Plundering, Persevering, Relying on God

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What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

That’s the question Jesus asks to those looking to living in this worldly life. Why?

There are no big small stories in the Bible that we can’t learn from. Our souls need sole-sourced sustaining. We are taught when to fight, when to fold, when to walk away. Plundering and perseverance teach us to Forever Rely On God (FROG as my dear friend says).

The last chapters of 1 Samuel finds David hiding out in enemy territory to escape a former friend now enemy, his previous boss in King Saul.  They spar on occasion and yet David seemingly respects Saul being appointed and anointed as special to the Lord. And from early on, David also loved him and acted as a servant. But now (and repeatedly), David was in danger for Saul had gone mad and stopped looking to the Lord. Saul went to kill David many times. David had opportunity at least twice to kill Saul but instead showed his superior skill as a soldier all while sparing Saul’s life. David even infiltrated the camp and stole Saul’s dagger and water jug while that encampment slept. But he did not kill him. Later, David taunted Abner, the warrior who was supposed to be protecting Saul. David showed that he spared Saul because HE COULD. David COULD take the high road, even in war. Perseverance. They made “peace” in pausing their pursuit, but more likely they went their own ways. Did David already sense the Lord will reward each person according to what they have done or not done? Here is where David (and we) have to admit,  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

David then went into the real enemy territory to get away completely, but actually he had to join up with the real enemy, Philistines. He had battled in a manner that destroyed everything and everyone, a sport of sparing, it was a plundering party… trouble for all… and even later the enemy Philistines, who had heard of David’s strengths, and perhaps heard about the power of David’s God, our God, turned back against him fighting alongside,  they could not trust their enemy in their midst, they asked him to leave. 

David’s whole army went back to base camp, but found it was taken, all was gone, carried off as plunder. He inquired of the Lord, a familiar retreat for David, and God said go fight for rescung your people. Only some of his men could go fight, what an exhausting battle to wage for men who lost their families and hope… “David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep”.

Perseverance comes thru God’s power.

Strengthened by the Lord, and given a messenger of information in an Egyptian slave left for dead, but revived by David, the fighters won all the families back and took plunder plus. There are many big little stories here, including the saving of one man who in return helped them all, this sounds familiar – feed the One who gives you the source of information to win (sounds like Jesus), and the story of the men who followed David and won the day and got the unbelievable experience to regain their loved ones (sounds like us following Jesus), and the story of the plundering winners who did not want to share the winning plunder with those who stopped exhausted on the journey. However David commanded them to share. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Yes, sounds like Jesus sacraficing to share).

We too encounter people who are exhausted on their journey and in desperate times. May we have mercy on them as God has mercy on us.

Plunder is the taking of war trophies triumphs tokens in TOTAL. To destroy your enemies and then take their stuff too. There were opportunities to take much in the battles that David fought, back and forth war spoils went, but war is often waged at the cost of losing everything. How we fight is every much as important as who we are fighting. We too will encounter madmen like Saul, best to take the high road and even step away so one is not pulled into evil.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

War to rescue everyone, even those not of your seemingly immediate family, is the war we witness between evil and the power in God, gifted in Jesus’s commitment to save us over the separating powers of sin and death. Jesus came for all who would believe, Gentiles and Jews, all peoples who have opening ears to hear Him as Lord. The battles continue. Help where you can.

Our war is won, but we can not plunder what was not ours, what God gave as spoils WILL spoil if not shared. Don’t stumble. If we could keep listening to the Lord and divide our knowledge of Him to others, we will share of His Goodness to combat madness of the world. 

We also need to remember not to get pulled into the madness of madness, especially seeing Saul at the end of his life suffer because he lost his way. (He even got a medium to conjure up Samuel as a spirit, Samuel was not pleased.) We must draw the line and not partake in getting mired in what has already gone overboard. 

Be content. 

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Help where you can, but under the Lord’s direction only. Sometimes step away. If only for one day. Take another look at the situation, as if you were taking a step back from a painting and can see an image, like seeing a frog blending into the scene, but ready to jump out of the mud. So should we be ready. Take a look at the world from God’s perspective and rise above.

Walk in the Light.

Jump in the joy.

Persevere always.

Amen


1 Samuel 26-30 NIV;KJV – David, Saul, Plundering…
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%2026-30&version=NIV;KJV

Matthew 16:23-27

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

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