“Place Uriah at the front of the fiercest battle, and then pull back from him so that he will be struck down and die.” (2 Samuel 11:15)
Last week I read Psalm 89:20-37. If you follow the Lectionary, you did too. Maybe you used that Psalm for a sermon or ignored it. Maybe, when you read Psalm 89, it was for the first time.
Or, if you’re in the majority of the world’s card-carrying adults, you don’t know about or don’t care about the Lectionary. Regardless, let me refresh your week-old memory of the Psalms (or share a completely new verse with you):
Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David. (Psalm 89:35)
The “I” used twice in the above verse is the very Holy “I.” Which is to say, depending on your pronoun proclivities, the “I” is God him or her self. And this one verse is representative of last week’s Psalm lesson. Word after word and verse after verse, Psalm 89 depicts the Holy gushing about King David. It’s almost like the Almighty sits on the fifty yard line, waving an oversized We’re #1 foam finger, while David strides, tall and proud, toward the middle of the field. Continue reading →
I Samuel 17 – The 4th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, June 21, 2015
“He then grabbed his staff and chose five smooth stones from the streambed.” (I Samuel 17:40)
Remember mighty King David?
But first, he was merely David.
A good-looking kid, David was the eighth of eight brothers. Which meant he usually was left behind to guard the sheep. Which meant he likely scraped the bottom of the food bowls at mealtime and washed in cold and dirty water when—if—he bathed. Whatever praises his father Jesse muttered to encourage David had probably been used first for the older brothers. How often did Jesse call David by one of his brother’s names? Haven’t parents always done that? How many times had David been insulted by a sarcastic brother? With seven male siblings, one of them would always be in a foul mood. How many times had David been shoved to the ground for something he did, or . . . just because? With seven male siblings, one of them would always be angry enough to launch a punch or a kick.
The eighth son was easily forgotten. Easily ignored.
“The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long are you going to grieve over Saul? I have rejected him as King of Israel.” (I Samuel 16:1)
I wonder, in what became her last days, how much Mom worried about my relationship with Dad.
Sometimes, I detected hints of hurt in her bright eyes.
Every once in a while, her voice seemed tinged with sadness.
On occasions, quietly, she’d add, “You know your father loved you.”
My father, during most of his life, seemed an effusive, outgoing man. Dad could just as easily start a conversation with a stranger in a parking lot as he could talk with friends during the after-church coffee hour. He sold life insurance. He was successful, winning awards and—by all accounts—his professional peers admired him. You don’t accomplish what he did in sales without being friendly, a good listener, and able to say the right thing at the right time. Really, who wants life insurance? Anyone with a growing family or thriving business “should” buy insurance, but who readily volunteers to part with hard-earned pennies for something he or she hopes is never needed!