DEFENCE

| 10 May 2013 |

DEFENCE

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: 1 Sam 14:24-48

/Jonathan Eats Honey/

24 Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had
bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be any man who eats
food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my
enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.

25 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the
ground. 26 When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing
out, yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the
oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the
people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was
in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to
his mouth, and his eyes brightened. 28 Then one of the soldiers told
him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying,
‘Cursed be any man who eats food today!’ That is why the men are
faint.”

29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See
how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How
much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the
plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the
Philistines have been even greater?”

31 That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from
Micmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. 32 They pounced on the
plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on
the ground and ate them, together with the blood. 33 Then someone said
to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat
that has blood in it.”

“You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here
at once.” 34 Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them,
‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here
and eat them. Do not sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood
still in it.’ ”

So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. 35
Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first time he had
done this.

36 Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and
plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”

“Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.

But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”

37 So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will
you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that
day.

38 Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the
army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. 39 As
surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives, even if it lies with my
son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of the men said a word.

40 Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I
and Jonathan my son will stand over here.”

“Do what seems best to you,” the men replied.

41 Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give me the
right answer.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men
were cleared. 42 Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my
son.” And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”

So Jonathan told him, “I merely tasted a little honey with the end
of my staff. And now must I die?”

44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you
do not die, Jonathan.”

45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has
brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as
the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he
did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and
he was not put to death.

46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to
their own land.

47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their
enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah,
and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on
them. 48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering
Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

___________________________________________

One of the most interesting parts of the story of Saul happens when
his son, Jonathan – having missed the memo that the nation was fasting
– angers his father by eating some honey. What makes this story
interesting is that the men who are subject to Saul, their King, stand
up to their king in order to defend Jonathan. This says a lot about
Jonathan, that men would be willing to stand up against their king for
him.

This world is full of injustice. We looked at that a few days ago. But
one of the things that often happens is people taking the fall for
things they didn’t do, or being misrepresented or even ill-treated
when there is no cause. How do we respond in that situation?

A CALL TO ACTION

Do you defend people when you know that they are worthy of defense, or
do you sit back and watch people be spoken about negatively, or even
treated badly, without just cause? A general life principle, is that
we should treat others as we want to be treated. Surely, you would
want someone to defend you when your reputation or honour is at stake.
Today, decide to be the kind of person who stands up for others.

A PRAYER TO PRAY

Lord thank you that you are before the Father, interceding on my
behalf. Please help me to do the same for others and to stand up for
them when necessary. Help me to not remain silent when people are
being spoken about badly or being treated badly. Amen.

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