Archive | December 2014

Like Father Not Like Son

What a difference between Saul and Jonathon (I Samuel 13 and 14)

While Saul is fretting in the Israelite camp about all the fighting men he’s losing (13:11), Jonathan crosses over to the Philistine garrison with “perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord Himself from saving whether by many or by few.” (14:6)

While Saul is fretting in the Israelite camp about all the Philistines gathering against him and how they might come after him (13:11), Jonathon comes up with a plan for God to give them a sign and boldly carries out that plan, allowing himself to be seen by the enemy (14:8-10)

Saul’s watchmen report panicking Philistines scattering in every direction and Saul orders roll call of 600 men to see who’s missing instead of ordering the troops to pursue and overtake. Saul doesn’t even realize his son is missing, which tells us Jonathon was accustomed to spending more time with the men than his father’s court. Saul doesn’t even call for his son before he orders roll call. Than Saul calls for the ark which is still in the care of the cursed family of Eli. The Philistine panic increases which finally inspires Saul to action. Meanwhile, Jonathon is busy slaying and scattering the enemy (14:16-19)

Saul doesn’t fight for God, he fights for himself and his pride, and curses the fighting man who eats. It’s as if deep down he knows he deserves to be defeated and so sets himself up for failure. Jonathon is busy fighting for the Lord and will give Him the glory (14:24)

Jonathon speaks out about his father’s unwise order. The Philistine slaughter would have been greater had the fighting men been allowed to eat (14:29) Indeed, the men were so famished, they sinned by eating the meat with the blood still in it (14:38) Saul blames the troops instead of his order that his own son kindly admitted was unwise.

Now Saul is finally ready to attack. Apparently, his building an altar to the Lord has endowed him with God’s favor (he thinks). The priest reminds Saul to consult God, but God doesn’t answer (so much for the altar) (14:35-37)

God did punish Saul severely, but not for Jonathon’s deed. Saul is still impatient. He didn’t wait for Samuel at Gilgal, he wants to fight at night. He wants Jonathon dead now for upstaging him, while Jonathan remains loyal to his father and a humble soldier of the Lord (14:44)

Insights from I Samuel

3:20 “And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord.”

This verse appears at the end of the story of God calling the boy Samuel and after the verse stating “this Samuel grew”. So he’s still very young here. Perhaps the same age as Jesus was when He stayed at the Temple amazing the Pharisees, scribes and teachers of the Law. What a difference in responses from the people of Israel. All of Israel recognized Samuel as a prophet of the Lord. Israel’s recognition of Jesus was divided and Jesus certainly didn’t receive the same respect from the religious authorities as Samuel did.
Luke 2:21 reports all were amazed at Jesus’ understanding and answers. Luke 2:52 reports Jesus grew in favor with men – nothing at all like all Israel knew He was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. Israel in the immoral and lawless time of the Judges recognized God working and moving better than Israel under Roman rule.

10:7 “And it shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God us with you.”

When God confirms something in our lives, we should not hold back our response, our worship.

14:9-10 “If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you’, then we will stand in our place and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us’, then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hands; this shall be the sign.”

What a difference between Jonathon’s sign and Gideon’s sign of the fleece in Judge 6:36-40. Jonathon sets out to engage the enemy. Gideon is determined to hide from his. Jonathon puts himself in harm’s way trusting God to handle any situation that arises. Gideon stays safe in his hiding place and doesn’t trust God at all. Jonathon is active. Gideon is passive. Jonathon uses the word of his enemy for his sign. Gideon uses an inanimate object. Jonathon doesn’t hesitate at all. Gideon does nothing but hesitate. Jonathon’s sign is dangerous, Gideon’s is safe. Jonathon’s sign is immediate, Gideon’s takes overnight and then another full 24 hours for the repeat. Jonathon’s sign could only occur once and was part of what he was working to accomplish. Gideon’s sign was repeatable and had nothing at all to do with what God wanted done. Perhaps the difference had to do with the fact that Jonathon was a soldier and Gideon wasn’t. Perhaps experience was the difference. Definitely faith was.

17:7 “His (Goliath’s) spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron part of his spear weighed 15 pounds. In addition, a shield bearer was walking in front of him.”

What size shield bearer? Goliath was 9’9” tall! His shield would have been 5-6’ tall – maybe 8 or 9’. It would have been 3’ wide, maybe more. The shield bearer had to have been a large man. How did he see where he was going? Were there peepholes in the shield? He certainly wasn’t very loyal. When David kills Goliath, the shield bearer is nowhere to be found.

Parallels between Judges and the Christian Life

1:27 The tribes did not take possession of the certain areas; We do not take possession of all that God has for us – the abundant life

1:28 The Israelites did not completely drive out the Canaanites; We do not completely drive out our old sinful ways

2:22 God tested Israel to see if they would keep the way of the Lord by leaving the Canaanites in the land; God tests us to see if we will follow Jesus by leaving us in the world

2:2 Israel made covenants with the enemy; We make compromises

2:10 The Israelites failed to teach their children about God; We fail to teach our children about God

2:10 The Israelites didn’t tell their children about the work God had done for Israel; We don’t tell our children or other people about the work God has done in our lives

2:11-13 The Israelites forsook God and served other gods around them; We forsake God and we serve other gods (idols)

2:14 God gave the Israelites into the hands of their enemies; God lets us go our own way even if it means giving us over to our idols

2:18 The Israelites groaned because of the oppression of their enemies; Our spirits groan because of the oppression of our idols

2:16 God raised up judges who delivered the Israelites from their enemies; God sends the Holy Spirit to convict us and deliver us from our idols