Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Battle Belonged to the Lord

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 11

A Messenger's Report

By the time I arrived back at Jabesh my strength had left me. I had run a long distance with Saul's message.

The elders of the city gathered around me to hear my report but I couldn't speak. "Get him some water." One commanded.

I drank the water and felt much better. Here is my report: "I spoke with Saul, the man chosen king of Israel. He mumbled something about the brothers never helping one another. His face turned red and he balled his fist. He chopped up the yoke of an oxen and sent it to each Israelite territory with a message to help with this battle or their oxen would be treated the same way."

The elders raised their eyebrows. "They will come?"

Never had I been so happy to deliver a message. I continued: "Not only will they come but three hundred thousand soldiers did. I saw them at the meeting place Saul arranged."

"Three hundred thousand? Really?" The elders laughed and patted each other on the backs. "We're saved! Our brothers will come help us fight after all." They stood and danced around the room, praising God for His help.

When the dance stopped they sat again. One leader stroked his beard and said, "What shall we tell that evil commander, Nahash who sits outside our gate?"

Another answered, "I say--I say we tell him this, 'Tomorrow we will come and surrender to you. You may do to us whatever seems good to you. By saying this, he will not prepare for battle."

The elders looked at each other, smiled, then broke into a loud, long laughter. "Yes. We should tell him those words. Messenger, go proclaim our message to Nahash."

We went to the top of the city wall. I called down to Nahash, who stood like am arrogant man, ready to collect his prize. "Nahash, tomorrow we will come and surrender to you. At that time you may do to us whatever seems good to you."

Nahash doubled over with laughter. He clapped his hands and pushed them high up in the air. "How wise of you to surrender. You have saved your city by becoming my servants." He turned back to his men and led a chant. "The people of Jabesh are ours! The people of Jabesh are ours!"

We, of course were not afraid. We had a secret. Nahash would soon pay for his cruelties.

The next morning, even before the sun rose, our watchmen reported three units approaching the area from the woods.. Nahash didn't know to watch for them. Hah. He sat like a fool in his chair, waiting for us to parade outside the city and turn our lives over to become his slaves. Won't he be surprised.

The thirty thousand man army marched forward. The earth rumbled as they drew closer. Nahash stood and looked to the fields around the city. His eyes went wide and he screamed, "Arm yourselves." 

But they weren't ready. Saul led the army, dedicated by Samuel to the Lord. They pushed into Nahash's camp wielding their swords. Our army joined them. We fought those Ammorites through the heat of the day. We didn't mind at all. 

The Lord had rescued us. Our brothers had rescued us. 

The Lord won the battle for us!

The Israelite army echoed cheers again and again to Saul. They sang and danced their praises to God. One man shouted, "Bring the men here who said Saul  should not reign over us. We will kill them."

Saul held up his hands and shouted. "No. No one will be put to death  today. For the Lord has brought this salvation for Israel."

Samuel nodded. "Yes. This is true. Come now, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom."

We gathered in Gilgal to offer sacrifices in praise to God for saving us. We also made Saul our  king before the Lord.

1. What message did the messenger bring to the elders of Israel?
2. What did they tell Nahash?
3. Who all came to their rescue?
4. What did Samuel do?
5. Who won the battle?
6. What did the people do after the battle?

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