May 5

May 5

Jonathan’s Victory — Jonathan’s faith in God’s ability to help those without power.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: 1 Samuel 13:16-23

Reading 2: 1 Samuel 14

Reading 3: 2 Chronicles 14:11

Today we read of the courage and valor of Jonathan and his armor bearer. They step out in faith to see if God will help them defeat the Philistines. Implied in their conversations and actions is a focus on obeying God’s instructions and trusting God to help them even though they have only one sword!

By contrast, Saul is seen to be acting independently and presumptively in his leadership of the nation. He issues decrees and orders establishing his authority which fail to either effectively defeat the enemy or make room for God’s intervention.

Despite Saul’s folly, the Philistines ARE defeated by God’s intervention and the faith of Jonathan and his armor-bearer. The Israelites do their best to maximize the victory but are rewarded by an inquisition when they later rush to eat without following God’s instructions about food. Saul’s response is both judgmental and harsh, calling for Jonathan to be executed because he had unwittingly disobeyed his father’s command. But the people defy Saul, Jonathan is saved, and the Philistines escape to fight again another day.

Those of us who lead others will find this story cautionary – it seems that power corrupts, and authority is easily misused, while those who have little of either, but great faith in God, can achieve God’s goals.

In God we trust! Not in power or authority!

Have a great day!

Mark.