I have been spending my spare time writing a study of the “Old Testament” Scriptures and so far, I have completed I Samuel. As it happens, Chapter 14 is one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible (notice I said “one of my favorites” not my favorite. Romans Chapter 8 would probably be my favorite). But I Samuel Chapter 14 introduces us to Jonathan, Saul’s son, and it demonstrates some interesting things about him (and his father).
Chapter 14 continues a time when the Philistines were hassling the Hebrews again. and verses 6-16 says that Jonathan looked at his armor-bearer and said, “Hey, let’s see what God can do. Naturally the Lord is going to win the battle, whether by many or a few. Just for fun, let’s see if He does it by a few—like two?” It reminds me of David’s encounter with Goliath when I read about Jonathan’s faith and certainty that if the Lord wants Israel delivered it doesn’t matter whether it’s accomplished by 2 men, or 2,000. Numbers don’t matter. Y’honatan and his servant (called here an armor bearer) would see how the Philistines responded to their provocation. If the Philistine soldiers say, “Stay there until we come down to you,” then that’s what they’ll do. If they say, “come up towards us,” then this will be a sign from God and go up to them.
Now I have to tell you if we were there at the time I’m not sure how many of us would have regarded Jonathan’s plan as good and commendable faith, or a suicidal and brash attempt to test God by a couple of guys suffering from a testosterone rush. But me? I love men of courage and boldness. It’s infectious and encouraging. And the armor bearer seems to be either merely faithful to his leader or a man of courage, as well, because he didn’t ask for an immediate transfer. However, there is a lesson for us all about how the Lord makes use of those who inhabit His Kingdom and trust Him in all things. In many ways, Jonathan was just like his father, Saul: impetuous, kind of a show-off, hot-tempered, and rash. Yet the difference is that Jonathan was as unselfish as Saul was selfish and as noble as Saul was base. Jonathan was as determined in his faith and belief in God’s power and wisdom and ability to deliver as Saul was determined that he would manipulate the Lord for his own purposes and risk nothing.
We see how two men of essentially the same temperament and personality can at the same time be so opposite in their natures. Saul was being used by the Lord to show us everything that a leader in the Kingdom of God should not be, and Jonathan was a demonstration of what can happen when a person focuses on God and not his circumstances. King Saul was led by his own lusts, desires, and inner demons. Jonathan was led by the Holy Spirit. And despite the deep faults and troublesome personality traits that characterized them both, their destinies were night and day apart due to a single all-encompassing personal choice that each had made at some point in their lives: would they or would they not obey the Lord at all costs.
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