Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Story - Chapter 10
Standing Tall, Falling Hard

I am not a tall man and have long ago embraced my height (or lack thereof) and have even found some advantages to being vertically-challenged. Here are some:

• Shorter fall to the ground.
• You don't hit your head so often.
• You can get in places at kids prices.
• The atmosphere is less rarefied.
• You can fit in to a locker to hide from bullies.
• You can do the limbo without breaking your back.

… and the list goes on!

I bring up the height issue because in this week's reading one of the descriptions of Saul includes that he was a head taller than anyone else. As a short person I wonder why this is important enough to include in the inspired record. Is it just a passing comment or is this somehow related to the choice of Saul as king? I tend to believe the latter to be true.

Saul's height no doubt contributed to his selection as king. Right or wrong, his imposing stature must have given the Israelites confidence that he could rule powerfully. It needs to be noted also that Saul is described by the phrase "as handsome a man as could be found anywhere in Israel." Outward appearance was a factor in who would be considered fit to rule as a king!

But his height and good looks could not overcome some serious character flaws. As Saul's story plays itself out he does indeed stand tall, but he just as surely falls hard.

Although as a short person it gives me some perverted joy in seeing the failure of man chosen for leadership in part because he was tall, I contend that his failure was not due to his height or his good looks. People don’t fail or succeed because of their outward appearance. As my mom always told me, it's what's inside that counts!

I think this little brief description exposes a problem that doomed the Israelites and really has doomed mankind since the very beginning. We tend to make judgments based on appearance when we really need to look at people a little deeper. We tend to be partial to people who look a certain way and that is a dangerous road to take.

James puts it quite bluntly -- If you treat one person as being more important than another, you are sinning. You are guilty of breaking God’s law. (James 2:9 - NCV)

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