Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saul Stirs the People to Fight

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 11

A Messenger from Jabesh's Journal

That evil Ammonite captain, Nahash, camped outside the city Jabesh ready to squash us with his army. I along with other messengers ran to the tribes of Israel to ask for help.

Click here here  to read how this mess started.  

All my life I had trained to run long distances. Today, I let my legs run like a predator. My job: take the message to Saul, the new king of Israel.

I found a place to cross the Jordan river and ran southwest to Gibeah where Saul lived. 

When I arrived the people crowded around me. One brought me something to drink. One man asked. "What happened?" 

The people pressed closer to hear my message. "The evil Nahash has prepared an attack against Jabesh. He said he would accept surrender only if we agreed to let him take out our right eyes. We need help!"

The people just stood their...crying. No one said, "Yes, we'll help. Grab your weapons!" They cried louder the more they talked among themselves. What good did that do? 

A tall man came from a nearby field. He walked behind a heard which he directed toward the road. He turned towards the noise and walked to the crowd. "What's going on? Why are you crying?" I didn't know who he was until the crowd parted and bowed.

A man stepped forward. "This messenger came from Jabesh. He said Nahash and his army are camped outside the city and will attack unless they surrender. If they surrender he will take out everyone's right eye and make them slaves. He has come to ask for help."

Saul's face turned red and he balled his fist. 

Then something unusual happened. Saul's face changed, like the Spirit of God came upon him. He raised his fist and faced me. He didn't seem angry with me. No. His rage seemed against someone else.  

He said, "I know as well as you do that the other tribes won't come to your aid." He huffed. "I am tired of them refusing to help their own brothers. This has got to stop."

Saul took the yoke of an oxen and cut it into pieces. He ordered messengers to come forward. "Each of you take a piece  of this yoke to one territory of Israel along with this message: Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle will have this done to their oxen."

The message seemed to work! Three hundred thirty thousand Israelite soldiers met at Bezek to fight. Saul seemed pleased. "Messenger, return to your city with this word: Tomorrow by the time the sun is hot you will have help."

I couldn't wait to deliver the message. I ran faster than a bird can fly back to my home. The leaders met at once to hear what I had to say. One leader raised his hands when I'd finished and said, "Marvelous news." Another said, "I'm surprised. Clearly the Lord has brought this blessing."

One leader said, "What shall we tell Nahash? We don't want to warn him that an army is coming to our rescue." Another leader smiled with mischief in his eyes. "We should let Nahash think we will surrender tomorrow. He will have his guard down." Another nodded. "Yes, Nahash will be so busy laughing he won't see the army coming." 

The men discussed the issue longer then walked together to the top of the city wall and shouted, "Nahash, tomorrow we will come out to you. You may do with us whatever seems good to you."

Come back next time to see if Saul's army can save them.

1. Where did the messenger from Jabesh take his message?
2. What did the people do when they heard his words?
3. Who came out from the field?
4. What did he say after hearing the message?
5. Did the Israelites listen to him?
6. What message did Saul send back to Jabesh?

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