Daily Devotional

October 3, 2017

Daybreak: 1 Samuel 14:1-52

“And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.” (1 Samuel 14:12)

Agnes could sing — that was obvious from the time she was a child. When she was a young teenager, Agnes gave her heart to the Lord. As a young woman, she had the opportunity to take voice lessons from a prominent maestro in San Francisco, California. This man was impressed with her talent, and he pushed her to join the opera and go on to obtain fame and fortune. Agnes just shook her head and asked him, “Don’t you think the Lord needs some good talent too? I want to sing for the glory of God!” One day, another singer came into the studio during Agnes’ lesson. Her teacher introduced Agnes, saying, “This is the lady who is going to sing for the Lord!”

Agnes had a different perspective than many people do. She chose to follow God rather than to go in the direction the world would have recommended. She made that choice because her sole desire was for God to be glorified by her singing and her life.

Jonathan also had a different perspective. We can see that from the focus verse, which gives a little glimpse into his heart. Jonathan did not go into battle to bring glory to himself. He wanted a victory that would honor and glorify God and benefit their nation.

Who receives the credit for what we do? What is our motivation for our activities? Do we pray that God will be honored by our lives? A sense of fulfillment quite naturally goes with securing a large contract on the job, or getting an excellent grade on a college final, or even successfully presenting a musical number in church. It is natural to feel good when our children are well-behaved, or when the meal we made for a family whose mother is ill turns out perfectly.

There is nothing wrong with the satisfaction that comes with a job well done, yet we want to be certain that the purpose of our hearts is to bring glory to God, not to ourselves. Agnes knew that God had given her the ability to sing, and that she would be accountable for using that talent for Him. Jonathan knew that victory came only through God. We can have a clear understanding in our hearts that God is the reason for every success in our lives. He deserves the glory, and we want to give it to Him.

Background

Even though Saul was the king and leader of the Children of Israel, in this chapter, Jonathan was the one who stood out as the hero. Jonathan believed that numbers did not matter with God. He believed that God would stand behind His promises and work for Israel, and he and his armor bearer were brave enough to believe God and take action. 

Saul and his men were camped under a tree, and Ahiah the priest was with them. The ephod, in verse 3, was a part of the priest’s robes, which contained the Urim and Thummim. The Urim and Thummin were two flat stones or plates used for finding God’s will. The meaning of the names are “curses” and “perfection,” and their relative positions when they came out of the ephod indicated a yes or no answer from God. This way of finding God’s leading was also referenced in verse 19 when Saul said, “Withdraw thine hand.” Jonathan, however, asked God directly for a sign as to whether or not he and his armor bearer should go up to the Philistines (verse 9). 

The text implies that the terrain was not easy. The two men climbed up using their hands. When they arrived at the top, they engaged in hand-to-hand combat and twenty men were killed. God sent help in the form of an earthquake. The result was confusion among the Philistines, and a disorderly retreat in which the Philistines killed one another. Israelites came out of hiding to fight, and some Israelites that had been in the Philistine army changed back to Israel’s side. 

Sadly, Saul made rash and unwise decisions. His oath that no one should eat caused his men to be faint and tired when they should have been fighting. Then once the oath had expired, they were so hungry that they did not prepare the food properly and ate it with the blood, which was a violation of the Law. 

Jonathan was not aware of his father’s command, he ate some honey, and nearly had to die when the lots that were cast showed that he was guilty. Saul was not willing to admit that he had made a mistake and a rash command. He would have allowed his son to be killed, but the people rescued Jonathan. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The reign of Saul
      A.   The rise of King Saul
            5.   Saul’s initial conflict with the Philistines 
                  d.   The route of the Philistines (14:1-23)
                        (1)   Jonathan’s approach to the Philistines (14:1-5)
                        (2)   Jonathan’s engagement of the Philistines (14:6-15)
                        (3)   Jonathan’s scattering of the Philistines (14:16-23)
                  e.   The foolish oath of Saul (14:24-46)
                        (1)   Jonathan’s unknowing disobedience (14:24-30)
                        (2)   Israel’s sin of eating blood (14:31-35)
                        (3)   Jonathan blamed for Israel’s sin (14:36-42)
                        (4)   Jonathan rescued from death (14:43-46)
                  f.    The summary of Saul’s military prowess (14:47-48)
                  g.   The family of Saul (14:49-51)
                  h.   The war with the Philistines (14:52)

A Closer Look

  1. What did Jonathan’s armor bearer say to him?
     
  2. Why do you think Jonathan did not tell his father that he was going to go over to the Philistine garrison?
     
  3. You may not be facing a Philistine stronghold today, but you may be facing daunting difficulties. How can you show the same type of faith that Jonathan showed?

Conclusion

God wants to be glorified in your life. He can be if you will trust Him as Jonathan did. Who knows how He might use you today!

Reference Materials