July 28, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Pastor Daniel Kim, Gracepoint San Diego

Reflect on the statements “you have all conspired against me,” “No one tells me,” “None of you is concerned about me or tells me.”  What is Saul failing to see in this state of self-pity, full of  victim complex?

The statements that Saul makes about his condition and others around him – they are such tragic, sad statements.  It makes me want to reach back into time and tell Saul that he’s making a huge mistake, that it’s not true that David “lies in wait” for him.  Yet if I were to do that, I have a feeling that Saul would simply add me onto the list of people who are against him.  And that’s the greatest tragedy of Saul’s self-pity and victim complex.  He is in a downward spiral, and he ends up moving away from the people around him like Jonathan who are trying to talk sense into him.  He complains that “no one tells me,” but why would anyone tell him, when he just tried to kill the last person who tried to talk truth into his life (Jonathan)?  He has become a dangerous and harmful person because of his self-pity, even killing the priests of God.  And ironically, his assessment of other’s avoidance becomes self-fulfilling.  Saul is so convinced that people are against him that he becomes warped in his view of reality, and in so doing, people are now moving away for him for real now.  What is truly scary is that when Saul feels threatened and reasons that people are against him, Saul is actually seeing some true things and connecting the dots.  It is true that Jonathan did make a covenant with David and did not tell Saul.  It’s true that Ahimelech provided bread and a sword for David.  With those data points, Saul connects the dots and comes up with a theory of “what’s really going on.”  It makes perfect sense to him.  Why would David get a sword?  What Saul fails to trace the steps backwards.  He fails to see that perhaps it’s because Saul threw a spear at him, and now David is on the run.  But Saul will not see that, because he has a self-coherent story of what’s “really going on.”  And once that story is set in his mind, there’s no way that anyone could break into that circle.  Even when David himself later spares Saul, which should have shown him once and for all that David is not lying in wait for him, it does not permanently destroy this internal story that Saul has in his mind,  because he keeps on going back to those “true” data points – connects the dots and tells the story to himself again and again.  I can see this Saul-likeness in people as well as the workings within my own heart.  When I indulge in self-pity or cast myself as some kind of a victim, there is a powerfully convincing story that I could come up with.  Of course, I will have to ignore a whole bunch of other facts, but if I selectively choose to only look at certain facts (like Jonathan secretly made a covenant with David, David has been anointed by Samuel who is now against me, and David got a sword), then I could possibly come up with a coherent story where I’m the victim and people are conspiring against me.  In that warped world, I’m misunderstood, I’m treated unfairly, and people are just against me.  Saul’s crazed massacre and his sad condition is a warning that I ought not to entertain such internal stories made from connecting the dots.  It ought to serve as a warning that I ought to be extra careful whenever I hear the words, “what’s really going on is…”  followed by some story of me being a victim.  Saul is so faithful to his own stories.  It says in 1 Sam 15 that God is grieved that he made Saul king.  I can also grieve along with God at the heartbreaking picture of Saul, and really repent of any Saul-likeness in me that stubbornly holds onto my own internal story of a tragic hero.

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