Friday, August 04, 2006

1 Samuel 9-10 and Superman mp3s

Tea and Ink Stains
Much port was spilt over our 1 Samuel 9-10 discussion, and later, tea and ink too which led to dodgy doodling.

The Neverending Cycle
From the Book of Judges (actually, from the Fall lah), we have seen a frustrating cycle: the demonstration of the greatness and goodness of God, the unthinkable sin of God's own chosen people in rebelling against him, so the rightful punishment of God on such people, but still just when you'd expect God to wipe this ungrateful and really rather daft lot (so much for survival of the fittest, Mr. Darwin) off the face of the earth, God exhibits an enormous amount of grace in continuing to preserve them. Of course the people keep "repenting" of their ways but then, only a chapter later, we see them going back to their old ways. Time and time again. The setting, scenario and characters might change, but the plot is always the same.

God's Replacement?
Now we thought 1 Samuel 8 might have been the last straw. Israel was unabashedly wanting to exchange God for a mere human king. But the great wonder is that God does not speak the word and cause them to de-exist. Instead, he actually gives them a king! What's this? Is the Creator condoning his replacement by a mere creature?

Nope. The human does not replace God as king, for the human king is also subject to God. He will be God's "prince" (1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1). He will be an instrument of God: saving the people from external enemies (1 Samuel 9:16) and from their worst enemies - themselves (1 Samuel 9:17).

A Suitable Candidate
We've been conducting interviews recently. There is a job match when a applicant's expertise, experience and character fit the job scope we have in mind. The jobseekers are polite. They make it a point to maintain eye contact like those getanyjobyouwant books tell them to. They come carefully groomed with good CVs and testimonials. They give their nicely-prepared speeches when asked about their strengths and weaknesses. But even though we get vibes and hunches, it is difficult to suss out a person out conclusively at just an interview. So there are interview tactics. There are ways of creating stressful scenarios to see how the candidate copes. Sometimes, there is a good cop and a bad cop. Sometimes, for variation, there are only bad cops.

Fortunately, Samuel didn't have to go through this hassle to find a suitable candidate for the brand new opening - God's Prince Over Israel. The day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed to Samuel:"Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel". And when Saul made his appearance, the LORD told Samuel, "Here is the man of whom I spoke to you!" (1 Samuel 9:15-17). Easy-peasy, cos God's still in control.

Saul
How is Saul looking as God's prince over Israel?

Physical Appearance
Well, at first glance, he appears to have the outward tokens of leadership: he is physically-capable and aesthetically-pleasing. "From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people" (1 Samuel 9:2, 10:23): not that Saul has an unusually long neck or a cone head or incredibly poofy hair, but that he was, err, just head and shoulders taller than anyone else. And the author of Samuel goes on to gush what "a handsome young man" Saul was. And just in case you thought he was only passably handsome, the author adds:"there was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he". The Midrash Shemuel suggests that the hamsumness of Saul was the cause of the young women's garrulousness at the well, so smitten they were by his beauty.

Election
But supermodel looks aside, he is more importantly elected, chosen by God. God identifies him to Samuel (1 Samuel 9:15-17). God gives Saul signs that he has indeed been chosen as the prince over Israel (1 Samuel 10:1-13). And as extra confirmation, it is Saul the son of Kish who is chosen as king by lot in front of all of Israel (1 Samuel 10:17-21)

Empowerment
Saul is empowered by the Spirit of God. He rushes upon Saul and Saul prophesies (1 Samuel 10:10). But we soon see that the Spirit's work in the Old Testament was not for the same length of time as in the New. The Spirit comes and goes. And when Saul is to be presented to all of Israel, we find the tall handsome young man hiding amongst the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22).

Eh?
This puts a bit of a damper on things. Why is the king elect cowering behind the luggage? And we remember that this was the man who wanted to give up looking for the lost asses and who needed to borrow money from his own servant to pay Samuel (1 Samuel 9:5-10). Saul's lineage is a bit sus as well, coming as he does from the tribe of Benjamin, from the town of Gibeah, infamous in Israelite history for its astounding act of lack of hospitality (to say the least, see Judges 19-21) that caused the other tribes to attack her. So unsurprisingly, there are doubters (1 Samuel 10:27) and a spectacular downfall would certainly satisfy their desire for some small town schadenfreude.

But the author of Samuel doesn't empathise with these doubters. Instead he calls them "worthless fellows" (1 Samuel 10:27). For Saul has been elected and chosen by God himself. And the people need not fear: dodgy lineage and past nambypamby-ness are of no consequence if Saul obeys God, for it is God, ultimately, who will save Israel from her enemies and herself.

So we end off 1 Samuel 9-10 wondering whether now, with a king over Israel (cf Judges 19:1; 21:25 - in the days when there was no king in Israel, everyone did whatever he pleased), things are looking up for Israel. We wonder whether, with this fresh beginning, Samuel will fulfil his kingship duties set out in the book (1 Samuel 10:25) and so lead Israel in proper obedience to God and end the terrible cycle of sin and punishment.

Akan datang 1 Samuel 11-12.

Meanwhile, the saviour/onemansavestheworld concept continues to this very day with some silly Superman-related mp3s:
13 & God "Superman On Ice" (mp3)
AC/DC "What's Next To The Moon"
American Hi-Fi "The Rescue" (mp3)
Atmosphere "Superman"
Black Lace "Superman" (mp3)
Blindside "Superman" (amazon)
Brad Street Band "Am I Superman Yet" (mp3)
Bush "Superman" (mp3)
Cafe of the Gate of Salvation "Superman's Prayer" (mp3)
Catman Cohen "Superman (It's Not Easy)". A Five For Fighting Cover.
Crash Test Dummies "Superman's Song" (mp3)
David Bowie "The Superman" (mp3)
Don McLean "Superman's Ghost"
Donovan "Sunshine Superman" (mp3)
Down By Law "Superman" (mp3)
Eminem "Superman"
Firewater "So Long, Superman"
Five For Fighting "Superman (It's Not Easy)" (mp3)
Genesis "Land of Confusion"
Goldfinger "Superman" (mp3)
Good Charlotte "Superman Can't Walk"
Hal Ketchum "Hang In There Superman"
Heaven 17 "The Contenders"
Ingram Hill "Superman"
Iron & Wine "Waiting For A Superman" (mp3). A Flaming Lips cover.
Jim Offerman Band "Like Superman" (mp3). From a father to a daughter.
Killing Heidi "Superman Supergirl"
Kissing Book "Superman vs Lloyd" (mp3)
Laurie Anderson "O Superman" (mp3)
Lazlo Bane "Superman" (mp3)
Lucian St. John Lumeire Scot "I Saw Superman" (mp3). He was driving in a Hyundai.
Luna Halo "Superman"
Matthew Clay "I Killed Superman" (mp3)
Maxeen "Save Me"
Miguel Bose "Super, Superman"
Musical Schizophrenia "Not A Superman" (mp3)
Nightmare of You "Waitin' For Superman" (mp3)
Our Lady Peace "Superman's Dead" (mp3)
Paramore "My Hero" (mp3). A Foo Fighters cover.
Pillar "Original Superman". How Jesus is better than Superman. ;-)
R.E.M. "Superman" (mp3). A Clique cover.
Receiving End Of Sirens "Superman"
Robert Pollard "Red Ink Superman"
Spin Doctors "Jimmy Olson's Blues"
Stephen Grayce "Superman For Free" (mp3)
Stereophonics "Superman" (mp3)
Stone Temple Pilots "Silvergun Superman"
Sufjan Stevens "Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" (mp3)
The Academy Is "Superman" (mp3)
The Clique "Superman" (mp3)
The Films "Sunshine Superman"
The Flaming Lips "Waiting For A Superman" (mp3)
The Kinks "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" (mp3)
The Matches "Superman"
The Robies "Superman"
The Sun "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman"
Three Doors Down "Kryptonite"
Throw Rag "Superman"
Victor Scott "Superman" (mp3)

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1 Comments:

At August 09, 2006 10:40 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is one super superman mp3 list you've got there :p

 

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