David stopped when he crested the hill. His view of Ramah blurred from the tears.
The men behind him stopped.
Joab waited a minute before he came alongside David. “You two shared something the rest of us can only dream about. What’s it like to have the LORD’s Spirit alive in you?”
David wiped his eyes with his sleeve. “It’s the most blessed curse anyone can ever bear.” He continued walking to their destination.
The crowds had gathered to pay their respects to Samuel. People moved out of David’s path when they saw him.
David saw King Saul before he saw his sons. He scanned for the eldest son, but couldn’t see him. His heart sank.
A voice caught his attention by its intensity. “Make way for the prince. Make way.”
The crowd parted and Jonathan gave David a tight hug. The men stepped back and kissed each other on the cheek.
David fell onto Jonathan’s shoulder. His tears soaked the prince’s robe. “I wanted more time with him. He had so much more to teach me.”
Jonathan pushed David back and held him by his shoulders. “You had time with him. Most of us would have killed for as much as you had.”
David smiled and nodded. “I suppose.”
Jonathan put an arm around David and walked toward the coffin. “Our generation is perhaps the greatest of all Israel. We knew the last Judge and our best king.”
David stopped. “Your father is no great king.”
Jonathan looked into David’s eyes. “I’m speaking of you, my brother. You shall lead our army to finish the task Joshua started. Our land will be rid of the Canaanites at last. You’ll lead us to a time of peace and prosperity that will be unmatched in our history to come.”
David tilted his head. “But, I don’t even know if I’ll be alive to see tomorrow.”
“That’s what is making you so great. You know suffering and persecution first-hand. Mercy shall be your guide. God is building you for greatness and I shall serve beside you.”
David looked beyond Jonathan and saw the coffin. He walked past his friend and cautiously approached the box. He was grateful his people had learned Egyptian embalming. Still, the stench of death hung in the air.
Saul cleared his throat. “We’ve been waiting for you. The grave is dug and prepared. Shall we commence?”
David stepped back. “Yes, by all means. Samuel lived a good, long life. Lay him to rest now.”
He stood numb as the nails were hammered home. Saul held a half-smirk when David looked up to the sky. “Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil, for Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”
Samuel’s disciples lifted the coffin and carried it to the grave. When it was in the ground most of the crowd dispersed.
David watched as the dirt was filled in. He longed for a liar to play, instead he simply sang what would become the 23rd Psalm.
When the men were done David picked up a stone and placed it on the mound of dirt. He turned away and led his men back to their wilderness stronghold.
The scenario that just played out is compacted into one Bible verse, 1 Samuel 25:1.
As I meditated on this chapter I recognized that one verse holds too much importance to just skip over it in a quick reading.
Samuel was a legend, even during his lifetime. Devoted to God before his conception, reared by a priest who longed for a second chance to father someone to lead people to God, and the man God led to anoint both Saul and David as the young nation’s first two kings.
When David began to run for his life from the madness of Saul Samuel was the first person he turned to. The death of someone important to you will make you take stock of your own life.
This verse is a pivotal point for the nation of Israel, too. The season of God randomly picking a judge to lead for a time was over. A king had been established to rule with a line of succession to follow.
Samuel’s greatness was unquestioned. Nobody knew what the future held. Loyalties were divided based on the tribe one was born into.
David had just proven his loyalty to Saul in a cave event that could have ended Saul’s life. The temporary peace gave everyone a chance to grieve.
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Have you grieved recently?
It doesn’t take just a death to put you into a state of grief, at least it shouldn’t.
When was the last time you cried over something you saw on the news? What was it…a natural disaster when they showed a child crying by a crumpled building? …a scene of vandals smashing windows with the police too outnumbered to step in?…was it a decision by the highest court in the land that pulls our nation away from our godly heritage?
What was the last prayer request that spilled a tear down your cheek?
Has someone close to you made a life decision you know breaks God’s heart?
Go ahead and let the tears flow. Jesus did at Lazarus’s tomb, and He knew the outcome before it happened.
David didn’t know what was going to happen in his life. All he knew was he didn’t have Samuel to turn to anymore.
That was one less crutch for him to lean on and one more reason for him to lean on God for strength.
I’m not suggesting you get rid of all your friends. I know better than anybody how important it is have another soul traveling this life alongside you.
I do want you to open up to God more. Cry your pain out loud in prayer. Yell at him when you feel things are unfair. Tell Him you want the pain to stop.
His heart is breaking, too. And He’s still in control.
I’ll see you later. Wade