A friend emailed me this morning, distraught that he’d been unfriended on Facebook because of some comments he’d made defending Christianity. I didn’t find his remarks all that offensive—unfriending seems a rather extreme reaction!
Then there was this week’s news that North Korea has banned the import of any products with shapes or logos resembling a cross. It’s not just religious articles or symbols—the ban includes men’s neckties and women’s hair pins!
At first glance, these two events seem to have little in common. A closer look suggests that the same emotion underlies both—fear. Let me explain.
As we saw last week, Saul was a fearful man. He was afraid of his enemies. He was afraid of his friends. He was even afraid of being king. Sadly, the one fear he lacked was a fear of God.
When we left Saul, he was in bad shape. His fears had led him to disobey God. As a result, God had rejected him as king over Israel. Now let’s pick up the story in 1 Samuel 16. When Samuel goes to anoint David as Saul’s successor, we’re told at “the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” At the same time, “the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul.” As far as heaven was concerned, David was king and Saul was not. However, it would take years for this truth to work itself out on Earth. In the meantime, Saul manages to go from bad to worse. Reading the next few chapters, I tried to feel sorry for the guy, but what I really wanted was to whap him upside the head!