How Not to Retrieve an Attempted Stolen Future!
Two sent. Two to lead. One to lead at a time. One did not understand it. Only one could lead, one at a time. So, he trapped himself. Often foolish. Often shortsighted. Unhealthily threatened. But he was brave. He was courageous. They were hidden gems, hidden skills soon to be unleashed by Samuel’s anointing.
Saul is chosen. Saul is anointed, first king of Israel. God loves his covenant people. God loves Saul. Saul has strength. Saul has strategic thinking. These are essential in securing the territory promised the patriarchs.
There is still much of the Promised Land to be claimed. The judges have done their bit in securing settlements from which to launch expansion campaigns. It would take the ‘spear’ of Saul and the ‘sling’ of David.
There is still much left for Africa and her diaspora to claim. The ‘judges’ have secured the freedoms and independence needed for geopolitical and economic advantages for expansion and growth. It would take the techno-economic skills of the diaspora within the rich framework of collective ownership and cultural ecology of the continent.
Nahash is determined to reduce God’s people to one-eyed servants. “About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead. All the people of Jabesh begged Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve 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.)
Nahash’s terms would leave a significant number of Israelites with less depth perception, making them useless at war. That’s the strategy. Lack of depth perception is the most effective tool the enemy uses to steal the inheritance and the future of various communities, especially those besieged with seemingly unsurmountable challenges. They can’t see properly; they can’t fight properly; they can’t protect properly. “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts] (Matthew 6:22, AMP). Nahash, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden was determined to frustrate God’s plan to establish Israel in the Promised Land. Jabesh-gilead was in a difficult spot, besieged, hemmed in, and out of immediate reach of neighboring Israelite tribes.
Nahash agrees. They have seven days to look for help. He has assessed the disunity among the Israelite tribes, and he is confident that no help will be forth coming for the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead. “When others needed the help of Jabesh, Jabesh did not help. Now that they are in need themselves, they want others to help them” (de Koning). Nahash’s assessment is right, but he is ignorant of spiritual things, “So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept.” (1 Samuel 11:4). And God’s fulfills his promise in Psalm 56:8 “to keep track of all their sorrows” and put their tears in His bottle.
The Nahashs have assessed the distances of discord among the Africans and their diaspora. What terms and demands are the Nahashs of the world making on Africa and its diaspora? Have you awakened to the schemes to further the alienation and frustrate Africa and its diaspora to come into their own? “Oh, it is pitiable to see men tamely submitting to a vile master! Yet how often is the sight repeated! How often do men virtually say to the devil, ‘Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee’!” (Balike). No matter how hemmed in a community finds itself it must never forget to lift its voice and cry out for help. Understand that the fragility of the lives of people of African descent is fast becoming an abiding custom. Don’t beg… Don’t beg away your inheritance! The intangibles also. The immediate dire circumstances are only a distraction from your inheritance. Make haste you MESSENGERS. Make haste you MOURNERS with your cries. It’s the most noble of efforts. It’s the most noble of an awakening.
There is an important transition point among the Israelites, yet many are not aware. There is no central thread of authority in Israel. A theme song is yet to emerge from the chords of David, the shepherd boy. An important transition has dawned on Africa and its diaspora, are you aware? A king has been anointed but no one takes notice of him in Israel, even in their crisis. “Saul was wise in going back to the farm. He knew it was the LORD’s job to raise him up as king over the nation, and he knew the LORD would do it in the right way at the right time. He didn’t have to promote himself, or scheme on his own behalf. The LORD would do it.” (David Guzik). What could orchestrate the right circumstances to reveal the right leader for the times? “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3).
There they appear: MESSENGERS of Reconciliation, to raise hope to bridge the gulf of alienation and despair? Salvation rides into Jabesh-gilead through the mouths of ordinary MESSENGERS, on the wailing winds of MOURNERS.
The MESSENGERS and MOURNERS of reconciliation overlook Jabesh-gilead’s myopic take on unity in the past: “And they said, ‘What one is there of the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the LORD at Mizpah?’ And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. For when the people were numbered, behold, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there” (Judges 21:8–9).
Who is missing at the Table of Reconciliation? Where are you, Diaspora of the Americas? Where are you, Diaspora of Eurasia? Where are you Mother Africa. Cry over your divided history, cry over divided emotions, cry over your divided circumstances. Let the message of the MESSENGERS resound: wash the minds that once lacked depth perception and sold our common inheritance. The mother yearns for her children. The children yearn for their mother. Mother bathes her children in her tears. The tears wash the children clean. A community’s character is revealed often during uncommon circumstances. A community’s character is forged through fire: the fire of disunity, the fire of reconciliation. These define their common call. Their inheritance, fortunes, and future are realized and secured within their common call.
Saul soon demonstrates his ability to command Israel’s army and defend the land as “the spirit of God rushed upon him.” Nahash pays for threatening to reduce the Israelite men in Jabesh-gilead to one-eyed servants. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7).
Nahash is ignorant of the Spirit of God and the Spirit’s work. And the door flings open for King Saul to knit the tribes into one kingdom and work towards securing their inheritance to fulfill God’s covenant promises.
In the great scheme of movements, the compass, as small as it is, matters, matters most. And the church in Africa and her diaspora are it. History must be learned through the Father’s lens. The Holy Spirit insists. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17).