26 September 2007

A Famous Man or A Certain Man?

Most people want to be a Famous man. We can easily rattle off famous names, Bill Gates, Li Ka Shing, Lee Kuan Yew, and Gandhi. But a certain man? An anonymous certain man?

Today in reading 2 Samuel 18:1-18, the thought that captured my imagination is the phrase, "a certain man" in v.10. In the Bible, instead of the exploits of the rich and famous, we are often introduced to the poor and obscure. Yet these poor and obscure did significant things that changed the course of history. It was an obscure Galilean carpenter that died for the sins of the world. It was 11 obscure nobody fishermen and rag-tag band that changed the world upside down.

In this passage, it was an obscure soldier that spotted Absalom and told Joab. He was just a common soldier - a nobody, who saw what no one else saw: Absalom, hanging on the oak tree, caught by his thick hair. It was a ridiculous sight. A general (where were his troops?), on a mule (not a horse?), stuck in an oak tree, being careful not to scream for help to the wrong search party.

This certain man. not only saw it, he heard it too. He heard what David told his 3 generals as they left for war, that they should deal kindly with Absalom for David's sake. He knew that he should not kill Absalom bit to capture him alive. But Joab did not share his sentiments nor the commands of the king. Joab speared Absalom thrice and got his armour bearers to finish off the job. This certain man, did not touch Absalom for he feared the king and knew that Joab would not stand by his side if questioned by David. He was a wise certain man, who, saw it, heard it, knew it and also hold it. He had restraint unlike Joab.

For me, I know I'll never be a famous man, since at this past middle age I'm still not one. I am at peace and contented to be a certain man, who values His Word and is obedient to it. One who can see and hear His Word and to apply it to his life. One who knows the Word and orders his life by the Word.

I may not do very big and famous things on planet earth, but I am contented to be that certain man, who through walking with God, do significant and strategic things that will alter the course of history. Here, my source of strength is not in myself, but in God.

Throughout the passage, God's powers and presence is evident. But few can see it outright. The forest devoured more than the sword. The smaller size army won. 20,000 enemy soldiers were killed. Absalom caught in an oak tree. Surely, all these are signs of God at work!

I pray for God's powers and presence to be made manifest in my life daily. Though there is no "pillar" erected to remember me (like Absalom), it is alright. A quiet death and a sure route to heaven is enough.

It is well with my soul.

postscript: Absalom erected a pillar of stones for others to remember him. At death, he was thrown in a deep pit, in the forest, with a great heap of stones erected over it. What a sad ending. Finishing well is important.

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