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 Sal hiding behind a tall stack of boxes along the corridor wall. “I have a job for a solider, not a wimp, and you are going to do it!” Sal’s 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 donkeys that ran off last night. There is no end to their shenanigans, and if this is anything like last time it will take me all day to track them down. Last time, they were five miles west of here, near the olive grove where the sweet grass grows.”
“You will find them, and you will do what I ask you to do!” Samuel said.
“And what is that?” Sal asked.
“Come here!” Samuel drew a vial out of his pocket as the young man approached. It contained sacred oils mixed with spices; a concoction 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 good friends exchange, but you will never have met the two before. Listen intently to what they say. They are prophets. When you arrive at the Oak of Tabor (your next stop after meeting them), you’ll come upon three more men 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 invade enemy territory? Yeah, I’m not doing that. No way!” Sal was adamant.
“Do as I tell you, son,” Samuel said. “Only what I tell you, just as I tell you; nothing more and nothing less, hear me?”
Samuel whispered imperceptibly, “Lord, why? The details of the job are lost on him!”
As Samuel vented his frustrations to the Lord, 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 immature 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 dry veins to a 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, pulling him close with a quick jerk of the fabric. He heard it tear.
“Get your hands off me, old man!” Sal shoved him, as he breathed fire at the prophet. Any fear of the man he’d once had was now gone. “Who do you think you are? 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 thundered. “I am of the tribe of Benjamin. I do not bend to the wishes of others, nor do I bow to insanity. I am Saul, of Kish, now get your hands off me!”
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, or why the Prophet was on his face before God, praising Him as he swallowed mouths full of camel droppings. The whirlwind swirled. Faster and faster it twirled. Encircling the prophet and Sal, the dirt wall created an impenetrable fortress between them and the mass of men looking on from the outside. Everyone saw it, yet no one approached them, for they knew instinctively that they couldn’t smash through it if they’d tried. No one tried.
“Most Holy Lord,” Samuel repeated, once, twice, three times, as the flask burned red-hot at his thigh. Finally, he lifted it from its hiding place in his tunic. He popped the cork that held the perfumed substance inside.
“What are you doing?” Sal asked, his voice audibly shaking. He was too frightened to notice the sanctuary God had created for this anointing. Too caught up in confusion to discern that the Lord had surround he and the Prophet from any human contact by piling up layer after layer of earth around them. It 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, Sal made his burly body as small as he could possibly make it. Tiny as he was, Samuel appeared to have grown ten feet tall. His divinely appointed task was nearly done.
The old prophet reached out a weathered hand, gripping tightly at once to both the sacred cocktail and the thatch of inky 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. It dripped off the edges of Sal’s jaw and onto his manly chest below.
A roar exploded across the valley floor. It was the sound of divine purpose, bursting forth from a mingling of prophet and promise. As one, the men signaled to the heavens the sealing of a covenant the young man had no vision for, nor power to refuse. God had spoken, and as the bizarre faded away and the dust of protective walls fell from around them, 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 was 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, however, is that nothing in Israel would ever again be the same, and for that he both rejoiced and grieved.