September 11, 2015
1 Samuel 11
But Nahash the Ammonite replied, "I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel. 1 Samuel 11:2
LET IT GLOW
Our next door neighbors, when I was growing up, were an elderly couple, Arthur and Suzanna. She had long white hair down to her waist (put up in a bun) and he was missing a right eye. Got the picture? (I never did find out what caused him to loose the eye.) Anyway, during the summer I would walk up the road and spend some time visiting them. She and I would sit under the tree in their front yard in a yellow metal glider. Are you with me? It was so sweet to here some of their life story. Sadly, the old house is still there, but in very run down condition. I enjoy doing my walking exercise by passing there and recalling such fond childhood memories.
With all that said, there was a threat made upon the people of an Israelite city-cut out their right eyes. Read on for details.
And they all went home after the inauguration of Saul as Israel's new king. In verse 26 of the previous chapter, I skipped over the fact that a band of men went with him, those whose hearts God had touched. (Saul went to Gibeah.)
The touching of their hearts does not refer to spiritual revival, but to courage and strength which came from God and enabled Saul and his army to accomplish God's will in the deliverance of His people. (Liberty Bible Commentary)
Who do we find our self hanging around? Do we run with those of courage and strength given from the Lord?
LET IT GROW
Now, with that said, on to chapter 11. We don't know how much time passed before Nahash of the Ammonites threatened the Israeli city of Jabesh-gilead. His army besieged it, refusing to accept the Hebrews' surrender except under the gory condition stated in verse 2.
Nahash means snake. He was the king of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot who lived east of the Jordan River. This barbarous mutilation (gouge out right eye) was a common punishment of usurpers in the ancient Near East which would disable the warriors' depth perception and peripheral vision, rendering them useless in battle. (MacArthur)
I think we get the picture of this ruthless guy. Can you hear the fear in their voices as the men of Jabesh offered to make a covenant and offered to serve the Ammonites?
Well, the elders of the city asked for 7 days to consider the matter. Actually, they were seeking a deliverer for their city. How strange that these heathens would agree to wait. One of those things I am not sure about why they happened, yet it was for the Hebrews' advantage. God's providence, I'd say.
Their city of Jabesh Gilead was located about 22 miles south of the Sea of Gililee, in the tribal territory of Manasseh. Saul's home of Gibeah was 3 miles north of Jerusalem. Messengers were sent to Saul, their human savior. Saul was out in the field farming when these men arrived. When the events were told, all the people lifted up their voices and cried. When Saul heard the crying, he had to investigate, and learned of the situation.
Listen to what happened as Saul reacted to what he heard:
- The Spirit of God came upon Saul in power.
- Saul burned with anger (divine indignation).
- He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel.
- The message illustrated was that is what would be done to anyone who did not follow Saul and Samuel. (They got the message of desperation.)
- It worked, for 330,000 united men from Bezek and Judah responded.
- The reassuring reply to the Jabesh Gilead men was: By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be delivered.
- The next day Saul separated his army into 3 divisions. During the early morning hours, Israel slaughtered the Ammonites until the heat of the day as they made a surprised attack on the Ammonite camp. Even the survivors were scattered so they were not together by twos.
How do we react when our brothers and sisters need our help? Are we too busy, too this or that to help? Or do we go help?
LET IT GO
When someone needs help, go help.
Trust God for victories.
Don't let the enemy intimidate me.