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 wondered where they’d been all this time. Not really! I didn’t even know they were missing. That is, this was news to me that the tribe of Dan had never made it to the coast to claim their land. The tribe of Dan would have been given land to the West of Ephraim, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The lands of Judah and Benjamin also shared a border to the Southeast.
We do hear again of the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol. These towns were in the same vicinity where the events of Samson’s life took place. I understand they are found in Judah. To be in Ephraim, to meet with the Levite in Micah’s house, they had traveled north a ways.
I love starting to read a new book. Especially in the Old Testament, it’s helpful for me to put what I’m reading into context so I can understand God’s story even better. Judges picks up right where Joshua leaves off in the lives of the Israelites. Joshua’s strong leadership will be remembered, but memories will soon fade. We’ll see how the Israelites have a hard time staying true to their God in the absence of strong spiritual leadership. Unfortunately, there was no obvious successor, like Joshua had been following the days of Moses.
We’ll see a definite pattern emerge that will play over and over during the years of the Judges. You might even say this type of behavior continues in some fashion even today. We’ll meet new Bible heroes up close, seeing how God chooses some with questionable qualifications! God sees the heart and always knows what he is doing.
Growing up in the United States, particularly in the Midwest, I didn’t see any persecution for being a believer. It wasn’t until adulthood that I even understood any territorial history other than what was presented in the Bible. We didn’t study that kind of thing in Social Studies back in my day.
It’s been quite eye opening for me to witness some of that persecution. Recently David showed me a report of the areas of the world that were under the most attack. I wasn’t surprised that many of the nations surrounding Israel (but surprisingly NOT Israel) were at the top of that list. What did surprise me was that our own country of residence, Mexico, was on that list.
Can you think of a time in your life when you had a mentor? That would be someone you seek advice from and look up to. Mentors also encourage you to do the right thing. Sometimes our parents play that role. For Titus, his mentor was Paul. Paul was very influential in the early Christian movement following his conversion. Paul knew that he had to raise up young leadership to “take the baton” so to speak if Jesus’ message was to reach the ends of the earth.
Titus was one of those bright stars that Paul worked with and nurtured. We see the welcome Paul gives to Titus in this letter. While Paul calls Titus out as his “true son in the faith,” the opening lines of this letter seem to be more of an commissioning for the work we (including Titus) are called to do. A good mentor will be clear in giving direction. The message then is to “proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives.”