Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More than a Prince

Jonathan, son of Saul, son of Kish

         "Nothing can hinder God from saving, whether by many or by few." Jonathan truly believed what he had told his armor-bearer in the moments before his personal attack on the Philistines one night. He had fought them before, at Gibeah, and trusted he was going to fight them another day. His bravest action and most prevalent show of faith was given that night-- he and his armor-bearer alone attacked the Philistine outpost and killed twenty men. Under normal circumstances, that wouldn't have defeated the whole army, but God sent the enemies of His people into confusion and gave the Israelites the victory. He later knew God was giving Israel a new gift-- David-- and told him so. Being a bold and brave man, he was not afraid to give himself to do what he believed was God's will.

           But sometimes that willingness and resolve got him into trouble. Being away the night of the battle (as he fought his own little one over a canyon not far off), he didn't hear his father's oath to kill anyone who ate anything until they had finished their work. He took, and he ate some honey from the forest. After the fact, one of his men told him what he had done, and his father vowed to kill him. But, through the love of his men, he escaped the punishment designated by the king. He also chose to side with David, even when his father was given to trying to kill him. His close relationship with his father was obviously shorn through his choices. Eventually, he died fighting alongside his demon-possessed father on the Mount Gilboa. His boldness and self-will had kept him out of trouble when he agreed with what was right, but that same will had led him to sin in the forest and to face the consequences.

           For the later part of his life, his best friend was on the run from his father. He had given his best  in trying to dissuade King Saul from murdering God's anointed. He had given David his advice to run into hiding-- but not before a tearful parting. His sister had aided in deceiving their father, but he had done his part in securing David's safety until he could leave the city. One of David's hardest times were brightened by the appearance of this one man. He once visited David when he was in hiding in Horesh. During this visit, Jonathan gave encouragement David in as many ways as he knew how. After reminding him of God's promises, he had also reminded him of his own respect and love for him through admitting David was going to rule over him without any apparent hint of jealousy or resentment.

           Jonathan fulfilled his name, meaning gift of God, in so many ways. He was a gift as a warrior to Israel. He was a gift to his father in keeping him from killing David during Saul's early fits of rage. He was a gift to David in his warnings and encouraging speeches. But most of all, he is a gift to us today. His example of boldly doing God's work, and his warning of always heeding God's word live on to serve us today. He was more than a prince, he was one of God's many gifts to mankind.

1 comment:

  1. Huh. One of the lesser known heroes of the Bible. Thanks Janae for making him more known. :D

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