After the death of Saul, when David had returned from striking down the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. David said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.” II Samuel 1:1-10 ESV
Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:1-8 ESV
Albert was always telling stories. If a stray dog barked at him on the way home from school, he would tell his parents that there had been a coyote loose in the streets chasing him and howling. If he saw two cars bump into each other on the way to school, he would tell the kids at school that there had been a deathly car crash, but that he had pulled a passenger from the burning car and saved his life. People who knew Albert didn’t pay much attention to his stories. But when Albert waved down a passing patrol car and told the police officer that he had seen a robbery at the bank and that the thief was getting away, he got into serious trouble when the police found out that the bank robber was just Mr. Nelson running to catch his bus on his way out of the bank.
The Amalekite had probably found Saul’s dead body and had been able to guess that Saul had killed himself. Perhaps he even saw it happen. But when he ran to tell David the story, he changed it to give himself a more important role in Saul’s death. Instead of Saul asking his armor-bearer to kill him, he said that Saul had asked him to do it, and that he bravely and kindly had done what Saul asked. Then, so he said, at great risk he escaped and came to tell David what had happened. He knew that David was a powerful man and might be the next king. He thought David would reward him for what he said he had done.
People who tell stories like this want to feel important. They want others to look up to them and admire the things they’ve done. Not everyone exaggerates and lies like this, but we all want to be important and admired. The problem is that we are sinners and deserve shame and punishment. We can’t work our way out of this situation, but God sent Jesus to save us and help us. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Through Jesus, we can see that God loves us very much and chose us to be his people. We don’t have to make ourselves important by pretending or lying. We are important to God through what Jesus has done for us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to save us. In His Name, Amen.