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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Obedience (01/31/05)

TITLE: THE RETELLING
By Faithaline Stanislaus
02/06/05


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Maybe it was the way things happened so fast that caused all my success to go to my head. One minute I’m trekking across the countryside in search of my dad’s lost donkeys, the next I’m in the presence of Sam the prophet, who tells me I’m to be a prince. Next thing I know, Sam is declaring me king in front of all my countrymen.

Well as you might guess, there are certain perks to being king, and I had it pretty well for a while, until we came up with this great strategy and launched an attacked against our enemy. We did some major damage and were feeling really good about that, until they sent in re-enforcements. Before we knew it, we were seriously outnumbered. I remember that time all too well. The sun beat down mercilessly on us in the hill country. Perspiration poured down my face, and I knew the sweat was more a result of my fear than a consequence of the heat. We were in a tight situation and I was in a panic. To make matters worse, my men were beginning to skip out on me.

Sam had said he would meet me here; that I was to wait for him seven days; And it had been seven days—well—almost, but there was no sign of him. What was I to do? He’d said he would offer the burnt offering—only he was allowed to. He would then inquire of God, he would ask for his help. Well I needed God’s help, and I needed it now and Sam was a no show. Besides, my loss of control over my men was making me look bad, and who wants to look bad? So I asked my men to bring the burnt offering to me, and I offered it. Big mistake. Wouldn’t you know it—just as I finished offering the burnt offering, Sam showed up. His gray hair was blowing about wildly in the wind and his eyes were set ablaze with anger. “What have you done?” his voice boomed.

“The people were running out on me,” I replied in a rushed voice. Then I added with an accusatory tone, “And you weren’t here.”

Ignoring my excuses, he spoke words that cut through my heart: “The Lord would have established your kingdom forever—but now, your kingdom will not last. The Lord has chosen someone else.” I didn’t know at the time that he referred to that psalm-singing usurper.

I was devastated. However God was gracious to us and our enemies turned on each other and in short—we won.

You would think that I would have learnt my lesson by then, but no—I had to have my own way once again. This time we had an order from God to attack some other enemies (yeah, we had plenty of those), and his order was to destroy everyone and everything. But I figured: why destroy their king, why not keep him as a trophy of our victory, of which yours truly played a major part, I might add. And then to destroy all that good livestock? No way. These plump sheep, for example, would make a great addition to our assets. Besides, it would surely be wrong to waste all this good stuff. So we decided to keep the best of the livestock.

Then Sam came to me. You know the drill—hair flying, eyes blazing. I tried to ward off his reprimand. “I did it for the Lord!” I blurted. “We weren’t going to keep this for ourselves, we were going to sacrifice the animals to the Lord.”

But Sam wasn’t buying any of that. “Does God find more pleasure in burnt offerings than in obeying him?” he asked. “To obey is better than sacrifice.”

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. And here I am, mixed up in yet another battle, my men are once again turning tail and running from the enemy, and I’ve heard reports that my sons have been cut down. I’ve lost my children, I’ve lost my kingdom to that harp-playing sheep boy, and I’m probably going to lose my life in this battle. As you may have guessed, I’m pretty bitter about it all, but deep down, I know this is all my fault. The bottom line is: I should have obeyed God. I’m reaping the reward of disobedience. What a bummer.


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Suzanne R02/07/05
"That psalm-singing usurper" - what lovely alliteration. And "you know the drill - hair flying, eyes blazing" - a nice touch! I wonder whether Saul really did think back at his death in battle on that earlier victory after which he made the sacrifice and was cursed - I'd never thought about that. Very interesting! Thanks.