SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter begins with the appearance of a ruler named Nahash. Nahash was mentioned at the end of the previous chapter as an oppressive leader who brutalized groups of God's people.
- Many of the people from those groups fled to an area named Jabesh Gilead. In today's reading, Nahash is trying to attack Jabesh Gilead.
- The people of Jabesh Gilead plead with Nahash to cut them a deal of some sort. Nahash agrees to give the leaders of Jabesh seven days before he attacks them and gouges out the right eye of every person he can find.
- Word of this threat gets to Saul. Saul is enraged by this news and quickly amasses an army to ward off Nahash and his people. Nahash has no idea this makeshift militia has been assembled, so the people of Jabesh trick him into thinking they are going to surrender. Instead, on the "day of surrender," Jabesh's group of fighters quickly overpowers Nahash's forces.
- Saul, whose ability to lead as king was doubted by many, becomes a celebrated hero. In the previous chapter, many were claiming he wasn't fit for the role. In today's reading, people become so supportive of Saul that they call for the death of anyone who doubts him.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- If Saul had listened to the people around him instead of God, he might have stepped down from his position and missed out on the opportunity to successfully defend God's people.Regardless of our opposition, we need to remain faithful to the life God calls us to live.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Where in your life are you letting the voice of other people overwhelm the voice of God?
- Maybe you know God wants you to end a relationship, but you haven't because of what people tell you. Or maybe you know God wants you to start a relationship, but you haven't because of what people tell you.
- Is there a coworker or friend you know you need to talk to about God (or invite to church), but haven't because you're worried about what people might think?
- Commit today to pursue what God wants you to pursue regardless of what other people think, and in the coming week ask God to help you make that pursuit a reality and a priority.