Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 18:20-21:
20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law.”
It’s Sunday, you are getting ready to go to church; I hate to write such a dark quiet time, so I apologize in advance. They say that the greatest love in the world (outside of God’s love) is the love parents have for their children. (Technically, they say a mother’s love is greatest, but I’m working with Saul here, so give me some leeway.) This is why when we read a story about a mother killing her children, we find it incredibly disturbing. Such stories attract huge amounts of national media attention because they defy sensibilities and shake what we think we know about love. Of course, most of us would agree that people who do these things to their children are the exception, not the norm. Most parents would rather die than let harm come to their children.
Unfortunately, I have heard about one too many stories of filicide (when parents kill their kids) to universally accept the axiom that the greatest human love is the one parents have for their children. Although it is true for most people, I think there is one human love that can even trump a parent’s love; namely, the love a person has for him/herself.
When we read about Saul giving his daughter to David in marriage, we are cushioned by the facts that David is a righteous man and Michal loves him. But make no mistake, Saul’s motivation in blessing this marriage was not his daughter’s happiness; rather, he was hoping that Michal would be a “snare” to David. In other words, Saul was using his daughter to secure his own kingdom; sure, not as bad as killing his daughter, but in the general ballpark. For Saul, Michal ceased to be his daughter; she became an asset to him. It’s pretty cold if you think about it.
Let me ask you a question: Are people assets to be used and discarded, or do you genuinely care about them? Is self-love the strongest love in your life right now? If you answered yes to either of these questions, let me remind you this morning of the love of our Lord, who placed the needs of the world over His own and died on the cross for us. Let me also remind you of the love of the Father who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all (Rom. 8:32). Lastly, let me remind you of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to love others (all others) more than we love ourselves, which can truly be the greatest human love in the world.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 16