson: David and Saul

Ernst Josephson: David and Saul

Today and tomorrow we remember this Favorite from October of 2007 as we explore how the story of David, Saul, Nabal and Abigail presage the coming of Christ’s inverted kingdom.

Reading closely, we see that Saul fears David because he sees how closely David follows God. This obedience threatens King Saul and even stirs envy. He knows that despite the favor God has shown him, he struggles to obey.

For his part, David refuses to kill Saul, even when he has been presented with opportunities to do so. David understands that God has anointed both men as present and future king. He also understands that God’s plan is the ultimate plan and, unlike Saul, David does not succumb to the sin of “pride of self”. David understands that his authority comes from God, not from his own cleverness, good works or talent.

This interplay infuriates Saul who attacks David and then ostracizes him.  In the ensuing battles, David repeatedly spares Saul’s life – which angers Saul even further.  We might see these same dynamics playing out in our own lives. If so, let us see where we stand and who we are. The loyal and vulnerable David or the troubled, envious Saul?

Joseph Schonmann: David and Abigail

Joseph Schonmann: David and Abigail

In today’s story, we read about Abigail, an intelligent, reverent, patient woman, married to an alcoholic. She does not succumb to the twisted world of co-dependence and she understands that she is powerless in the face of certain “givens” of ancient times. She has little influence in the affairs of her husband; yet she lives her invisible life in a visible way. She must take sustenance from her confidence in God, act in a way that does not enrage an already angry master, and she must address injustice as best she can. Throughout this ordeal, we see that she continues to rely on God.

We also see the loyalty of Abigail’s servants.  Knowing of the struggle between Saul and David, they realize that their entire household is naked against the band of David’s rebels. They are also keenly aware that their master is wealthy but a drunkard; and that his churlishness has placed them in a dangerous situation.  They go to Abigail who takes action in a calm, quiet and respectful manner.  She wins their safety, and then waits until the morning when her husband is sober to let him know what she has done . . . that she has saved them.  The hand of God acts to seal their safety as we see the results of Nabal’s courage.

As we reflect on these ancient tales and see the lessons of inversion – where the strong are weak and the weak are strong – and we anticipate their unfolding in the New Testament story of Jesus of Nazareth.

Tomorrow, the inversion that Jesus teaches.

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1 Samuel 13The Heat of Self-Knowledge – Part II

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

King Saul

King Saul

The fire of battle is a familiar setting for scripture stories and for our own lives as well. Whether the skirmishes are physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, blood of one kind or another is constantly spilled.  Misery seems to be a constant human companion and because of this we may begin to think that God is not present as we suffer.  But in this thinking we will not be correct, for God is always present, even when circumstances are bleakest.

We generally consider the fires of life to be destructive but today’s Gospel brings us another perspective (Luke 12:49-53).  Jesus says: I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!  What are to make these words uttered by the Lamb of God who constantly speaks of unity and peace?  What can he possibly mean when he asks: Do you think I have come to establish peace on earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.  What Jesus is speaking of here is the fact that when we are acting in the Gospel, when we are true disciples of Christ, there will be friction and even conflagration.  There will be destruction; yet this destruction will be an opportunity for new building.

Catherine of Siena has this insight to today’s Gospel when she describes how we become alight with the fire of self-knowledge, the fire of Christ: The soul’s being united with him and transformed into him is like fire consuming the dampness in logs.  Once the logs are heated through and through, the fire burns and changes them into itself, giving them its own color and warmth and power.  It is just so with the Creator . . . We begin to experience the heat of self-knowledge- which consumes all the dampness of our selfish love for ourselves.  As the heat increases, we throw ourselves with blazing desire into God’s measureless goodness, which we discover within our very selves.  (Cameron 312)

What we see in yesterday’s and today’s Noontime reading is Saul allowing the dampness to consume him rather that the fire of the heat of self-knowledge.  Many of us back away from self-examination because we do not want to face the demon within. What Christ tells us, and what Catherine of Sienna clarifies for us, is that without Christ’s fire of self-knowledge we too, are lost because it is this very conflagration that purifies and binds.  It is this fire that transforms.  It is the blaze which makes us new again.

Tomorrow, fire in the desert. 

For more on King Saul, click on the image above or visit: http://www.bible-people.info/Saul.htm

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 22.10 (2009): 312. Print.


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