Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, July 15, 2005

Divine Protection

Daily Readings
Psalm 106:19-48 + I Samuel 18:28-19:24 + Judith 14:19-15:11 + Hebrews 12

Quote of the Day
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1, 2

Daily Text: I Samuel 18:28; 19:1-2, 9-10, 18-19, 23-24
28But when Saul realized that the LORD was with David, and that Saul's daughter Michal loved him,
Saul spoke with his son Jonathan and with all his servants about killing David. But Saul's son Jonathan took great delight in David. 2Jonathan told David, "My father Saul is trying to kill you; therefore be on guard tomorrow morning; stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 9Then an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand, while David was playing music. 10Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear; but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. David fled and escaped that night.
18 Now David fled and escaped; he came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. He and Samuel went and settled at Naioth. 19Saul was told, "David is at Naioth in Ramah." 23He went there, toward Naioth in Ramah; and the spirit of God came upon him. As he was going, he fell into a prophetic frenzy, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24He too stripped off his clothes, and he too fell into a frenzy before Samuel. He lay naked all that day and all that night. Therefore it is said, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Divine Protection
God works to protect David by weaving a net of love around him, the love of Jonathan and Michal, Saul’s children, and then the protection of Samuel. All three are loyal to David and not first of all to Saul. But beyond these three there is the implication that the people are also loving and protecting David.

Saul has an evil spirit come upon him and in its grip tries and fails to spear David. With David’s continued rise to glory through battle, Saul, though promising Jonathan not to take David’s life, seemingly cannot control his own jealousy and fear. But we are assured that God is moving in history through these two figures. When YHWH withdrew his spirit from Saul, he left open the possibility of another, less benign spirit taking over. Hertzberg [433:162] suggests that Saul sees through the eyes of the evil spirit the designs of God for David and his own demise. At any rate, David flees to Samuel and they go to a community of prophets in Ramah. Saul’s pursues him there, sending three groups of emissaries all of whom are overtaken by a prophetic frenzy. Finally, Saul comes himself and he also is taken by the frenzy. Then people ask a second time [cf. 10:11] is Saul also among the prophets? The first time this remark was made, Saul was on the rise and it was complimentary. This time Saul’s star is setting and it is derogatory. It may well imply that Samuel is there, David is there and now Saul is there! It may also indicate great amusement among the people! It looks like everyone in Israel of importance is ending up in that strange God-driven monastic community in Ramah. But it also points up the inescapable influence of the LORD in the history of his people.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

G. M. Bell

Abstracted and alone sat Saul the king,
The mighty king of warlike Israel;
Dark shadows o’er his spirit went and came,
And fearful thoughts of dread futurity.
His lofty eye scowled indignation round,
And furious passion wrinkled up his brow;
Anon a gleam of peace shot through his soul,
And he was calm; but soon more solemn thoughts,
Like thunder-laden clouds, enshroud his mind,
And troubled looks denote no love of God.
The minstrel now is called—a fair-haired boy,
Who oft had soothed, by his entrancing notes,
The soul of mighty Saul. A noble boy
In look and mien, whom God had early blessed,
And brought from Bethlem’s plains, a shepherd-boy.
To reign, the future king of Israel.
At bidding of proud Saul he struck his harp,
And sung with joy of God’s unceasing love,
Who saved him from the bear and lion’s paw,
And from the spear of giant Philistine;
Who victory to Israel gave, and sent
Confusion and defeat on all her foes.
He sang of Judah’s bondage, and the way
God led them through the desert’s pathless waste,--
Of Egypt’s plagues, and sad discomfiture.
But deep and louder grew the thrilling strain,
When of the patriarchal chief he sang, whence should arise
The promised Lord of glory,--Sion’s King,--
Saul heard entranced, till mention of a king
Stirred in his soul most hideous jealousy.
The prophet’s words, “God hath rejected thee,
And hath thy kingdom to thy neighbor given,”
Rose like some dismal spectre on his sight.
The plaudits of the crowd, :Saul hath thousands
But David tens of thousands nobly slain,”
Inflamed his mind with horrible revenge.
He saw the words inscribed on every side,
And heard the acclamations loud arise,
Re-echoed by innumerable crowds.
His wild imagination figures up
A regal throne, on which the youth is placed,
The shepherd-boy transformed a lordly king!
Upon his fair and sunny brow a crown
Is set, refulgent with the brightest gems;
Thousands in his presence wait obsequious,
And tens of thousands cry, exulting,
“King David, live for ever!” Starting up,
alarmed, incensed, and full of deadly hate,
the jealous Saul a javelin seized and flung,
with murd’rous aim, at God’s anointed one;
but mercy interposed, and turned its point
‘Gainst the insensate wall. The youth escaped
Like bird from fowler’s snare, uninjured but amazed,
And praising God Most High, while Saul alone
Stood, stung with disappointment and despair.

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.


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