Wednesday, May 18, 2011
5:46 p.m. Today's project was to write my teaching notes for tomorrow's opening Bible study for spring, summer and early fall. We are continuing in I Samuel, with lessons the Lord gave me 25 years ago, now in Word format so the homework can be distributed electronically. I printed copies for those whose printers may not work, and added new women to the mailing list.
The morning was spent communicating with our childcare ladies and reminding the "regulars" that we are starting early this year. Our hostess Debbie is getting everything ready, including re-arranging her couches to make more room. I made arrangements with our care agency to have a worker come to be with Steve. At last, I settled down to write on I Samuel 14:1-23.
In this portion of Israel's history, King Saul has already shown his arrogance and willfulness (and panic) during war with the Philistines. He had disobeyed the prophet Samuel by offering a sacrifice that was not his place to offer, using the excuse that he had not sought the Lord before battle. (Chapter 13:12) That act of disobedience lost Saul his kingdom.
The Philistines were attacking on three sides, with iron weapons and chariots, while the only armor on the Israelite side was that of Saul and his son Jonathan. The rest of the army had only farm implements, which, ironically, they had to have sharpened in nearby Philistia! Saul had only 600 men left out of 3,000--the troops had been fleeing from their commander.
Chapter 14 opens with Jonathan and his armor bearer slipping out on their own to attack the Philistines without a word to the king. Saul remained with the army and the priests, who had brought along the Ark of the Covenant in much the same way and reason that pagan warriors brought their "gods"--superstition! (In chapter 5-6, the Israelites had had the humiliating experience of having to recover the stolen ark from the Philistines). Saul was keeping his bases covered, like we do at times when we fail to trust the Lord completely. Saul's actions did not come from a heart deeply committed to God!
Jonathan's faith was huge, v. 6 (NLT):
"Let's go across to the outpost of those pagans," Jonathan said to his armor bearer. "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!"
Jonathan's courage was contagious, v. 7:
So his armor bearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then: here I am with you, according to your heart." (NKJV)
Godly leadership shows the way-and conquers--as Jonathan and his armor bearer slew 20 men. God caused a tumult with the earthquake He sent, and caused the Philistines to turn on one another.
Meanwhile, Saul and his men heard the commotion and speedily assembled themselves. The king called the priest to bring the ark, but there was no time for ritual, the army needed to defeat the Philistines, and did so, chasing them completely away. God had won the day for His people.
God often surprises us with His infinite power, resources and wisdom, as He operates outside of time and space constraints in our behalf. As to believers despairing over perceived lack in our lives, Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost for His Highest, May 16,
"...all the Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will tax the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will obey Him."
Let us allow the Lord's Spirit free rein in our lives, to do the work He desires to do, in His way, His time, even if it shocks and shakes us!!