The end is nigh….for Saul….for Jesus (?)

15 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY : 1 Samuel 26 v. 1 – 28 v. 25; John 19 v. 1 – 27; Psalm 68 v. 21 – 27

1 SAMUEL
David Again Spares Saul’s Life – and so it goes on : the Ziphites tell Saul where David is in hiding, and goes after him with 3,000 men. After sending scouts out to see where Saul is camped, not far from where David is hiding, David goes himself to the camp. Saul is lying asleep as is the whole camp. David’s companion, Abishai says,
‘Today God has given your enemy into your hands…’ and he offers to put his spear through Saul’s head.
Once again, David sees the ‘Lord’s anointed’ before him, and cannot bring himself to bear the responsibility, and guilt, for Saul’s death. God will sort Saul out, once and for all.
They simply take Saul’s spear and water jug and leave – and no-one saw anything for they were sleeping deeply.
David crosses to a safe distance away, and starts a conversation with Abner (Saul’s guard) and then with Saul, telling them that he had visited during their deep sleep and helped himself to Saul’s spear and water jug.
David has shown he values Saul’s life, and questions why Saul is seeking to destroy him. Saul seems repentant – ‘Surely I have acted like a fool and have erred greatly…May you be blessed, my son David; you will do great things and surely triumph.’

Amazing to think of David so close to destroying Saul, once again; clearly we see David’s integrity and honour of both God and the ‘anointed’ one. Of course, David knows that he has been anointed to be next king….and his time is coming closer and closer.

David Among the Philistines – David has learnt not to trust Saul, and seeks refuge by going to Philistine territory with his 600 men, settling in Gath. Saul is told that David is now in Gath, and he stops his search for him. Achish gives David the land of Ziklag for his own (it became territory possessed by the kings of Judah well into the future), and David lives there for more than a year.
David still had his successful sorties, raiding Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites, killing men and women, and ‘taking sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels and clothes’.
He maintains a good relationship with Achish (though he is clearly misleading Achish about who he is attacking – he says he’s attacking Judah etc, but is actually attacking Judah’s enemies), who looks upon David as his servant for ever, because David is so loathed by his own Israelite people.

Saul and the Witch of Endor – Achish summons David and his men to help fight against Israel (mmm). David seems okay with this, and so Achish makes David his bodyguard for life. Battle lines are drawn and Saul and Achish lead their armies to face one another. Saul is afraid when he sees the Philistine army…‘terror filled his heart’. Although Saul seeks direction from God, there is none coming (either through the prophets, the Urim, or by dreams), so he asks to see a medium (ahhhh!!).
Saul disguises himself and goes to see the woman medium at Endor.
The woman reminds Saul that the king (himself) has banished all mediums and spiritists from the land, so it feels like a trap is being set for her. Saul (in disguise) pledges that she won’t be punished for consulting a spirit for him.
Saul asks her to consult the spirit of Samuel. Immediately she sees Samuel and knows that it is Saul, himself, sitting before her, and is clearly upset that she has been deceived. The spirit of Samuel speaks to Saul, who prostrates himself, his face to the ground. Saul tells Samuel of his plight against the Philistines.
Saul hears from Samuel how the Lord has become his enemy
‘The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbours – to David. The Lord will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.’
Saul collapses to the ground, starving and completely out of energy. The word Samuel brings is devastating.
The woman offers Saul food to eat, but he declines. His men also urge him to eat, so he does – the woman preparing something of a feast for him and his men. That evening, Saul and his men leave her.

Saul turning to a medium is a sign of how far he has drifted from God…these are the very people he had banished from the land earlier in his reign. It is interesting to hear Saul say that God has turned away from him, when it is he who has turned so far from God, from the earliest days of him becoming king.


JOHN

Jesus is Sentenced to be Crucified –
Jesus is flogged;
Jesus has a crown of thorns pressed into his scalp;
Jesus is given a purple robe to wear and is mocked;
Jesus is smacked across the face over and over again;
Jesus is presented to the people (as Pilate once again tries to encourage the Jews to lay off him):
‘Behold, the man’
Jesus hears the crowd shout louder and louder:
‘Crucify! Crucify!’

Pilate is gripped with a fear when the hard-liners shout that Jesus must die because of His claim to be God’s Son. He takes Jesus back into the palace to quiz Him further.

Jesus doesn’t answer Pilate’s question about where He’s come from (surely Pilate has heard enough already);
Jesus tells Pilate that the only power he has is that which is given ‘from above’;

Pilate is trying desperately to free Jesus, but the more he tries, the louder the determination of the Jewish leaders that Jesus be crucified. His own allegiance to Caesar is questioned by the Jews if he entertains the thought of freeing Jesus.

Sitting on the Judge’s Seat (Gabbatha), Pilate brings Jesus out again : ‘Here is your king.’
‘Crucify Him’ they shout.
They swear allegiance to Caesar, and not to this ‘king of the Jews’.
Pilate sends Jesus to be crucified…..

The Crucifixion –
Jesus is in the hands of the soldiers;
Jesus carries the weight of His own cross;
Jesus journeys all the way to the Skull (Golgotha);
Jesus is nailed to the cross and lifted high…a criminal either side of Him;
Jesus hangs under a sign (commissioned by Pilate):
‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS’
(although the chief priests challenged Pilate over this wording, Pilate sticks to what he has ordered to be written)
Jesus’ clothes are shared out, by lot, amongst the soldiers…his only possessions divided;
Jesus’ seamless undergarment is ‘won’ by casting lots…fulfilling scripture
Jesus sees His mother, standing nearby, and entrusts her into the care of His beloved disciple (John)
‘Dear woman, here is your son.
Here is your mother’

Deeply touching that Jesus, His life almost ended, cares for His mother and for His beloved disciple, in giving them one another for ongoing care and support – a relationship which would be mutually beneficial. The disciple takes Jesus’ mother into his home.

PSALM
‘Surely God will crush the heads of His enemies…
Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel…’

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