Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen

Proper 8 (13)
(July 1, 2012)

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43

After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag.

17 Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, 18 and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar.

19 Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills!
    Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
20 Don’t announce the news in Gath,
    don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon,
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice
    and the pagans will laugh in triumph.

21 O mountains of Gilboa,
    let there be no dew or rain upon you,
    nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain.
For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled;
    the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil.
22 The bow of Jonathan was powerful,
    and the sword of Saul did its mighty work.
They shed the blood of their enemies
    and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes.

23 How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!
    They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles,
    stronger than lions.
24 O women of Israel, weep for Saul,
for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing,
    in garments decorated with gold.

25 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies dead on the hills.
26 How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan!
    Oh, how much I loved you!
And your love for me was deep,
    deeper than the love of women!

27 Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen!
    Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.

As I first looked at this I thought, Wow, this is an encouraging way to start a Friday afternoon 🙂  This scripture really brings to close the chapter of Saul and of his son Jonathan.  At first Saul and David were close, especially after David defeated Goliath, but over time, Saul became jealous of David. The song was sung, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his thousands of thousands.”  This was one of the things that came between Saul and David.  Saul spent most of his later life pursuing and trying to kill David.  What is interesting is that David had multiple opportunities to take out Saul to end the threat, but he didn’t.  The Lord even convicted him of one particular incident.

What we have here is the end of Saul and Jonathan’s life – great men – Saul was a great king and yet they met a tragic end – Oh how the mighty have fallen. It really is amazing, because Saul began as a God-fearing king and by the end of his life wanted little to do with God.

This really speaks to me, especially for those of us who are in ministry “careers.”  I’ve known so many who started well, who didn’t finish well.  I’ve known those who could have had any church they wanted, but after time, they decided not to follow after God and their careers came tumbling down.

Today’s reading is a reminder to all of us – are you continuing to fight the battle well – are you going to finish well, or we we say of you, Oh how the mighty have fallen?

 

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