Monday, June 20, 2011

1 Samuel 11:1-8

1 Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.”

2 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.”

3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.”

4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. 5 Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, “What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?” Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.

6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came on him in power, and he burned with anger. 7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they turned out with one accord. 8 When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand.

Questions to consider:
  • What condition does Jabesh have for the creation of a treaty?
  • What do you think of this condition?
  • What do the people think of the condition?
  • How does Saul react?
  • What do the people do in response to Saul's challenge?
Possibilities for prayer:

We have seen Saul exhibit many characteristics as we've read more about him in this book. Here we see the characteristic of leadership. He is not pleased with the ultimatum that Jabesh proposes (and let's be honest--who would be?), and we read that "the Spirit of God came on him him in power." But it doesn't just stop there; Saul does not just become angry and storm around frustrated. Instead, he challenges the people to respond to this attempt at making a mockery of the people.

I think that it's important to note here that everything that Saul does seems to come out of inspiration for God, and the people's responses come out of "the terror of the Lord." But when we're willing and able to follow God's direction, we can be great leaders. Today, let's ask that we would be willing and able to follow God's lead, as Saul did, and that we would be able to become great leaders as well.