Archive for February 17th, 2008

No More Excuses!

Today’s reading, if you follow the 3-Year Reading Plan along with St. Philip’s is 1 Samuel 14:1-23. And despite the stolen glory from yesterday’s exploits in chapter 13, Jonathan is still determined to free God’s people from the oppression of the Philistines.

So Jonathan makes what most would deem as a rash and foolish decision to confront the Philistines himself with his armor-bearer. It was not just social suicide (see Ruth 1) but physical suicide to boot!

And what can be said of his armor bearer? Two lessons immediately come to mind:

1) He had such implicit trust in Jonathan, that he was willing to risk his very life to follow him into this apparently definite losing situation.

I’m challenged by Jonathan’s assistant’s willingness to trust a man with his very life, and yet I hesitate to show that same kind of trust in God…with every aspect of my life. Do I have as much faith in God’s judgment and direction as the armor bearer did in Jonathan?

2) God was going to use Jonathan, but He wasn’t going to use Jonathan alone. Almost always, when God uses a person, He calls others around that person to support and help them. They are just as important in getting God’s work done as the person God uses.

So, if you can’t be a Jonathan, then find a Jonathan – and attach yourself to him as like Jonathan’s armor bearer. Be an encourager to the Jonathans around you!

Another irony of this story is

“Jonathan boldly goes over to the Philistine garrison”

while his father

“Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree”

(I imagine him having a productive corporate meeting, I’m sure!)

Oh Lord, make me like Jonathan, “be up and be doing” rather than like the slothful man who talks himself to death.

It seems to me that Jonathan’s secrecy in going over to the enemy’s stronghold only confirms that he is not doing this out of personal glory to vindicate his name from yesterday’s chapter.

Looking at the situation, he probably realized if he had run it by his pop, Saul would have said “no” and given a million excuses why it is not the right path to take.

But Jonathan felt called, and entrusted his armor-bearer with his strategy. They were both 100% committed to the call of God for deliverance.

For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few:

What wise courage in God! I believe this as a theological truth. But do I believe it enough to do something? Or am I like Saul who did not engage in battle until it seemed like a “sure thing”. It seems he is so afraid to fail, that he didn’t want to do anything. Me too 😦

Then after God answered the sign to Jonathan, what must his heart have felt? The jubilation of it all! Or was it rather the temptation to quit or ignore the sign?

It was a steep long climb to get up to the Philistines, a perfectly good excuse not to go up (at least in my book!)

But Jonathan got on “his hands and knees and climbed!”

Lord help me to either be a Jonathan full of bold trust, or an armor-bearer who is willing to support those who valiantly go forward against all logic, rationalization and reason. And grant that just as both Jonathan and his assistant undertoke the hardship to get down on their hands and knees to climb, that I too would find myself empower by You to do likewise.