20 Norman Spencer Dr
Auckland 2104, NZ

I Samuel 14

Wednesday, 26th July 2023

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

Samuel anointed Saul to be the king of Israel, but sadly, Saul did not really listen and follow the teaching of Samuel. Instead, he continued to live in the old way, he used the way he followed his father to follow God. Saul focused on the tasks he needed to do and the missions he needed to complete. Samuel was helping Saul to be a king, but when Saul faced challenges, he was afraid and panic, then he acted out of his flesh desires and sinned against God. When we are in a ‘doing’ mode, we focus on the people and we focus on the end results. Then when we face challenges and hardships we will easily give up and not press on.

V1 ‘Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.’ Jonathan did not seek God before he attacked the Philistines. It seemed like he had faith in God, but actually he still used his own strength to fight the battle instead of relying on God.

V6-7 ‘Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armour, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”’ The amour bearer followed Jonathan but didn’t see the God behind Jonathan. Do we follow God or follow people? Also, do we let the people follow us to see God instead of seeing us?

V13-14 ‘And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them. That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.’ The army of Israel did not know what Jonathan was doing. Even though Jonathan won the battle, but did he really seek God? What is the fruit he produced out of this victory? Their enemy was fearful and troubled, but was this what God wanted Jonathan to do?

V20 ‘Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man’s sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion.’ God allowed Saul to see the Philistines killing each other. It was never Jonathan or his armour bearer’s doing, but God’s work. Saul’s destiny was to fight against the Philistines, the enemy of the Israelites. And God showed Saul that he can only do this by fully relying on Him.

V24 ‘And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food.’ The people of Israel were distressed and fearful, because Saul made them make oaths. Jonathan didn’t hear the oaths because he didn’t listen to his father and he didn’t follow his father. Saul gave Jonathan weapons, Jonathan was Saul’s best helper, but Jonathan did not follow Saul’s instructions and he was not by Saul’s side. Saul wanted Jonathan to fight together, but Jonathan only wanted to do his own things and to go his own ways.

V29 ‘But Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey.’ Jonathan’s eyes were brightened and it’s like how Eve’s eyes were also brightened after she ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This happened after people sinned against God. The Bible taught us to first offer to God after victory, but we are so easy to follow our own flesh desires. We are selfish, we seek our own ways instead of God’s ways.

Do we really have a connection with God? Do we really know what God wants? We don’t want to wait, we only want to focus on our own emotions, and we will fall. God wants us to put Him first, people next, then the earth; God wants us to humble, obey, deny ourselves, and benefit others. If we want to hear the Word of God then we must go under the Tree of Life, and go in the flow of the Holy Spirit. So often we are lying to ourselves, we thought we know God well, we thought we do everything for God, but the truth is, we only want to perform and show off ourselves.

V31-33 ‘Now they had driven back the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. So the people were very faint. And the people rushed on the spoil, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. Then they told Saul, saying, “Look, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood!”’ The people were scared to tell people off when they sinned, because they didn’t want to offend others. But they went to tell people off on Saul. It’s also like us, we want to please people and we don’t want to offend people, so we don’t speak the Word of Truth. Then we speak about others behind their back.

V36 ’Now Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and plunder them until the morning light; and let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” Then the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.”’ Finally the priest said something. Saul’s behaviour was like Jonathan’s behaviour, they only wanted to accomplish their own goals and they did not care what God wanted. But when Saul finally listened to the priest and sought God, God didn’t answer.

V45 ‘But the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! As the Lordlives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die.’ It’s so easy for us to bring the credit to ourselves, and not to bring people to God. Jonathan was living under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and people only saw how great he was, they didn’t see what God did for them. Furthermore, when Saul saw the people standing with Jonathan, he was afraid of offending them, and he stopped seek God. We are also easy to offend other people, then we choose to not listen to God and we choose to not listen to our authority.

Saul’s life was all about himself, he only wanted to complete his goal, he protected his nation with his own strength, and he did not seek God’s Will. He lives his whole life in fear, he didn’t rely on God, he had no peace, he had no joy, and it led to his own destruction. We must focus in God’s love, because only God’s love can fulfil us.