Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Samuel 14--My Commentary

I am half-way through my 3-year trek through the Bible. I am now in I Samuel and have read every chapter more than once, thus the reason that my trek is 3-years instead of 1-year. I want to absorb the scripture.

Chapter 14:6-13 has really struck a cord with me.

In chapter 14, Saul is once again battling the Philistines. This time they are winning and the Israelite troops have scattered and are hiding in caves. Saul and his advisers are pondering what to do next. Jonathan, Saul's son, decides to take matters in his own hands.

v.6: Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few."

Jonathan was not convinced that the Lord had left them. His faith was not shaken. While the other troops were hiding, he was pushing forward by himself. He did not wait for the leader or anyone else to start thinking the way he did. He just took up his armor and went to do the job he felt God had called him to do.

v.7-"Do all that you have in mind," his armor-bearer said. "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."
v.8-Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us.
v.9-If they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them.
v.10-But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands."
v.11-So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. "Look!" said the Philistines. "The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in."
v.12-The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson." So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel."

Jonathan did not wait for a priest to tell him what to do. He laid the possibilities before himself, his armor bearer, and God. If they were to ask him to "Come" then he would know God is on their side, and they should proceed.

The Philistines did call Jonathan to come. The answer was clear. The way for them to proceed was clear. And it was all because Jonathan's faith in God was not shaken and his courage to proceed was not limited to the number of people with him.

I asked my dad, who has been studying the Bible for more years than I've been alive, why situations can't be so obvious now. Why can't we say to God if this is "a" then we will proceed?" My Dad explained that "God speaks to people where they are." He meets you. You do not have to rise to His level in order to follow him. And, yes, those situations do happen today.

Later, I realized that at times the situation is as obvious as Jonathan's. The path that seems impossible is laid out before us. The answer is clear. The way to proceed is clear. But, for it all to be clear to us, we must have an unshakable faith and the courage to step forward whether we have anyone with us or not. If we only have our armor bearer with us, we must have the courage to move forward and follow God.

Who knew faith and courage went hand-in-hand? Who knew that the son of Saul could teach us so much about following God?

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