That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Monday, February 28, 2011

Saul, David, Solomon... JONATHAN!

My daily Bible reading has progressed over the years.  I remember the first time I read through my whole Bible!  It took me a year.  Probably the reason I remember it so well is because it wasn't actually that long ago...  Anyways, I really used to struggle with reading my Bible every day.  When I was in Bible college we had no choice.  The Bible was pretty much the main text book of most of my classes.  Not to mention we had time set aside each morning for personal devotions.  Even though I was doing a lot of my Bible reading at that time because I had to, it did help to establish regular Bible reading as a habit.   

Anyways, this post is really not supposed to be about how much I read my Bible.  That truth is, I have the perfect schedule for Bible reading.  I don't work until 11am every day, and I usually get up fairly early, so I have a lots of time in the morning to read.  Oops... I'm getting off track again!

Okay, so what I really wanted to write about was 1 and 2 Samuel.  These two books of the Bible speak to me EVERY time I read them.  There's something about the story of Saul, David, and Solomon, that really captures me, and I always get a little excited when I get to 1 and 2 Samuel in my Bible reading.  I've learned so many things from the stories and the characters in these two books.  David's life is always challenges me.  His trials, his faithfulness, his trust in God, his submission, his leadership, his repentance, and his patience.  He was so close to the Lord that he could face a giant more than twice his size with not even a hint of fear or hesitation.  He trusted God so fully, that he could wait for ten years to be the king of Israel, and in the meantime be threatened with death by Saul almost constantly.  When I think that I have problems in my life, I just remember David.  At least I'm not being hunted every day by someone who wants me dead!  When I read about Saul, and think of how terrible it would be to have all of God's promises and then reject them.  Saul was consumed by his pride and he paid an awful price.  Yet how many times do I let pride overtake me?  Then there's Solomon.  He had it all.  A godly father, an upbringing as a prince, and the right to the throne.  Not to mention, special favour from God, Who gave him more wisdom than any man who had ever lived.  Solomon stayed faithful to the Lord, until his wives turned away his heart.  That challenges me to be grateful for my godly heritage, but to be careful because I have weaknesses too, and it would be so easy to let those weaknesses overtake my life and stop living for the Lord.

The last time I read through 1 Samuel a different person stuck out to me.  That person was Jonathan.  Jonathan is one of those background people in the Bible that we often just skip over.  I know I've heard a lot more sermons about David than I ever have about Jonathan.  Jonathan was a man of incredible character. He was a loyal friend, he loved, he served, he made wise decisions and good choices, he didn't loose his temper, he was obedient, he was submissive, he was kind, he didn't question God's plan, and he was humble.

I think Jonathan and David had similar personalities.  They were both men of action.  They weren't the type of guys to sit around and wait for someone else to do the job.  Because of their faith in God they went out and did things for God, and both of them got amazing results.  Jonathan was the rightful heir to the throne of Israel, and yet he was willing to set all that aside because God had rejected his father.  Wow!!  It wasn't even Jonathan's fault that he couldn't be king, it was his father's!  Saul's decisions cost Jonathan a lot, but we never read of Jonathan complaining at Saul, or being bitter or angry with him because of his rebellion against God.  Jonathan simply submitted to God's will and was content with God's choice.  I believe from what we read of Jonathan's character that he would have made an excellent king, but that just wasn't God's plan.  Jonathan was meant to be second in the kingdom (next to David), and he was okay with that.  His humility is certainly evident.

Jonathan was the type of person everyone would want as a friend.  He was trustworthy.  David knew he could call upon Jonathan in his time of trouble and Jonathan would be there for him.  I am thankful for the friends that I have who I know would drop everything to help me if I ever needed it.  It also challenges me to be that kind of a friend.  I want people to be able to know that they can count on me.  That takes sacrifice.  It also takes away a selfish attitude.  Selfish people only think of themselves, and when a friend has a crisis they are often too busy to help, or they get annoyed that they have to leave what they are doing.  I know I've often felt that way, but someone who is a true friend will sacrifice their own desires to help out that person in need.  

Sadly, Jonathan died before David became king.  He never saw God's promise fulfilled in David's life.  He never got the opportunity to serve along side his truest friend.  But, Jonathan lived a life surrendered to God's will and God's plan.  We can certainly learn many valuable lessons from him!

1 Sam 23: 16 
And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

1 Sam 14:6 
And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

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