Yep, sometimes I really like a biblical text. Hither and thither. But, mind you, it’s usually from the completely different reasons than the Christians usually have them.
Consider these verses in 1 Samuel 16.1-3:
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
Here, again, as usual, we have a merciless God. He rejected Saul and no tears of the prophet Samuel will save him. Saul is doomed to die, in short. Of course, this is not what I like. Fed up with merciless people, let alone with a merciless deity.
What I like is what follows. Samuel is sent to anoint a new king. A pretty dangerous task, if you rethink it. He is going to commence a sort of coup d’état. No doubt, a serious feat and Samuel is getting nervous. What if Saul hears about it? No jokes with that tough king ready to kill instantly, sometimes even without a visible reason. So, what do you, frankly, expect of God’s response to Samuel’s justified fears?
I’ll tell ya what many Christian would expect here. Something like this:
“No worries, Samuel, I’m with you, and my hand will protect you from Saul’s anger and his brandished sword.”
Or, in a more extreme way:
“Dear child, you are to suffer from my name, telling the truth even when it is dangerous.”
Well, I’d like to see Samuel’s face after receiving such “soothing” responses.
However, the things go into utterly different direction.
“Well”, says the Lord Almighty and the source of all truth, “just pretend that you’re going to celebrate a sacrifice.” In other words, cheat Saul, mate. Fool him, and stay alive.
Blessed answer, if you ask me. Let me be clear – I don’t like liars and cheaters. Neither you like them, I suppose. But, what a man is supposed to do in this situation? If you’re a Christian freak, really believing that a host of angels surrounds you for your protection, then your answer, I suppose, would be: speak truth, although the heavens fall.
However, if you’re just a reasonable person, admitting that our moral actions in the world sometimes need to be ambiguous, you know well that sometimes truth doesn’t save you, on contrary, it might kill you. Is that my own opinion? Well, Lord Jehovah says it. “Do not die naively, Samuel. Find the way to escape from the Saul’s sword.”
Exactly the same words I’d like to tell you all.