Saul and the Serenity Prayer…



1 Samuel 20:27 And Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why has the son of Jesse (David) not come to the feast, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem; 29 he said, ‘Let me go; for our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your sight, let me get away, and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.” 30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan. He said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.”

King Saul had been told by the prophet Samuel that, due to his lack of faith, God was taking the kingdom from him and giving it to another – to David. Here we see Saul refusing to accept his fate and trying to change the course of events. Saul figured if he could kill David then his own son Jonathan could assume the throne when Saul’s time was done. As you might expect, it was a losing battle. It was just a matter of time before God’s plan would be fulfilled.

There’s a famous prayer (Serenity Prayer) that goes, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” I understand the impulse of Saul to fight to protect his throne, and to protect his son’s right to inherit that throne. Unfortunately Saul didn’t understand he was trying to change something which could not be changed. He lacked what the Serenity Prayer refers to as “wisdom”.

This morning I’m thinking of my own “wisdom”, or lack thereof. I wonder where I’m trying to change that which cannot be changed. Or where I need to make a change, but am convinced it’s beyond my capacity to do so. There’s a fine line between courage and foolishness, isn’t there?

Lord give me grace to know the difference. Amen.


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