Archive for the ‘Jonathan’ Tag

A Remnant   1 comment


This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

Isaiah 1: 9:  “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”

Jonathan, Saul’s son, said that it is nothing with God to save with a few or with many (1Samuel 14:6-15). And he went into the camp of Philistines, with his armour bearer, just the two of them, with that understanding. Definitely, he was a man of strong faith.

He did not wait to get permission, to get a consensus, he did not call for volunteers and he caused such a commotion. After killing a few in direct combat, God sent an earthquake to back up his audacious initiative.

In the time of Gideon, God told him to go and deliver Israel as one man, but he thought he was very small (Judges 6-7). He thought he was the least person in Israel that should be considered for that job. Eventually with only a few hundred people he led the people to strike the enemy. God said he did so that Israel will not think that she made it happen by her own strength and so become puffed up.

David as one man defeated the army of Philistine (1Samuel 17). Goliath has put himself forward from among the them are a representative, as a champion, and asked that someone from Israel come forward for a one-on-one battle, instead of the full armies confronting each other. He was so sure of himself, sure of his war experience, sure of his big spear and his giant stature.

But David showed up as someone without those credentials. But he came fully kited with trust in God and at the end of his encounter with Goliath, David stood with his cut-off head in his hand and the remaining army of the Philistine fleeing, not believing their eyes.

The one in whom they trusted was downed by a young lad barely weaned from his mother’s breast milk. They did not know that out of the mouth of babes and suckling God has ordained strength to silence the enemy (Psalm 8:2).

God used a young man, with only a stone and a sling, with virtually no experience on the battlefield to give Israel victory at that time over their perennial enemy, cause to flee the battlefield in total disarray.

God is not so enamoured by the crowd as he is with the state of people’s heart. He sees the heart and not the appearance. He said though many people call him lord, lord; he only regards those who do what he says (Luke 6:46). Many may shout Jesus is Lord, but a few live it.

He said there are two roads, one to life and the other destruction. The one to destruction has popular appeal, it is a broad road, many find it; it is the place for the crowd. But the road that goes to life is narrow, and a few find it. It is the path to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). The high calling is highly costly. Few can pay the prize.

God asked a question: Who shall I send, who shall go from us (Isaiah 6:1-8)? Isaiah answered: here am I send me. He decided to choose what God chooses, leave his own preference to embrace God, to speak the words of God, while others speak their own words, he chose to represent God while other represent themselves. He represents the remnant. And God told him not to fear what the people fear nor come to their ungodly conclusion (Isaiah 8:12-13).

The bible says, everyone do proclaims his own goodness, but a faithful man who can find (Proverbs 20:6)? Those who look out for themselves are many but those who look out for the things of God are few.

David prayed, help lord, for the godly man ceases and the faithful perish among the sons of men, i.e. they are going into extinction, getting fewer and fewer in number, those who hold to moral values are diminishing in number (Psalm 12:1). They are a remnant, rear breed and hard to find.

Paul wrote that in the last days the Spirit expressly says that many shall become lovers of themselves; abandoning the love of God (2Timothy 3:1-2). But there will be a remnant. Will you be one of those who stay true to the end? Jesus said he who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).

When in the wilderness and the children of Israel fell into idolatry, Moses was angry and the wrath of God was burning against the people. And Moses called out: who is on the Lord’s side (Exodus 32:20-35)?

And the tribe of Levi stood up to be counted. Though one of the tribes of Israel, that day they began to journey to distinction in that nation.

Moses asked them to do something dangerous, something that will make them hated by men, hated by their brothers. Moses said they should take up dangerous instruments and kill their brothers and sisters from other tribes. And they obeyed. They chose relationship with God over relationship with their brothers, obedience to God over social expectations, similar to what Jesus said that if you do not hate your brothers and sisters you cannot be his disciples (Luke 14:26).

On the discipleship gate, there is no sign saying: everybody qualifies. Everybody is called but not everybody is accepted, not everyone qualifies (Matthew 22:14).

When Gideon blew the trumpet, in the time of the Judges, over thirty thousand showed up for war, but when the screening was done, only 300 were left.

These passed the test of fearlessness and the huddle of inner dispositions which was reflected in their physical posture when they wanted to get water from a river. You will think you have more chance of victory with such a crowd when you want to defeat an enemy, but in God’s calculation, having a crowd is not always linked to victory.

That means when you want to go forward in the will of God, you cannot act based on consensus, it is not about who agrees with you or who does not, who supports you or who does not, who sees things from your point of view or not.

When Jesus said he was going to die on the cross, his best pal, Peter was firmly against it (Matthew 16:21-23). Jesus did not say that he will go and think about it. He was harsh to Peter, telling him: get behind me Satan. He surely did not walk based on consensus but the will of God.

Similarly, when God asked Noah to build an ark to prepare a remnant when he planned to send a flood to the earth to destroy every living thing (Genesis 7). The only people saved were Noah and his family. Jesus revealed what happened at that time will repeat itself, in which people will continue in their previous lifestyles and normal social engagement when a major catastrophe was coming on the earth. The majority were blinded from the import of the moment while Noah and a few people member of the family was saved. Only a remnant was saved.

The Nakedness of Noah

Fear, Fury and the Fight   Leave a comment


By Lori Rodeheaver

David and Jonathan have spoken privately and David is to wait as Jonathan goes to find out his father’s intentions.  Because David trusts Jonathan with his life, he listens to him and goes and hides while Jonathan heads to the new moon feast and sits down with Saul.

 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.~1 Samuel 20:24-25

Although it was likely a very large feast, the text gives the impression that this is an elite table of big heads.  It seems that this table was meant for only four men – Saul, Jonathan, David, and Abner.  A few things are notable: 1. Saul sat with his back to the wall.  He was as paranoid as he was guilty and insecure. Sin makes us unstable. 2. Saul’s right hand man was neither his militarily courageous and honorably proven son, Jonathan, nor David who had also proven himself as such.  No.  Saul’s right hand man was Abner – his uncle who was a traitor and whose ambition really was for Saul’s throne. Sin makes us stupid. 3. David appeared to be extremely highly esteemed in Saul’s house.  Sin makes us inauthentic.

Let’s see what happens when David plays hooky.

 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him. ~1 Samuel 20:26-34

When one man is absent from a four man table, he’s bound to be missed.  Saul gives David one day.  He chalks the first “offense” up to life’s unpredictable circumstances.  But the second day, Saul really does begin to wonder.  Keep in mind that this is a man sitting with his back tot he wall.  He’s outrageously fearful, suspicious, and insecure even without this unknown cropping into his life.

Saul asks Jonathan where David is.  David was right – Saul was paying attention to their allegiance to one another.  He knew that if anyone knew David’s story, it would be Jonathan.

But Jonathan lies to protect David.  It doesn’t matter how valid the excuse for David’s absence was, when Saul realizes that his evil plans have been frustrated, he becomes irate.  Not only does he lose his temper uncontrollably, he turns on Jonathan and blames him for his own frustration and disappointment.

First, Saul begins to name-call.  He tears down Jonathan’s character calling him, in modern terms, a son of a whore, a traitor, and a fool.  Many a man’s rage begins with a flurry of profanity.

Next, he curses David’s whole family pretending that his concern was for Jonathan’s advantage.  He’s trying to get Jonathan on board with is murderous intentions.  He’s reminding Jonathan of what’s in it for him if he would just compromise and cooperate.  More accurately, he’s warning Jonathan about what he will lose if he does not comply.  Oh, how the Enemy loves to remind us of the pleasures of sin without warning us of its consequences!

No matter what Saul says or does to hurt him, Jonathan won’t budge.  He isn’t like Saul.  He doesn’t care about the throne and he isn’t looking out for number one.  He loves David and he tenaciously defends his friend in the face of evil and injustice.

Because of Jonathan’s stubborn resistance to do evil, Saul rages at him just as he did David.  His own son is now a victim of his homicidal temper tantrums.  What a sad excuse for a father, a leader, and king.  Oh, I forgot, he’s a human.

Little wonder why the text tells us that Jonathan was mad.  He wasn’t just mad, he left that episode in “fierce anger.”  So fierce, in fact, that he couldn’t even eat.  It wasn’t every day that a spread like the new moon festival brought would be laid out.  Yet Jonathan is livid and his appetite is for justice, not physical satiation.  Those who are most engaged in righteousness are least invested in worldliness.

Not only is he fiercely angry over his father’s sin and lack of reason, but he is also deeply disappointed and grieved.  He is disappointed because he had so genuinely believed better things about his father.  He had truly been convinced of his uprightness regarding this situation.  He is grieved because he has finally come to the awful realization that his father is indeed a cold-blooded killer who will stop at nothing to extinguish his best friend’s life.

Ironically , that which Saul accuses David of trying to steal from Jonathan, he himself attempts to snuff out entirely.  If David gains the throne, Jonathan will be a subject, but if Saul murders Jonathan, will he then be a king?!  Certainly not!  ”What fools and savage beasts and worse does anger make men.” ~Matthew Henry

As I wrote yesterday, Jonathan is a type of Christ in this account.  As David trusts him and hides in the field, we ought to trust Christ and hide in him while the Father’s wrath is certain to rage against us.  Let us remember that wicked men bent on destruction are often paranoid.  They are insecure, guilty, fearful, and suspicious – especially when things do not go exactly according to their evil plans.  When those evil plans become frustrated by God’s sovereign plans, all hell breaks loose and flies out of their hearts in the form of uncontrolled rage, anger, profanity, character defamation, and brawling.  And all of us, at one point or another, are wicked men.

Therefore, these works of the flesh ought to make us fiercely angry.  They ought to disappoint us, grieve us and give us a ravenous appetite for rectification.    Likewise, physical satiation ought to lose its luster as we aggressively pursue righteousness wholeheartedly.  Our attitude against sin must be as hard-nosed and tenacious as Jonathan’s attitude against his father’s sick sword – even when we, personally, are physically and emotionally hungrier than we’ve ever been.

Finally, David, too, is a type of Christ, and he demonstrates here for us how during the time of Christ’s earthly absence, we are called to stand up to evil like his beloved friend Jonathan so faithfully did. Let us never forget that the sin we defend so desperately and allow to remain will doubtless be the very sin that wreaks havoc on the self-centered fear we’re seeking to avoid.

Everyday Encounters with the Creator

Posted January 25, 2013 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Overnight Overkill   Leave a comment


By Lori Rodeheaver

In 1 Samuel 14, we find that God’s people had just won a battle against their enemy.  Saul’s army was so faint from fighting and lack of food that immediately after they won, they sinned against God by eating meat with the blood still in it.  Now, their leader expects them to carry on fighting, plundering, and pursing the enemy all night.

Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. ~1 Samuel 14:36-37

Any fool could see that these men needed rest as much as they had needed food.  Yet this leader was blind to the needs of his own people.  There is but one concern in Saul’s heart – self.

As he seeks to pursue an already defeated enemy with an already defeated army, a conflict arises between this leader and his spiritual authority.  Saul wants to use his ready-to-flat-line subjects to collect his booty, but his priest urges him to wait and pray.

Note, where foolish, unspiritual leaders selfishly disregard the needs of God’s people, spiritual leaders will step up to challenge them.  Our weakness often leads to sin when and if we become severe and desperate enough in our infirmities.  When the health and safety of God’s people is at stake, God’s glory is also at stake.

So, for fear of men and to avoid looking bad, Saul prays to see whether he ought to carry out his plan or not.  But God did not answer.  Saul knows that sin is at the root of this silent treatment.  What he fails to recognize is that it’s his sin, not the sin of his people.

Of course, the lot falls to Jonathan,  his son, and Jonathan was indeed the one guilty of breaking Saul’s oath of fasting…but Jonathan was not even informed about the oath.  He was ignorant of his father’s foolish directive when he ate.  He was not rebellious or disobedient.  If charged with any crime, it might only be hunger.

 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” ~1 Samuel 14:43

Even still, Jonathan accepts his own guilt.  He does not justify himself.  He pleads neither his case nor his innocence.

Oh!  If Saul would have just been examining his heart!  If Saul had been doing what Jonathan did here all along, God’s people wouldn’t be in this mess.  If he had been examining his own heart for wickedness, he would have saved his kin from guilt.

Instead, Saul heartlessly and disaffectionately charges his very own son with the death penalty.  How willing he is to sacrifice anyone and anything to stay in charge and be in the right – even his very own son!  But, as Matthew Henry said, “Justice is debased when it is administered with wrath and bitterness.”

But Saul’s son was beloved among the people.  He was their hero; their savior; their deliverer.  He was a young man full of courage, honor, and integrity.  There was no way they were going to let him die for a nicety.

This is amazing.  These people were willing to starve.  They were willing to obey when corrected.  They were willing to fight all night if so instructed by their leader.  But there was one thing they were wholly unwilling to do.  There was one thing for which they stood up and said, “NO!”  That thing was selling out their friend – their rescuer who had so valiantly fought for them.

Jonathan was a type of Christ.  When conflict arises, we must never allow man’s religion to put to death our Savior.  Yet, “they did not rescue him by violence, but by reason and resolution.” ~Matthew Henry

Note, any time we see gross injustice among God’s people, we must not resort to violence, hostility, anger, or force in order to correct it.  Instead, we must pursue peace through reason, truth, prayer, and the scriptures.

Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place. ~1 Samuel 14:46

Finally, what we find as a result of all this in-house conflict is the enemy getting away.  The enemy escaped.  No heaping spoils of war after this victory.  Just a bunch of exhausted, post-traumatic stress suffering soldiers in desperate need of rest and recovery.

That’s what foolish, unspiritual leaders produce.  Be careful who you follow.

Everyday Encounters with the Creator

Rejects   4 comments

Lori and her dad in Tiananmen Square, 1991

Here is a post by Lori Rodeheaver from the blog Everyday Encounters with the Creator:

In grade school, if you had looked up the term, “reject” in the dictionary, you’d likely have found my picture.  My dad was kind of hippie-like and my mom, well, my mom was just different I guess.  So, I was kind of a loner.  And I was quite happy being me until about the fifth grade…when the other kids starting taking notice of my funny clothes and lack of friends at recess.  Up until then, being me didn’t really bother me.  I liked being alone in Loriland, reading books and navigating monkey-bars by myself.  I liked my funny clothes.  Come to think of it, I still do.

Anyway, I’m glad I had a chance to grow into who I was instead of who my peers told me to be.  Because when you don’t have any friends, it’s much easier not to put too much stake in their ideas.  The flip-side is that you kind of learn not to put too much stake in anyone else’s ideas.  Our strengths are our weaknesses I guess.

Well, as I read 1 Samuel 14, I found a couple rejects of my own.  Only these guys weren’t rejected by their peers.  They were rejected by their God.  Ironically, when we strive to not be rejected by man, we often put ourselves in a place where we will both reject, and, be rejected by, God.  Let’s investigate this passage…

One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah in the pomegranate cave at Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men, including Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba. ~1 Samuel 14:1-5

In just the short time since becoming king, Saul had already made some pretty severe mistakes.  So severe, in fact, that God had already rejected him as king.

He had sent home troops he needed for battle out of pride and self-sufficiency.  After he attacked his fiercest enemy, he stood around trumpet-blowing and trying to gather them back.  He lacked courage and leadership when the army he did have became fearful and started deserting.  He usurped both God and the prophet Samuel’s authority by being impatient and offering sacrifices he wasn’t fit to offer.  Saul was chock-full of pride and self-reliance.

For this reason, God had already rejected Saul as his king.  It seems that others had done the same.  Now, of the 3,000 soldiers he had chosen, only 600 remained.  Worse yet, even his own son, Jonathan, exhibits great distrust and lack of confidence in his leadership.  1 Samuel 14 gives us some insight as to when it is appropriate to stop following a foolish leader.

One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. ~1 Samuel 14:1

Why would Jonathan embark upon a risky and dangerous military expedition without informing his father…who just so happened to be his commander-in-chief?  Was he being prideful and self-reliant like his father?  Was this another case of usurping of proper authority?  Or was it something else?

Likely, it was because God was Jonathan’s commander-in-chief.  Jonathan had seen and experienced first-hand quite enough of his father’s foolishness.  Jonathan was brave and he trusted in God’s promises, calling the enemies “uncircumcised.” (v6)  He knew his advantage was in God, not man.  Therefore, he thought it wise not to consult his man-fearing father before the battle.  And he was right.

Go figure.  Daddy is foolish for usurping authority and little Jonny is wise when he does the same thing…because it isn’t the same thing.  The circumstances are vastly different.  It’s the difference between homicidal killing and soldier combat killing.  This kind of contrast proves how extremely important discernment is when following God.

Meanwhile, we find his father, King Saul, spoken of as having Ahijah among him, who was wearing an ephod.

Ahijah was a descendant of Eli.  Eli’s house had been rejected by God because of sin and disobedience, remember?  Yet Saul has one of Eli’s descendants, who is dressed in priestly garments, hanging around to help him determine the Lord’s will.  That’s what ephod’s were used for, after all.

All this, after he had disregarded the instructions of both God and his true prophet, Samuel.  Not to mention the fact that the true prophet had also been wholly rejected by the people following him.

Oh!  How the ungodly love to gather false prophets and smooth talkers around their tables and trust in external shows of religion!  They reject the hard, plain words of the true ministers of God and listen only to those who tickle their ears with and easy and cost-less message!

So it’s no surprise to find Saul and Ahijah hanging out together, is it?  The rejected king and the rejected priest have so deceived themselves in pride and self-sufficiency that they continue to honor one another instead of God and His Word.

Jonathan did the right thing by trusting in God rather than his man-fearing father…even though his man-fearing father was his earthly authority.  When the rubber meets the road and we have to make a decision between obeying our earthly authorities vs. obeying Our Heavenly Authority, we had better make certain we choose the latter.  True blessing and victory cannot come from the former if they are in opposition to the Lord’s will.

Next, we’ll see how God blesses Jonathan for his courage and wisdom.  For now, let’s consider how we might honor God by rejecting leaders who have rejected him and His Word.  If God has rejected someone as a leader, let’s recognize that we would do well to stop following them.  Let’s cease to worry about being rejected by men and focus only upon pleasing God.

It’s really not bad here in Loriland, anyway.  Sometimes lonely, but always an adventure.

Everyday Encounters with the Creator

Posted November 22, 2012 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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