Friday, August 11, 2017

EmmDev 2017-08-11 [Lessons from Samuel] Jonathan's contrast #1

Jonathan's contrast #1

BACKGROUND: There is still a stalemate between Israel and Philistine. Saul's army has shrunk to 600 and only Saul and Jonathan have steel weapons because the Philistines have killed all the blacksmiths in Israel - effectively disabling the Israelites who can't even sharpen a plowshare without going to a Philistine blacksmith. Saul is pacing around ineffectually in Gibeah while his son, Jonathan, is scouting the enemy.
Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 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. 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."
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." 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."
13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.
15 Then panic struck the whole army--those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties--and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.      (1Samuel14:8-15)
Jonathan is very different from his father...
Saul is fearful and conscious about what people think. Saul is led by people's opinions.
Jonathan is courageous and trusts God. Jonathan leads people by example.

This account is a lovely example of Jonathan's faith, leadership and courage:

  • Jonathan is a Godly leader: Listen the the conversation between him and his armour bearer when they decide to venture into the "no-man's land" between the Israelites and Philistines:
    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." "Do all that you have in mind," his armor-bearer said. "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."(1Sam14:6-7)
    This is wonderful faith and great leadership!
    The armour bearer doesn't even have a steel weapon, but he is willing to lay his life on the line following Jonathan.
  • Jonathan trusts God to guide him. We might be very sceptical of Jonathan's "fleece" - "If they come down we run, if they call us up God is with us." But Jonathan is willing to act on whatever the guidance is. He is open and ready to follow where he thinks God is leading.
  • Jonathan is courageous. It is tactically disadvantageous to go up to your enemy. The hill is so steep he has to climb with his hands and feet - he can't even hold his weapon. But he gets to the top and with deep faith in God's promise, he defeats the enemy.

    And God blesses Jonathan's faith, courage and leadership.
    The enemy falls and divine panic consumes the Philistines.
    This panic will lead to overall victory for the Israelites, but more on that next week...

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