By Anthony Casperson
Over the past month or so, I’ve seen many people playing a particular video game (and while the new Animal Crossing could also qualify, no I’m not talking about that game). The long-awaited remake of Final Fantasy VII has been on many people’s to-play lists, though as weeks go on, it has been slowly ebbing away from public gamer consciousness as they complete the game.
The game follows a character, named Cloud Strife, an ex-SOLDIER mercenary who starts the game with a stereotypically giant JRPG/anime sword (the Buster Sword). He joins a rag-tag group of individuals who seek to right the wrongs of the governing leaders of their people.
Without getting into too many spoilers, the leaders spend much of the game pointing the blame for their own atrocities at the player’s controllable party. Public opinion is set very low toward this group of “traitors” from pretty close to the beginning of the story. But even through all of this, the team continues to fight for the good of that very public who has turned against them.
This mentality is given a face in an early cut scene. In it, a man on a train speaks up against this “terrorist group” that he doesn’t realize has members of within earshot. One of the team members (named Barret) stands up and begins to defend the organization’s actions as being for the benefit of everyone. Though ultimately Barret’s words fall on deaf ears because of his rather aggressive defense.
During this past month I’ve also been spending my morning bible reading time in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. When I got to 1 Samuel 21 and following, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between David and Cloud. This might be because when I picture David receiving the sword of Goliath in Nob, the Israelite ex-soldier looks the most anime of all bible characters. The giant’s sword probably wasn’t Buster Sword sized, but it was probably not far off of that. David himself even says that there is no sword like it.
But beyond the shared aesthetic, David gathers around him a rag-tag group of warriors who seek to make right the wrongs of King Saul, sins that have caused God to reject this king for another. And through all of this, Saul continues the propaganda machine of maligning David to the public.
Yes, David was held in high regard by much of the Israelite people after his defeat of Goliath. And his rising leadership role in the army of Israel continued this upward trend. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what public opinion of David was while he and his team of merry men evaded the single-minded king set on keeping his own dynasty seated on the throne.
And this questioning of public opinion increased in me after David’s retrieval of the dead giant’s sword. What does David do after he grabs the iconic weapon of Israel’s enemy? He goes to those very enemies for asylum.
So, here’s David taking up the weapon a Philistine and joining the hated enemy of Israel as a mercenary among their military ranks. He defected! David may have slain his ten thousands (of Philistines), but now he’s fighting on their side? The author of the book even tells us that David lived for a year in a town granted him by one of the five Philistine lords.
To be fair, David never raided an Israelite town or village (even if the Philistine lord thought David was doing just this). He continued God’s call to Israel of dealing with all of the non-Israelites dwelling in the land. Even while it looked to public opinion that David had turned away from God and his people, he was furthering the work of God that King Saul had ceased from doing.
David defended his position of helping his people very differently than Barret on that train. The future king of Israel let his actions show his care for the general populace, rather than ranting like a mad man.
And here we get to the application. Though none of us are RPG characters or future kings in exile (at least I hope that’s true, except for the cool giant swords), we do have the possibility of people not understanding our intentions. The misrepresentation of our actions that might seem to be working against the God we serve and the people we love. When in truth, what we’re doing is exactly for them.
The question arises, how will we respond? Will we stand up and argue in aggressive argumentation, or will we let our actions speak for themselves? It’s better to let the true Judge of everything reveal the value of our deeds, than seem to prove the hate spewed against us.
In the end, David was shown to the people as the God-chosen king of the land. Justice might have seemed slow, but it came without having to grasp for it. Will God not work similarly for us?