Prime Directive – 1 Samuel 14:12-37

“‘Follow me,’ Jonathan told his armor-bearer, ‘for the Lord has handed them over to Israel.’ Jonathan climbed up using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer behind him. Jonathan cut them down, and his armor-bearer followed and finished them off. In that first assault Jonathan and his armor-bearer struck down about 20 men in a half-acre field… Saul said, ‘Let’s go down after the Philistines tonight and plunder them until morning. Don’t let even one remain!’ …. But the priest said, ‘We must consult God here.’ So Saul inquired of God, ‘Should I go after the Philistines? Will You hand them over to Israel?’ But God did not answer him that day” (1 Samuel 14:12-14; 36-37, HCSB).

At the beginning of 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan, King Saul’s son, and his attendant attacked a Philistine garrison. Meanwhile, Saul remained encamped on the other side of the pass with about 600 Israelite troops. In that assault Jonathan and his attendant killed about twenty Philistine soldiers.

Then panic erupted in the Philistine camp. Saul and his troops noticed the commotion among the Philistine troops.

Saul started to inquire of the Lord about what was happening in the Philistine camp by conferring with the priests who carried the ark of God. Deciding he might lose the opportunity to rout the Philistines, Saul gathered his troops and attacked and “struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash all the way to Aijalon” (vs. 31), a distance of about 15 miles.

Saul decided to renew the battle the next day and he again inquired of God whether he should go after the Philistines or not. “But God did not answer him that day” (vs 37). From Saul’s distorted theological perspective he was convinced that sin was present in the camp that was preventing the divine assistance.

It turns out the supposed sin was Jonathan’s disobedience to a direct order by King Saul that Jonathan had, in fact, not even heard Saul issue because he was single-handedly attacking the Philistine garrison.

Saul determined that Jonathan must be executed for disobeying his orders, but the Israelite troops interceded in Jonathan’s behalf and Saul relented from executing his son (vs. 44-45).

So why does God seem to favor Jonathan’s impulsive decision to attack the Philistines and not favor Saul’s contemplative actions when he stops to inquire of the Lord before attacking the Philistines?

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Gone Fishin’ – John 21:3

Gone-fishing-sign“Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ ‘We’ll come, too,’ they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night” (John 21:3, NLT).

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and other people several times before He ascended to heaven. On the occasion described in the last chapter of the Gospel of John, Peter and several of the disciples had returned to Galilee and were taking up their old occupation of fishing, and apparently, not being very successful at it.

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Assured Success – 2 Chronicles 26:5

Success“Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:5, NLT).

Uzziah became king of Judah at sixteen years of age. Though a young king, Uzziah was faithful to God: “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done” (vs. 4).

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God’s Outbursts – I Chronicles 15:13

outburst“Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” (I Chronicles 15:13, NLT).

An interesting evolution in King David’s faith in God takes place in in Chapters 13-15 of 1 Chronicles. At each stage in the development of David’s faith over the course of these three chapters the same Hebrew word is used to show the mighty or forceful activity of God–God’s outburst–in shaping David’s faith.

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Divine Labor – John 5:17,19

caution-god-at-work“But Jesus responded to them, ‘My Father is still working, and I am working also’ … ‘I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way” ( John 5:17, 19, HCSB).

This somewhat cryptic response to the Jewish religious leaders was given by Jesus as a defense for healing a man on the Sabbath who had been sick for 38 years.

So why did Jesus answer their accusations in this way?

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Answering the Call – Ezekiel 1:3

phone_ringing“The Lord gave this message to Ezekiel son of Buzi, a priest, beside the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians, and he felt the hand of the Lord take hold of him” (Ezekiel 1:3, NLT).

The word of the Lord first came to Ezekiel while he was living with the Judean exiles in Babylon.

Ezekiel was a priest by descent and, as such, his primary ministry was offering sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem. As one of the exiled Jews, Ezekiel was unable to serve as a priest in the usual ways.

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Go Back To Go Forward – 1 Kings 19:15

undo-iconThen the Lord told him, Go back the same way you came…” (1 Kings 19:15, NLT)

Sometimes we can lose focus on how God is working even though He has done many extraordinary things in our lives.

The prophet Elijah seemed to lose his focus when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. Elijah was in such fear for his life that he fled to the wilderness even though he had just called fire down from heaven and called on God for rain that ended a three-year drought in Israel (vs. 18:39, 43-44).

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