Striving for Peer Approval, King Saul Falls from his ‘High Horse’

Striving for Peer Approval (and Stardom), King Saul Falls from his ‘High Horse’

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Envy and strife cause so much needless folly and tragic trouble.

Jealous Saul strives against David, to destroy David, but God providentially protects David.

Seeking Popularity and Vainglory Leads to Foolish Strivings

Haughty Saul, atop his “high hoss”,
Was so proud, of how he was “boss”;
David’s fans were so zealous,
That Saul became jealous —
Saul’s envy led to his own loss.

And the women answered one another, as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his 1000s, and David his 10,000s. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he [i.e., Saul] said, They have ascribed unto David 10,000s, and to me they have ascribed but 1000s; and what can he have more but the kingdom? (Quoting 1st Samuel 18:7-8 — see also, accord, 1st Samuel 21:11 & 1st Samuel 29:5)

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16)

Some things don’t change all that much – certainly it is a timeless truth that “envy and strife” produce “confusion” and all kinds of trouble” (James 3:16). Even nowadays, in plain view, we see many examples of this tragic-but-true reality. And yet how ironic it is that David was so much more qualified to lead than Saul, his detractor, was. Although Saul seems, from outward appearances to be “head and shoulders” above his “peers” (an early example of how “peer review” is often an unreliable “veneer review”), it was David whom God recognized as qualified for carrying the responsibility of leadership (compare 1st Samuel 9:2 with 1st Samuel 16:7). Picking the flashy crowd-pleaser for leadership may seem like a “natural selection” (pardon the pun), but God makes intelligent and purposeful selections, based on His brilliant wisdom and moral judgment.

If we really understand our uniqueness as God’s creatures we won’t quickly fall for competitive strife and jealousy, trying to one-up someone else whose God-given assignments in life don’t belong to us anyway. Appreciating our own uniqueness, as God’s created and redeemed children, can help us to enjoy a life accented by gratitude and contentment.(1)

Peer pressure, whether it comes from singing “fans” or so-called “peer review”(2), is anchored in seeking to please other humans to gain “fame” and “popularity”, i.e., the approval of their peers.(3)  But that motive clashes with prioritizing God’s honor and approval (see John 5:44 & Ephesians 6:6).


(1) See “Of Grackles and Gratitude”, Acts & Facts, 41(7):8-10 (July AD2012), posted at  —  and “Valuing God’s Variety”, Acts & Facts, 42(9):8-10 (Sept. AD2012), posted at .

(2) “Forensic Science Frustrated by ‘Peer Review'”, Acts & Facts, 44(2):18 (February AD2015), posted at .

(3) See also “Saul, a Tall Man, Short on Faith”, my earlier limerick blogpost posted at .

Trump Rejects the False Alarmism of the ‘Paris Climate Accord’ Scam

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)



Dr. James J. S. Johnson

While ‘global warming’ scams try to scare us
Obama signed a bad deal to snare us
A hoax on emissions
For crooked ambitions
But Trump dumped the agreement of Paris!

COMMENTARY:  As Genesis 8:22 indicates, God has established seasonal cycles that we can depend upon, allowing limited variety in climate, contained within bounds of resilience and regularity. At times the earth gets warmer (like the Medieval Warm Period, when the Viking Age flourished); at other times it cools (like the Little Ice Age, when the Hanseatic League saw its monopoly dissipate). But it is both empirical dishonesty (i.e., science fiction, mobilized by political funding) and quixotic silliness to suggest that mere mortals can change global climate patterns – much less control them! Yet such fake science is used to rationalize power-grabbing politics, with economic disasters imposed upon the so-called “little people”. Thankfully, President Trump batted one such scam away – as if striking it with a hockey stick – when he announced (on June 1st of AD2017) that America was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. One more victory for truth and justice – a win for America, for real-world science, and genuine “social justice”.

Fair Use photo credit (President Trump keeping campaign promises): Daily Signal

Political cartoon spoofing Obama’s “global warming” alarmism:  Branco

God made the cosmos with super-small details.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.   (Hebrews 11:3)

God, through Christ, created the physical matter-energy cosmos out of nothing, and then God constructively shaped that physical matter-energy, at the super-small detailed level (i.e., what we today call “particle physics”), using particles and energy so small that we cannot see that level of detail with our human eyesight.   See Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:3.)


God made the cosmos, so He owns the cosmos.

The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.  (Psalm 89:11)

Because God created and formed the heavens, He owns them and they glorify Him (just by being what they are)  — whether we humans admit it or not.  (See Genesis chapter 1 & 14:22; Deuteronomy 10:14; Nehemiah 9:6; 1st Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 8:1 & 19:1 & 57:5 & 89:11.)    

God made the cosmos huge, with stars of huge numbers and at huge distances from Earth.

He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.  (Psalm 147:4)

God, through Christ, created physical matter-energy cosmos out of nothing, and then constructively shaped that physical matter-energy, in the stretched-out expanse, as innumerable stars (and other heavenly bodies), so many and so far away (i.e., the heavens are so huge) that we cannot see that level of detail with human eyesight. (See Genesis 15:5; Deuteronomy 28:62; Isaiah 55:9; Jeremiah 33:22; Hebrews 11:12.)  Even so, God can count the exact number of the universe’s stars (Psalm 147:4a) — and God knows each of His stars, including His name for each one of them (Psalm 147:4b).

Why Kangaroo Rats Don’t Get Dehydrated in the Desert

Behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. (Jeremiah 50:12b)

DESERT SCRUBLAND near EL PASO, TX photo credit: Pinterest

Kangaroo rats thrive in America’s hot, dry deserts —  so why don’t they suffer from being dehydrated?  How do they get enough water to survive, since they don’t need to drink water like almost all other mammals?

In short, God has designed and constructed kangaroo rats so that they get their water from their food, especially drought-resistant seeds that abound in the desert.  As they digest such xeric foods, the rats produce (within themselves) all the water that they need, metabolically (i.e., from the normal digestion process), and they retain most of that water by releasing very little of it in their urine (as noted below).

In sum, kangaroo rats are made to get their water form their food and to conserve it better than other animals do.   (In this respect the kangaroo rat is much like a camel.)

The kangaroo rat is a rodent, but it is unlike any other rodent on Earth: it is able to survive in the desert with virtually no drinking water. The camel is the only other mammal that can match this feat…. This humble creature lives in the desert regions of North America … [with] a large head and eyes, short forelimbs and long hind limbs, and a body that ranges in length from 10 to 16 cm (4 to 6.5 in). They can jump up to 1.8 m (6 ft) in a single leap. Like [kangaroos], the kangaroo rat balances on its hind legs and hops. But that’s where the similarity ends. Kangaroo rats live in burrows by day, foraging by night for seeds, leaves and other vegetation, and carrying food in their cheek pouches to store in their underground homes. They also occasionally eat insects. But how is it possible to live with virtually no drinking water? What makes the kangaroo rat different from other mammals, which would die within days in the desert without water? The answer lies mainly in the rat’s kidneys [maximally concentrating urine, minimizing water loss]. Research has shown that the kangaroo rat produces the most concentrated urine of all mammals, and only passes a few drops per day. Humans drink a lot of water, and also gain moisture through food. As such, our urine is quite dilute. Kangaroo rats, on the other hand, take in very little water and so produce urine that is even more concentrated than that of the camel (which also concentrates its urine to survive without water). This means that the kangaroo rat loses little water in its urine. Scientists have marvelled at how the kangaroo rat’s kidney works. The study of this organ—in particular the Loop of Henle, which enables the concentration process to take place—has led to a better understanding of how human kidneys work. The kangaroo rat’s Loop of Henle is much longer than that of other rodents.  [Quoting Paula Weston, Creation Ex Nihilo, 26(3):18-20 (June 2004).

KANGAROO RAT, Sonoran Desert (Pinterest photo credit)

God cleverly designed this water-conserving rat’s kidney system to fit and to “fill” desert habitats!

The kangaroo rat … probably never takes a drink in its entire life time. In captivity, it lives nicely on just barley seeds. Carbon dioxide, water, and energy-release are the results of the [oxidative] combustion of fuel [such as gasoline]. As oxygen combines with carbohydrates, carbon dioxide is formed from the burning of the carbon atom[-based hydrocarbon or carbohydrate molecules], and water is formed from leftover hydrogen atoms. In like manner, the metabolism which powers living animals produces carbon dioxide, water, and energy-release. This metabolic water, if conserved, is sufficient to meet the needs of many small rodents. These rodents retreat to burrows during high temperature, thus keeping evaporation [of water] to a minimum. They have very efficient kidneys, which produce a urine relatively low in water concentration, and they produce very dry feces. Their ability to exist on metabolic water (probably along with licking up some dew [when available]) means that they have no need for drinking water. Some foods—seeds, in particular—are especially good at allowing the formation of metabolic water and … they are abundant in the desert. Parts of the North American desert have been found to contain from 5,000,000 upwards to 100,000,000 seeds per acre. One kangaroo rat was found to have over 900 seeds tucked away in his cheek pouches. Caching [i.e., storing] seeds appears to be a compulsive habit of many arid-country rodents. In deserts characterized by continually shifting sand and dunes, some insect species live their entire lives under the sand, existing solely on organic matter, including seeds which have blown in and been covered. [Quoting John Meyer & Kenneth Cumming, “Biology of Grand Canyon”, in GRAND CANYON: MONUMENT TO CATASTROPHE (Santee, CA: ICR, 1994), page 163.]

KANGAROO RAT photo credit:

But, the kangaroo rat can’t retain water until he gets it — so it’s vital that the little rat gets enough nutritious seeds for metabolically producing water, via digestion.  Notice how critical desert-surviving seeds are, to the kangaroo rat’s diet.

There are a number of mechanisms used by plants to help them adapt to [i.e., ecologically fill niches in] the dry conditions of the desert. Some flowers succeed by sheer opportunism, only germinating , flowering, and seeding every ten years or so when the conditions [for progressing through their life cycles] are right. Went [i.e., botanist Frits Warmolt W. Went] writes: ‘Probably their most remarkable feature is that they are perfectly normal plants, with no special adaptations [sic] to withstand drought. Yet they are not found outside the desert areas. The reason lies in the peculiar cautiousness of their seeds. In dry years the seeds lie dormant. This itself is not at all amazing; what is remarkable is that they refuse to germinate even after a rain unless the rainfall [such as rains during rare desert flashfloods] is at least half an inch, and preferably an inch or two.’ In fact, [because] living organisms are designed by a Perfect Engineer, they should reflect not only the best possible solution to various problems presented by the environment, but also utilize the most efficient solutions—those expending the least amount of energy and materials while producing the exact degree of performance required by the organism, and, at the same time, with little or [in a pre-Fall world] no waste.  [John Meyer & K. Cumming, “Biology of Grand Canyon”, in GRAND CANYON: MONUMENT TO CATASTROPHE (Santee: ICR, 1994; Steve Austin, general editor), page 159.]

Next time you see a kangaroo rat in the desert — or think of one — be amazed at God’s providential design and construction of the little rodent!  God has made sure that the little hopper gets (and keeps) enough water to survive, even in the hot and dry deserts, such as the Chihuahuan Desert lands of far West Texas, or even in southern California’s Death Valley wilderness.

O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.  (Psalm 63:1)

God made the heavens for good, yet sinful humans idolatrously misuse the heavens.

I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests, and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham, and them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor enquired for him.  (Zephaniah 1:4-6)

Sinful mankind, on repeated occasions, has idolatrously worshiped the sun and/or moon and/or stars, rather than thanked God for making those heavenly objects for God’s glory and for mankind’s benefit. (See Genesis 11:4; Deuteronomy 4:19 & 17:3; Psalm 19:1 & 148:3; 2nd Kings 21:3; 2nd Chronicles 33:3; Jeremiah 19:13; Zephaniah 1:5.)  “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1a), yet those liars who refuse to give God credit for creating the cosmos, also dishonestly refuse to give God credit for the glory that they see displayed within the heavens.  Consequently, such impious observers (of the heavens) steal credit that is due God, and misapply that credit to the material components of the universe  —  thereby worshiping the creation instead of its Creator (Romans 1:25).  This idolatrous worship of the heavens began early in human history (see, e.g., Genesis 11:4; Job 31:26-27; Deuteronomy 4:19, etc.).

This idolatrous cosmogony continues to this day, especially in the form of the so-called “big bang” theory of cosmogony (a pseudo-science myth illustrating 1st Timothy 6:20, largely hatched as the “cosmic egg” theory by Roman Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre, professor at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium), a Bible-rejecting myth that pretends that the universe is accidently self-made.  The ultimate result of this modern mythology is that “big bang” proponents (as they reject the perspicuous truth of Genesis) irrationally admire and adore the material universe itself, for (supposedly) “creating” itself, instead of rationally admiring and adoring the great and glorious God Who actually created (and sustains) the vast heavens in all of its component glories (1st Corinthians 15:40-41).  Yet the heavens themselves declare God’s glory!