Friday: We are in this together.
2009-06-30 by Safiyah Fosua

I think I just answered one of my questions from yesterday. Perhaps it is not all about us.  By this I mean, perhaps, in our culture of individualism we have been duped into thinking that success is entirely in our hands.  This line of thought leads us to think that it was up to David to hold on tight, to weather the storm of criticism alone, to stand doggedly in the middle of the stream – well you get the picture!  Sure enough, the call did come to David, but the fulfillment of God’s dream took the efforts of an entire village.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I am not sure that I can indict the nation of Israel for not going with David instead of Saul’s son; they had too much precedence in the models of monarchy of the neighboring peoples.  They went for the familiar and it took a lot of time and a lot of blood for them to come to the conclusion that God had a better way.  But, along the way, if we look carefully, we see signs that God continued to be at work in spite of their dullness.     

Without the support of the tribe of Judah, would David have been able to hold onto the knowledge that he had been anointed as king by the very reputable prophet Samuel?  Who hasn’t seen someone deny what they knew and had experienced as truth in the confusing environment of persecution?

Without the obedience and risk-taking of the prophet Samuel, there would have been no anointing.  I see Samuel’s anointing as a key part of David’s self-awareness.

Without the doubts and questions of good people who had been loyal to Saul’s sons, how could the tide of public opinion been turned to examine David as a serious candidate for kingship?

Without the conference that brought the elders of the 12 tribes to consensus, there could have been no request – and the list goes on.

We are all in this together.  One individual among us may receive a guiding vision of God’s direction but it takes all of us to successfully answer that call.  So, now, does the call come to an individual or to the community of the faithful or to both?





Questions for further exploration (2 Samuel 5)
2009-06-30 by Safiyah Fosua

 
  1. Is it possible to be so certain that you are called to do a thing that you are willing to be an outcast for the sake of that calling for an indefinite period of time?
  2. Am I certain enough about anything in my life to be willing to expose myself to criticism or ridicule or even death?  Do I believe anything strongly enough to stand in front of a tank like Tank Man? http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/behind-the-scenes-tank-man-of-tiananmen/   Or to swoop a helicopter into the line of fire like Hugh Thompson http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5133444.  Or, to die protesting in the streets like Neda Soltani http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/22/neda-soltani-death-iran?
  3. Would (we) I have been willing to “take the heat” or sit in an uncomfortable position for the seven years that David reigned in Hebron or am I (are we) more likely to stay within the boundaries of the acceptable and the predictable?
  4. What is needed to be able to weather the storm that rises from an unpopular decision?

Safiyah Fosua





Thursday: Check Your Ego at the Door
2009-06-30 by Safiyah Fosua

When Quincy Jones produced the fund-raising hit “We Are the World” with a choir of recording superstars, it is reported that he told them:  “Check your ego at the door!”  I remembered this incident when I read in the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary today that the elders of Israel approached David and asked him to be their king AFTER all of Saul’s sons were dead.  So, I did a quick search and found that Saul and three of his sons died in battle (1 Samuel 31:2).  His remaining son was Ishbaal (sometimes called Eshbaal or Ishbosheth) who failed miserably and was killed in his sleep by two of his captains (see JewishEncyclopedia.com http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?letter=I&artid=276 )

 

It was only after the ALL the legitimate heirs were gone that they appealed to David.  The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, Volume 2 describes a delegation of groveling desperate people finally coming to David hoping to persuade him to be their king.  I am not sure that my ego could have stood it! -- Safiyah Fosua

 



Wednesday: The Other Readings
2009-06-30 by Safiyah Fosua

I seem to be stuck on the readings for the Old Testament.  I have written preaching helps for the gospel and the epistle readings for the GBOD worship web site http://www.gbod.org/worship/default.asp?act=reader&item_id=47706&loc_id=733,32,52

These and other weekly sermon helps are available each week (at no charge) and may be accessed from www.gbod.org\worship.





Tuesday: "It Ain't Necessarily So!"
2009-06-29 by Safiyah Fosua

When I work on a sermon, I often spend time looking at the text on the printed page waiting for oddities, seeming inconsistencies or repetitions to jump off the page at me. I am still pausing with the first five verses of 2 Samuel 5. Today, I am struggling with the notion that to some people it may have looked like David started his rule as an oddball, an outcast, or even a pretender to the throne.

It was improbable that the nation of Israel, in its dulled spiritual state, would intuit or discern that God was calling them to make a break in the normal ways that kings were succeeded. It would have been natural to think that the monarchy would continue with Saul's surviving heir. Plus, how many people had heard of the secret anointing of Jesse’s youngest boy? It took seven, long, bloody years for the leadership of Israel to concede that having the son of Saul lead them was not working. It took seven years for the elders of Israel to reach consensus over David’s leadership.

In 2 Samuel 5, we are reminded that most of the time, most of us are often not aware of what God is doing in our own lives and certainly not in someone else’s life.

This passage is an invitation to feel the pain of the unsung. Even when we are certain that we have heard from God, there is no guarantee that other people of faith will get the memo. Think of trembling young ministers struggling to have recalcitrant boards of ministry acknowledge that they indeed heard a call to ministry. Or the overly optimistic newly ordained who become crestfallen when they realize that they will not be taken seriously at their first ministry assignment. I see both idealists and reluctant prophets weary from swimming against the tide. Just what needs to happen before we are finally positioned to do what we are called to do for God?

Blessings,

Safiyah Fosua





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