When Push Comes to Shove

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 11:1-2(NIV)
Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.” But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.”

1 Samuel 11:1-2 (MSG)
So Nahash went after them and prepared to go to war against Jabesh Gilead. The men of Jabesh petitioned Nahash: “Make a treaty with us and we’ll serve you.” Nahash said, “I’ll make a treaty with you on one condition: that every right eye among you be gouged out! I’ll humiliate every last man and woman in Israel before I’m done!”
“Now Nahash the Ammonite [king] went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty [of peace] with us and we will serve you.” But Nahash the Ammonite told them, “I will make a treaty with you on this condition, that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, and make it a disgrace upon all Israel.” -AMPLIFIED

So we back track a little bit, back to the beginning of chapter 11. There we find the incident that finally moved Saul into taking his kingship seriously. The Ammonites, led by Nahash, went up and attacked Jabesh Gilead. Jabesh Gilead was a town east of Jordan, on the top of one of the green hills of Gilead. It was within the limits of the half tribe of Manasseh.

The Ammonites were descendants of Lot. They were a pagan people by this point in time; worship the false gods Milcom and Molech. Molech was a fire-god. He had the face of a calf. He was portrayed with arms outstretched to receive the babies and small children who were sacrificed to him. Just like their god, the Ammonites were a cruel people. We can see evidence of this when they attacked Jabesh Gilead. The men of Jabesh tried to make a treaty with Nahash; which would have totally been against God’s commands. Nahash’s response to their plea for their lives was this, “I will make this treaty with you on one condition: I will put out the right eye of every one of you and so humiliate Israel.” -(VOICE)

The men of Jabesh asked for time to make their decision, seven days to be exact, and then they sent messengers throughout the territory of Israel telling of their coming doom. When the messengers came to Gibeah, where Saul lived they told the news to the people there. All the people raised their voices and wept aloud to hear of the terrible news of Jabesh’s doom and humiliation.

Now Saul was returning from the fields with his oxen, not a job that a king should be doing, when he heard the news. (He still had not wholly accepted the position that God had intended for him.) Saul asked, “What’s happening? Why is everyone crying?” And the people repeated the news that the messengers had delivered to them.

Now something happens which takes Saul “from push to shove. This would be the catalyst that would finally bring Saul to accepting his kingship and taking his new position seriously. Scripture tells us:

“The Spirit of God came on Saul when he heard the report and he flew into a rage. He grabbed the yoke of oxen and butchered them on the spot. He sent the messengers throughout Israel distributing the bloody pieces with this message: “Anyone who refuses to join up with Saul and Samuel, let this be the fate of his oxen!” The terror of God seized the people, and they came out, one and all, not a laggard among them. Saul took command of the people at Bezek. There were 300,000 men from Israel, another 30,000 from Judah. Saul instructed the messengers, “Tell this to the folk in Jabesh Gilead: ‘Help is on the way. Expect it by noon tomorrow.’” The messengers set straight off and delivered their message. Elated, the people of Jabesh Gilead sent word to Nahash: “Tomorrow we’ll give ourselves up. You can deal with us on your terms.” Long before dawn the next day, Saul had strategically placed his army in three groups. At first light they broke into the enemy camp and slaughtered Ammonites until noon. Those who were left ran for their lives, scattering every which way.” -1 Samuel 11:6-11 (MSG)

The Spirit of Go came on Saul and MOVED him to action. Under King Saul’s leadership, Israel defeated the Ammonites and made them slaves who would serve them. God always has a plan! He needed to get Saul to the place where he became a man of action and He did. He needed to do something about those Ammonites and their arrogance and He did. Never fear, God always has a plan.

After the sound thrashing to the Ammonites we find Scripture telling us, “They (the Israelites) all trooped out to Gilgal. Before God, they crowned Saul king at Gilgal. And there they worshiped, sacrificing peace offerings. Saul and all Israel celebrated magnificently.” -1 Samuel 11:15 (MSG)

Finally, everyone is in agreement and Saul is ready to take up his responsibilities. The people officially crown Saul as their king and they do so in the presence of God; worshiping God and sacrificing to Him. They celebrated in an extraordinary way.

God should never have to push us in order to move us. Quick obedience to His call is always the best policy. It is a good thing God is so patient with us! It is time to get up and so something for God.

God should NOT have to wait for His turn in our lives!

My Prayer:
Lord, I do not want to be a reluctant follower of you; putting you in the position where you need to push me in order to get me to do something for you. I want to be obedient, ready to do whatever you call me to do when you call me to do it. I am so thankful that you are patient and long-suffering with your children; for I know there are times when I do not always step out in faith as quickly as I should. Forgive me please, Lord. Help me to be obedient to do your bidding swiftly. I want you to be pleased with me, dear Lord.


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