Following

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.  *

 

C’mon!  I know a shortcut!

They are words never to heed—their source, a person never to follow.  We should have known better, but the boy was confident.

We followed him.

The trip through the fields was disastrous, scratches from the abandoned barbed wire lying alongside the dirt path being the least of our problems.  We foundered in the plowed field which appeared—to our surprise, but we still weren’t finished with our misfortunes.

I think we’ll find the road over this way. C’mon!

Why did we continue to trail after the ignorant kid?  Hadn’t he proved himself untrustworthy enough already?

We followed him.

The plowed field gave way to a mowed yard, enormous in size.  Scratches on our ankles notwithstanding, we began to relax.  This was more like it!  Surely the boy knew what he was doing now.

The loud woof! was our first indication that he most assuredly did not.  The singular warning was joined by a second voice—equally fierce—and we saw them.  Headed for our little group of bicycle riders, the two German shepherds had only one objective in mind:  They were going to taste the flesh of at least one of those riders.

We understood their motives clearly, and scattered at breakneck speed in all directions.  As fast as we could pedal our rusty old machines, we headed for what we believed to be the front of the property and a road.

No one was following the know-it-all kid now.

None of us made it out completely unscathed, but I’m happy to recall that the vicious dogs didn’t sink their teeth into a single one of us.  Face scraped by tree branches and arms bleeding from the thorns of the bougainvillea bush I rode through, I was never so happy to see a dirt road in my life.  All of us pedaled furiously off down the lane, wasting no time with congratulations on our escape.

CyclingWe did, when we reached safety, have a few choice words for our guide—he with his arrogance and smug self-confidence.

We never let him forget the event.

We also never followed him anywhere again.  Never.

A child’s tale, one might suggest.  They would be right.

They would also miss the broader truth of the story.

The Book tells of a nation which put its trust in a man.  An arrogant man.  A smug man.  The first king of the little nation, chosen not for his wisdom, nor his concern for those under his care, but selected because he was attractive.  He was popular.  He was strong.

Saul trusted in himself.  He worshipped God in his own way. 

God wanted something different.

When Saul died fighting a disastrous war, his successor, King David declared the words you read above, as you first began.  The fallen mighty,  the perished weapons of war, were the vain king and his son. 

The faith of the people was in a mirage, a passing dream. 

Like the boys in the children’s tale, the nation followed a path laid out by a leader who had no inkling of where the road led.  Its end was disastrous.

Although it is not my intention, I know there are many who will see parallels to the leadership of our nation today.  It was not purposeful on my part, but indeed, some principles never change.

I have to wonder though—looking just a little closer to home—if we can see parallels in our own lives, parallels we are better equipped to deal with.  We all know people who fit the description of both the know-it-all kid and the errant king.

Funny.  I sometimes see that kid in the mirror.  No, I don’t mean I was the actual leader of that catastrophe, years ago; I mean I do the same thing in my own life still.  Today.

Take a look in your own mirror; you might just see a hint of the kid or the king yourself.

Further on in the volume, the Book recounts another Saul, who in his early years was a man not unlike his namesake.  Later on, a changed Paul would remind his congregation, apparently folks just like the kid and the king—and himself—that when they thought they had it all straight in their heads they should be very careful.

Don’t think because you are standing now, you can’t fall down.

I’m standing.  For now.

Perhaps, we should stand together.

We could help each other.

I promise.  No shortcuts.

 

 

The highest and most lofty trees have the most reason to dread the thunder.
(Charles Rollin ~ French historian/educator ~ 1661-1741)

 

There is a way which seems right to man, but it’s end is the way of death.
(Proverbs 16:25 ~ NASB)

 

*  (II Samuel 1: 27 ~ KJV)

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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