1 Samuel 14:1-15 – Think Outside the Box

Read 1 Samuel 14:1-15

I’m always impressed by someone that takes initiative. Having worked in an office setting for most of my career as a paralegal, I saw lots of people who just took up space. They showed up for work, did the bare minimum, and then went home. I could never do that. I was too highly driven to be the best I could be.

In our passage we see Jonathan, Saul’s son, taking some serious initiative. His father and the Israelite army had been reduced in size and were in hiding from the Philistines. How long were they going to play that “game?” Jonathan decides “one day” that he had had enough. He was going to do something different. He was clearly thinking outside the box of what was expected and how he was being led.

I want to focus on Jonathan’s actions, but first I just had to share a side note. Remember Icabod? I do! He was the baby boy, Eli’s grandson, born to his frantic mother the same day she died, and her husband and brother-in-law were killed in battle. Their father, Eli also died when he heard the news. (1 Samuel 4). I remember when we read that account, there was nothing said about what came of the child following the death of his parents. I was overjoyed when I saw that he showed up in today’s reading!

Back to Jonathan. What did you think about Jonathan’s plan? At first, I thought it was suicide. Yet I loved how confident he was in God to protect him. Talk about bold faith! The devotion and trust of his armor bearer was also noteworthy.

The journey to the enemy outpost sounds like it was a harrowing one, but then I’m not a fan of heights, and the mention of cliffs does not sound at all appealing to me. Not telling anyone else what he was planning is also a bit reckless. Since he didn’t ask “permission,” he had to be hoping he would not have to ask for forgiveness later!

What else do we learn from this text about Jonathan. Aside from being a bit reckless and fearless, he was faithful. He was leaning on God’s wisdom, but I couldn’t help but think he was putting words into God’s mouth. If he truly wanted a victory for God, was this the way to go about it? “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” Perhaps?

Jonathan received the message he was expecting if God was with them, so they proceeded. Despite the jeers from the Philistines, these two men were able to bring chaos to the Philistines that day, in addition to the fatalities who fell at their hand. And then God added his own emphasis, “an earthquake struck, and everyone was terrified.” Great timing!

Take some time today to think about times in your life when you have thought outside the box in your own faith journey. What things have you tried that God has blessed?

What if God had not blessed Jonathan that day? Jonathan was clearly destined for something beyond that moment. Jonathan modeled for us a bold faith that trusted God’s provision. He was ready to think creatively and allow God to use him. Are you in a position to let God use you?

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …

Lord, draw me closer to you each day. Increase my faith so that I can step out boldly and serve you in ways I might not otherwise have done. Use me to encourage others to a deeper relationship with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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