Monday, 14 June 2010

Death Dealing in 1 and 2 Samuel and Paul's Fast Track Discipleship

Home again from General Synod and glad to be so.

Dealing Death

Catching up on my St James Devotional Guide reading; 1 Sam 31 and 2 Sam 1 &amp 2. So much death.

Saul, Jonathan and many others by name; many more who are not named. Saul falling on his own sword to avoid mistreatment by the Philistines. How did that go? A panicked, tearful thing? Or the act of a soldier who, I guess, would have been taught how do such a thing most effectively, should the circumstance arise. It sounds rather matter-of-fact because of the way he asked his armour bearer to thrust him through. And who recorded it?

There was the “competition” in which twenty four young men, twelve each from Abner and Joab, who “each caught his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side, so they fell down together.” (2 Sam 2.16). For sport.

Then there was Asahel who “was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle, ” (2 Sam 2.18) and who wouldn’t give up on his pursuit of the older, more experienced Abner who, it sounds like, simply stopped short and let the swifter Asahel run on to the butt of his spear so hard that it came out his back so he fell there and died.

War was up close and personal then. More honest, it seems to me. It sounds horrible, but death was more a part of day to day life then. You killed what you ate with your own hands, for one thing. Men, and now women, sitting in safety in air conditioned rooms in the United States dealing long distance death by drone and video game technology to people on the other side of the world is worse, methinks.

I read somewhere that although war with sword and spear seems horrendously bloody, non-fatal wounds were cleaner and more likely to heal than wounds dealt by firearms when they came on the scene. Lead musket balls delivered from a “safer” distance tended to take bits of your uniform into the wound and the resulting infection was more likely to kill you wherever you were hit.

And as I write it continues. Nameless (to us) people are being killed in Kyrgyzstan. It seems so easily done. We are blessed to live our lives out in peace.

Paul: Down to Disciples

And speaking of being struck to the ground: Paul was on his face before Jesus in Acts 9.4, filled with the Holy Spirit by verse 17 (Acts 9.17) and had disciples by verse 25 (Acts 9.25)! I’m just saying…