The following is a bit of fiction I wrote after my quiet time with God today. I hope you enjoy it! Lori
Saul, the Anointed
“Come out from behind there!” Samuel demanded, when he found the boy hiding behind a tall stack of boxes along the corridor wall. “I have a job for a solider, not a wimp, and you, boy, are going to do it!” Sal shoulders slumped, as he found his way out from behind the wooden crates tied with twine.
“I have other things to do today,” he said. “Important duties father has assigned me, starting with finding those stupid donkeys that ran away last night. There is no end to their shenanigans, and if this time is anything like last time it will take me all day to track them down. I’m starting where I found them last time, which is five miles down the road in that olive grove where the sweet clover grows.”
“You will find them, Sal, and you will do what I ask you to do!”
“And what is that?” Sal asked.
“Come here boy.” Samuel drew a vial out of his pocket as the young man approached. It contained sacred oils mixed with spices; a concoction he’d never mixed in the past, but one God had dictated to his memory months before. The oil had an aroma to it that was different from anything Samuel had smelled before. Musky. Strong. Unnatural. Like a fire blazing without a flame.
“As you look for the missing donkeys, I want you to also keep a look-out for some strangers headed your way. You’ll know them when they give you that look of recognition good friends exchange, but you will never have met the two before. Listen intently to what they say, and when you arrive at the Oak of Tabor (your next stop after meeting them), you’ll come upon three more that were previously unknown to you: one man with three goats, one with three sacks of bread, and one with a jug of wine. They’ll offer you the bread. Take it.”
“I’d rather have the wine.” Sal joked.
“Take the bread, and travel on to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine garrison…”
“Whoa! Wait just a minute. You want me to walk into home base for our enemy? Yeah, I’m not doing that. No way!”
“Do as I tell you, boy,” Samuel said. “Only what I tell you, just as I tell you, nothing more and nothing less, hear me?” He was feeling terse now, impatient; angry that the importance of details he now shared were lost on this one.
The dust from the desert floor began to slowly twirl. It quickened as Samuel continued with his holy directives. Brown flecks landed on the cheeks of the inexperienced Sal, darkening his already dark countenance and causing him to use the back of his hand to wipe the grim away from his sweaty brow. The leaves of the trees nearby turned up, revealing their dry veins to the cloudless sky overhead. A storm was brewing.
Samuel fingered the flask he carried. The oil was turning hot within it. He let go of it, returning it to the pouch he’d taken it from moments before. Something inside him stirred. He knew this prompting. The Lord was about to perform a miracle. He steadied himself…grabbed the now scalding flask, and at the same time grabbed hold of Sal’s vest collar, pulling him close with a quick jerk of the fabric. He heard it tear.
“Get your hands off me, old man!” Sal shoved him just a little, as he breathed fire at the prophet. “What is your deal? I’m not someone to be man-handled, even by you.”
They were the first strong words Samuel had ever heard come from the mouth of the otherwise sheepish man.
“Kish is my father!” Sal continued, angry. “I am of the tribe of Benjamin. I do not bend to the wishes of others, nor do I bow to insane orders. I am Saul, of Kish, now get your hands off me!”
Samuel smiled. At last, something to be proud of stood before him. Sal was tall, handsome even, but until now nothing to crow about. Now, the spirit of a lion was awakened, and Samuel’s response to it was to let go of the man, raise his hands to the heavens, and cry out to God in a loud voice, “Praise You, O Holy One, for I have seen the wisdom of your actions at last. Finally, the lion roars. Finally, the son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, shakes his mane and extends his claws. Praise You, God, for commanding this display, this day. Praise You, O Holy Lord!”
Sal had no idea what it all meant. What on earth was going on here?
Samuel hit the ground. He was on his face before God, praising Him and eating up the droppings of shoes and camels alike, as the whirlwind continued to swirl. Faster and faster it twirled, encircling he and Sal, creating between them and the others standing nearby an impenetrable fortress of dirt. Everyone saw it, yet no one approached them. The onlookers couldn’t have smashed through it even if they tried, but no one tried. The flask now burned red-hot, as Samuel took it from its hiding place and popped the cork that held the perfumed substance inside. The prophet and the soon-to-be king were hidden from inquiring crowds. No human eye would capture the beauty of what took place inside, save theirs. And no human arm could penetrate the layers of earth that clumped and swirled madly around them, sealing them in until the anointing was complete.
Samuel ordered Sal to kneel. He did as he was told. Bending in reverence and true fear for what was taking place—a miracle he could not understand–Sal made his burly body as small as he could possibly make it. Tiny as he was amidst the storm, Samuel appeared to have grown ten feet tall, as he now stood to his divinely appointed task.
The old prophet reached out a weathered hand, gripping tightly at once to both the sacred cocktail and the thick thatch of hair that covered Sal’s head. With godly precision, he poured…droplets first, then rivers of oil; over the man’s scalp, between the tendrils of sour hair, and onto the lion’s mane. Finally, the surf of this ocean dripped off the sharp edges of Sal’s jaw and onto his manly chest below.
Sal never spoke a word as the oily waves came crashing, again and again, covering him from the crown of his head to his nipples with glory.
A roar exploded across the valley floor. It was the sound of divine purpose, bursting forth from a mingling of prophet and promised. As one, the couple signaled to the heavens the sealing of a covenant the young man had no vision for nor understanding of, and no power to refuse. God had spoken, and as the bizarre faded away and the dust of protective walls fell from around them once more, a king was confirmed.
Samuel would continue God’s instruction to the new royal, but not before the anointed one had fallen to his knees and cried out the words: Save me!
Did he know what was yet to be, or as he merely expressing age-old assent to a previously inspired and agreed upon contract between Israel and her God? Samuel couldn’t be sure. What he did know, is that nothing would ever be the same again, and for that he both rejoiced and grieved.