1 Samuel 13-14:35 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine, and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
Would you turn in your Bibles to the book 1 Samuel, chapter 13? You'll remember in the New Testament that Jesus gave a story, in Luke's gospel, about two men who went to the temple. He said they went there to pray.
And you just got to listen to the story. And then and then imagine what it would have been like to have been in the crowd and listen to Jesus, as a Jewish audience, when he said, two men went up to the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector.
Immediately, if you were in the crowd as a Jewish person, when you heard Pharisee, you go, good guy. When you heard tax collector, you thought, bad guy, OK?
Pharisee-- ultrareligious, the apotheosis of rigorous spirituality. Tax collector-- trader, rip-off, stealing money, gouging the people. Nobody likes the tax collector. So two men went up to the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector.
But then Jesus began to tell what was really going on behind the scenes of this religious guy and not so religious person, and the true nature of each one.
So two men went up to the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector. And Jesus said the Pharisee prayed thus with himself. Here's a guy who liked to hear himself pray. It wasn't so much that he was praying to God, as much as he was praying, and he would listen to himself and go, wow. I'm good.
And he prayed thus with himself, saying, Lord, I thank you that I'm not like other men, extortioner, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I give tithes of all that I possess. And he started boasting about himself.
And then Jesus said, but the tax collector wouldn't even lift his eyes toward heaven. But his head was down. And he beat on his chest. And he said Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. And then Jesus said, that man, that rip-off, that tax collector, went to his house justified, not the Pharisee.
The Pharisee had a mask. The Pharisee looked the part. The Pharisee played the role. And nobody was the wiser. But Jesus knew the heart. God knows the heart.
The tax collector, everybody thought outwardly, was the bad guy. But Jesus, again, knowing his heart, at least in the story, said that man, because of his repentant heart, went away justified.
We have a similar story here of a man who most people thought, well, he's a leader. He's a good guy. He's the that God chose. And he's our king, King Saul. He's a good guy. And he started out good, started out humble.
But as time went on, the mask comes off, and we start seeing the true colors of Saul, the first king of Israel. And we find he's actually a scoundrel. He's actually hiding a lot of unaltered, unchanged behavior. Of course, that's the way it always is, right? You think a person until you don't.
You think, oh, this person is awesome. You get married. And then she finds out that she's got me. She goes boy, this guy, his habits-- and tosses his socks across the room.
In this story, in the next few chapters, the King Saul that you thought you knew, who really did start out well, becomes a horrible person. And we'll see it even in this chapter. Now let me just give you a little bit of background, since we didn't meet last week.
Samuel is on his way out. This is his last speech that he gave in chapter 12. It was the swan song. It's his retirement speech. He is no longer the head. He is passing the headship of the nation onto the king that they demanded. The people wanted a king. Samuel took it personally. Thought that they were rejecting him. God said, don't sweat it. They're not really rejecting you. They're really rejecting me.
But go ahead and let them have their king. Set over them the king that I choose. And it happened to be King Saul. King Saul, when he was first introduced to the people, couldn't even be found. He was hiding behind the equipment. So he started our real humble. But in this chapter, he becomes very, very prideful.
So Samuel has gotten the people together. He has a holy convocation for the congregation. They all gather together at Gilgal. And he gives them the speech. And Samuel is officially coronated.
But now we come to chapter 13, and we find the mask starts to come off. I've always loved the story about the man who needed a job. And he saw in the newspaper that the zoo was hiring, somebody who would feed the animals. And he said, I can do that job. I love animals. I'd love to be a feeder of animals at the zoo.
So we went to the zoo. And they said, sorry, we already filled the position. We don't need you. But try again next time. But they also, before he left, they noticed his size. He was quite large and muscular. And so the supervisor said, now hold on. If you're willing, let me throw something out at you.
You know that in most zoos, one of the chief attractions is the gorilla. And in our zoo, we pride ourselves in our gorilla exhibit. It's beautifully done, and people come here to spend the day and look at the animals. But they're often attracted to the gorilla exhibit.
Problem is, our gorilla died yesterday. But nobody knows that. So if you would be willing, we do have a gorilla suit. It looks just like a real gorilla. And if you wouldn't mind just kind of hamming it up for a couple days, and acting like a gorilla, we'll pay you handsomely.
The guy thought about it quickly. And he goes, I could do that. That sounds pretty fun. So he said, you're on. I'll do it. He put on the gorilla suit, went in the cage, and you know, roared loud and beat his chest, and played a pretty good gorilla.
In fact, the people said, boy, what a smart gorilla you have at this zoo. And very affable, and yet big and brawny. And wow, they loved it.
Well, this went on for a couple of days. Because they had ordered the New gorilla. But he wasn't there yet. So he's in the cage, doing it for a couple of days. And one day, he gets a little carried away. And so he kind of swings a little bit too far, and happens to land into the lion cage next door.
And the lion turns around and sees him, and lets out this ferocious roar. And the guy in the gorilla suit's scared. He goes oh, what am I going to do? So he starts slowly backing up toward his cage. And the lion just keeps turning around, and looking at him, and roaring, and moving closer, and stalking him.
So the guy thought, you know, I don't want to give myself away until-- and yell for help. But he couldn't help it. He's-- in panic, he finally yells out, help! Help!
And the lion turns to him, and in an undertone says, shut up, stupid, or we'll both get fired.
Saul is on his way to get fired. If we ever make it through our text tonight, we'll see how Samuel says, the Lord has rejected you, and as looking for a man after his own heart. And when we get to chapter 15, we're going to discover that Samuel will say the Lord will tear the kingdom away from you.
OK, enough gorilla jokes. Saul reigned one year. And when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel. 2,000 were with Saul in Michmash, and in the mountains of Bethel. Michmash marsh is a little town seven miles North of Jerusalem.
It is still around today. It is an it is a Palestinian town. It's an Arab town. It is-- Mukhmas is the modern pronunciation. Mukhmas is a little Arab village. And it is the ancient Michmash. It was an encampment at that time where the Philistines were.
So 2,000 were with Saul in Michmash, and in the mountains of Bethel. And 1,000 were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent away every man to his tent. So pause for a second.
Remember that in the previous chapters, they had a neighbor who threatened them. An Ammonite king, Nahash the Ammonite. And King Saul, who was barely king at the time, was able to muster an army. All of the tribes of Israel came together and pitched in and gave men to fight the battle against Jabesh-Gilead, that was staged by the Ammonites.
And Saul was able to get 30,000 soldiers-- no, excuse me, 300,000 soldiers. Here, he gets 3,000. OK, so everybody's gone back home. They're back in their tents. Business as usual. Life is normal.
And Saul needs a standing army. So he gets people from the region. And there are 3,000. He himself keeps 2,000. His son Jonathan-- so Jonathan, when-- we don't know how old Saul was when he started to reign. But he probably wasn't a young man. He was probably a little bit older.
And by now, he has a son who's at least 20 years old, if he's going to be a commander of 1,000 troops, and he is. So both Saul and his son Jonathan are military commanders in this newly formed standing army. The rest of the people he sent away, every man to his tent.
And Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba. And the Philistines heard it. Now watch this. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying let the Hebrews hear.
Already, we're starting to see what kind of a character King Saul is. Who does the fighting? Not Saul, but his son Jonathan. His son, Jonathan with 1,000 men-- he's an active kind of a guy. He sees an opportunity, and he takes it. And you'll see that again in the next chapter.
So he goes out, and he fights. Sol hears that his son has won victory. But he blows his own horn. Quite literally, he blows the shofar, the trumpet. His son does the work. He blows his own horn. He toots his own horn.
And notice, all Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines. No, he hadn't. His son did. But because he couldn't stand for anybody else, at this point at least-- already it shows up-- to get any kind of glory or adulation, that's the rumor that went around. Saul did this.
All Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel had also become an abomination to the Philistines. And the people were called together to Saul at Gilgal. Now you're going to see this character of Saul emerge clearly.
In the very beginning, when he was introduced as king, and he's hiding behind the equipment, because he's a little demure-- he's a little shy, he's, you might say, humble-- it's as if his posture was, oh, who am I? All we have to do is wait a chapter. And instead of it being oh, who am I? It's here I am. This is me.
And he postures himself as important. And you're going to see this develop as we go. He is taking the credit. This is military plagiarism. He didn't fight the battle. He didn't win the battle. His son did. He takes the credit.
Now in chapter 15, it says that Saul went to Carmel and built a monument to himself. Who does that? Saul does that. He builds a monument for himself. he goes, I like that. I'm going to dedicate that to me, because I'm awesome.
So all the people were gathered together to Saul at Gilgal. Then the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel, 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. In other words, that's the emotional impact. When you look out, you can count them all. There's so many.
The emotional expression be-- it's like the sand on the beach. There's so many of those in the army of the Philistines. And they came up and encamped in Michmash to the East of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger, for the people were distressed, then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits.
Great army you got, King Saul. So brave, hiding, running for their lives. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilgal. For Saul, as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal. And all the people followed him, trembling.
So he's got this army. You'll see why in a minute they're so afraid they're not just outnumbered. They're outgunned, in terms of implements of warfare. Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattered from him.
The prophet Samuel had told King Saul, meet you at Gilgal. We'll have a convocation. The congregation will have a convocation. We're going to have a get-together. Before you go, you wait for me, till I get there.
So he waits seven days, just like Samuel the prophet had told him, just like the instructions read. But he's getting a little bit antsy. And so, verse 9, Saul said, bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me. And he offered the burnt offering.
Now it happened as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering that Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. Here's the problem. Saul is a king. Saul is not a priest. Saul is from a tribe, the tribe of Benjamin. The priesthood of Aaron was from the tribe of Levi.
There's only one tribe that God set apart who could officiate in this office of being a priest. And that was the Levites. It was a Levitical priesthood. It's the only one God established. But now, the king thinks, well, I'm the king. I can kind of do whatever I want to. And he intrudes into the office of the priest, offering a sacrifice like a priest would.
So now Samuel, on the seventh day-- he said I'll be there in seven days. And he came. He just came after the sacrifice was made by Saul. And Samuel said, what have you done? And Saul said, when I saw that the people were scattered from me, that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said the Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.
Therefore, I felt compelled-- or I was forced to do it-- and I offered a burnt offering. It was an emergency. I had to act. Billy Sunday used to say that an excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.
Saul offers three excuses. Number one, the enemy is coming. Number two, my people are going. They're leaving. They're scattering. And number three, you never showed up. So I had to do it. I was forced into it.
Now again, he's not a Levite. He's a Benjamite. He's not a priest. He's a king. So often, too often-- and I think we've seen it in this last year-- government tries to intrude into the area of the church and make regulations, saying it's an emergency, and we have to do it this way. And we need to control your behavior.
And Samuel would have nothing of it. Rebuked him and said, who do you think you are? This is what got established. You're the king, but you're not a priest. You have no right to tell us, or to tell me, the prophet of God, what to do or how to do it.
Then I-- verse 13-- then Samuel said to Saul, you have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God which she commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.
This won't be the only time that a king does something like this. By the time we get to the book of 2 Chronicles, the 26th chapter, you're going to read about a king who is a good king, for the most part. The beginning of his life was awesome. His name was king Uzziah, and he ran for 52 years in Israel and in Judah.
But it says when he grew strong, he lifted up his heart, to his own destruction. And he goes into the temple of God, where only the priests could go. And he takes a little sensor, and puts incense in it, and goes over to the altar of incense, and starts worshipping in the Holy place itself, where there was the lampstand, and on the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. And only the priests could officiate there.
So he walks in there. And he acts like he's a priest. And he's putting incense on the incense altar. Well, the priest who was there, Ahaziah, and 80 other priests, kind of come in and get in the guy's grill. And they go, excuse me. You can't be here. You may be a king, but you're not a priest. Get out.
And it says King Uzziah was furious. He was mad, like do you know who I am? Do you know who you're talking to? I'm the king. And when he was getting all upset in a lather, it says leprosy broke out on his forehead. And he started coming down instantly, like a plague from the Lord, becoming leprous.
And then the priests said, you have leprosy. This is like-- you're like a walking defilement chamber. Get out of here. So they kicked him out. And he ran. And he had leprosy the rest of his life, till the day he died. It says he lived in isolation. He was in lockdown for the rest of his life.
Because, like him, he usurped the authority that God had established. So he says you've done foolishly. Any time you disobey God and think, well, I'm forced into it. I had to cut corners. I'm a pragmatist-- when you disobey a clear command, you, too, are acting foolishly.
But now your kingdom shall not continue. Very interesting, because he said, you know, Saul, you could have had a dynasty. Not only you, but your-- God would have established your family forever. And listen, if that would have been the case, his son Jonathan would have made an excellent king. He's a great man, a godly man, a good friend to David.
Even when David comes in and is the man after God's own heart, Jonathan is for him. Because he knows this is the man God has chosen. Jonathan would have been a good king. But because of this disobedience, already, he is being dislodged. He is being deposed. Or the notice is giving for his deposition that he's not going to last.
But God has chosen a man-- and I love this phrase-- after his heart. Now there's a couple of ways to look at that. It could mean somebody who's like God, who thinks like God, who values like God. He's a God after his own heart. That's how the phrase has come to be meant in our language. Oh, there's a guy or a gal after my heart, likes what I likes.
Or it could mean that David, who is the man that is spoken about here, is a man who chases after the heart of God, loves the Lord, and is wanting to serve and please him. He's chasing after-- he's after God's heart.
Then Samuel rose up, verse 15. Went from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul no the people who were with him, about 600 men. So 2,400 of those 3,000 have gone AWOL. They're in caves. They're in pits. They went over the Jordan River. They're not too stoked. Because the Philistines are this force to be reckoned with.
Saul, Jonathan, his-- Saul, Jonathan, his son, and the people who were present with them remained at Gibeah-Benjamin. But the Philistines encamped at Michmash. Then raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies.
One company turned to the road that leads to Ophrah, in the land of Winfrey. No, in the land of Shual. Another company turned to the road to Horon. Another company turned to the road to the border that overlooks the Valley of Zeboyim toward the wilderness.
And watch this. There was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, lest the Hebrews make swords or spears. The Philistines not only have a large army. You will discover they have iron chariots. They have swords. But they also have a monopoly on this thing, and they're not allowing weaponry over into Israel.
At this point, Israel is an agricultural community. It's a-- the army has farm implements. That's all they have to fight. There's really no swords to be had, except for two, in the entire nation of Israel. And the Philistines are controlling this. They don't want swords in Israel, because they don't want those weapons used against them. So the Iron Age is in full swing in Philistine territory, but not in Israel.
And so they are-- they're outnumbered, and they're outgunned. And it says, lest the Hebrews make swords or spears. The enemy of Israel did not want Israel to have swords. The enemies of Israel did not want Israel to sharpen any swords.
Your enemy wants to keep you from the sword. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. Satan doesn't want you to sharpen your sword, come to Bible study, be devoted to find out what the principles of God are, tune up your spiritual life. Wants to keep you from the sword of the Spirit. Wants to keep you from the most effective weapon, which is the word, sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man's plowshare, his mattocks-- that's a pickaxe-- his ax, and his sickle. And the charge for sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, the axes, to set the points of the goads for farming.
So it came about on the day of the battle, there was neither a sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan, his son. So only two swords and all of the nation of Israel, and they were owned by the king and his son Jonathan. How they got them, we're not told.
And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash. So Israel has the odds stacked against them. And they don't have weapons to defend themselves, except for farm implements.
Every now and then, I hear the rationale of certain people. And at first, it sounds like they're being nice, and hopeful, and helpful. And at first blush, it even sounds good and compassionate. And it's the rhetoric that says, you know, we just need to rid the world of weapons. That's the problem. Weapons are the problem.
Get rid of the guns. If you get rid of the guns, you solve the problem. Anybody who thinks that doesn't really understand the heart of humanity.
Get rid of the guns, and crime will stop. No, get rid of guns, and people who could defend themselves with that weapon won't be allowed to. And criminals will always get a hold of them. And it's an invitation, when you say, oh, you know, we have to disarm people. Or we have to defund the police. It's an invitation to thugs to take over.
And the Bible is filled with such examples. Can't let Israel have any weapons. And what if somebody in Israel said, well, you know, they're right? We really shouldn't have weapons. You know, the crime rate will just go up if we have weapons.
Either that, or you'd be able to defend yourself against the Philistine thugs. Which do you want? OK, I'm getting off the soapbox.
Verse 1, chapter 14-- 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. And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree, which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about 600 men.
A pomegranate tree was a symbol of victory. To have a king sitting under a pomegranate tree is good PR. It's like, I'm the king, man. I've got the victory. While your son is the one who has done anything at all in this battle, you're just sort of sitting under the pomegranate tree.
Again, good PR, right? Look at me. Here's the king, under the pomegranate. Tree Ahijah, the son of a hot tub-- I mean Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phineas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest. And Shiloh was wearing an ephod. Remember that. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.
Now between the passes by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And get this. They named these rocks. The name of one was Bozez, which means shimmering or shining. The name of the other was Seneh, which means thorny.
Actually, if you go to Israel and you got time, you can actually see this geographical topographical structure still in existence today. It's a sharp pass, sharp rocks. And it takes a wade, which is a drainage system like an aroyo, from the mountains. And it brings it to a very narrow funnel. And these rock outcroppings are in the road, or in the way.
And you could get through them. But you just can't get a large crowd through them if you want to go from one side to the other. It's the narrow strait that you would have to go through. So that's the idea behind this.
So between the passes Jonathan went, over to the Philistines' garrison. The front of one face northward, opposite Michmash, the other southward, opposite Gibeah. Then Jonathan said to the young man who bought his armor, come. Let us go over to the garrison of the uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving, by many or by few.
Now Jonathan has a strategy. First of all, he takes his armor bearer. They go through this little narrow pass. And his idea is probably to take a small group of his men, maybe all of them, to squeeze through and then attack people on the other side.
Here's what's interesting about this scene, this chapter, this strategy. Years later, the Greeks fought a very famous battle against the Persians called the Battle of Thermopylae. And Thermopylae is in Eastern Greece. It was the Persian army against Leonidas, who headed the Greeks.
There were far more people on the Persian side than the Greeks. But the Greeks were fierce fighters. And Leonidas knew that if he could get them to this very narrow passageway, that this large army-- you can have a large army. But sort of like a funnel, you can only funnel a few people through at one time. You know, when you're going single file, you can't be attacked by a horde.
So he used that as a strategy in the battle. The only problem was, as more and more and more Persians came, and they were outflanked, and they went around, and the Persians did win the battle. But it was it's a similar scene to this.
Something else-- I think you'll be interested in this. World War I, a British general named General Allenby fought the Turks in the exact same spot that we're reading about in chapter 14. The Turkish army, the Ottoman Turks, were camped at Michmash. And General Allenby had all of his men read the Bible.
He was a great general. He was a Christian general. He had his men read the Bible, not so much for spiritual knowledge, as much as learning the geography of the land. And the night before the battle, General Allenby read chapter 14 of 1 Samuel, and read how Jonathan went up with his armor against the Philistines.
And when he read that, he decided to change his strategy for the next day. He said, I'm going to go early in the morning, actually under the cover of darkness. And I'm going to take a small group of men through that narrow opening like Jonathan did. And I'm going to attack the Ottoman Turks.
It was like the exact stage play of reading the Old Testament. He just followed the Bible, and he won the battle. It's a fascinating piece of history. You could chase that down on your own. But I thought you needed to hear that as we get into this.
So Jonathan takes his armor bearer. But listen to what he says again in verse 6. Jonathan said to the young man who borrows armor, come. Let us-- that's you and me, just two of us-- let us go over to the garrison of the uncircumcised. It may be-- now, he's taken a risk.
It could be. It might happen. Who knows? But the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving, by many or by few. You know, armor bearer-- and we don't know his name-- let's just call him armor bearer. You know, armor bearer, two men, if God is in this, are as good as 600 men who are scared anyway.
Two men on fire and trusting God, if God is working, he can use two people as much as he could use six or 600,000. Who knows? Maybe the Lord will work through us. Let's go find out if God wants to work today. His logic is impeccable.
See, our problem is that when we face hardships in life, our logic breaks down as believers. We hear about cancer, or we hear about a loathsome disease, or we hear about a pandemic, or we hear about a condition, or an attack, or a natural disaster. And we choke up, and we become fearful.
In the book of Acts, they began to pray, after they were threatened by the government. Remember what happened in Jerusalem? The Jewish government, the temple government, said you can no longer preach the name of Jesus in this town ever again. You can't teach in his name. You can't do anything in his name. You can't speak in his name.
And Peter said, well, whether it's right in the sight of God to listen to you more than God, you'll have to figure it out. But we cannot but speak to things which we have seen and heard. See ya.
Then they went to prayer. And this is how they began their prayer. Well first of all, this is how many of us would begin the prayer. Oh God, this is horrible. You got to do something. We start with the problem.
Listen to how they start. Lord, you are God. You made the heaven, and the Earth, and the sea, and everything that is in them, who by the mouth of your servant David said, why did the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing. The kings have gathered together against the Lord and against his anointed. And they start quoting the scripture.
But listen to their prayer. You're God. You made the heaven. You made the Earth. You made the sea. Why did they begin that way? For perspective. It helps for you to realize, when you have an impossibility, when you have a difficulty, it's important for you to align your difficulty with God's ability, with God's capacity.
God's capacity can match and supersede your difficulty. So you can start, oh God, I'm in trouble. Or you can say, Lord, you're God. You made heaven. You made the Earth. You made the sea. You can do anything. And now you begin with the right perspective. I'm talking to the God who can do anything.
And so they prayed. It says the place where they prayed was shaken. They had just been arrested. They had just been commanded by their government not to preach in the name of Jesus. They left the prayer meeting, went right out on the street and did it again.
How do you stop people like that? You can't. If God before us, who can be against us? Hey, armor bearer, you know, if God is with us, who can be against us? Let's just go, you and me. Let's have a little fun.
Now the pastor that I was raised with used to call these ventures of faith. Let's go on an adventure of faith. Let's just see what the Lord's going to do. And he taught me to take little adventures of faith. Let's buy a radio station. Let's think about something here, or something there. Let's think outside the box.
Now sometimes, you take these little adventures. And you find out, no, God really isn't in that. OK, let's quit. Let's regroup, do something else. But sometimes you find, God's in this.
Now if they didn't take the risk, they'd never see if God's in it or not. They could have sat home and go well, you know you never. And you don't want to move too quickly on these things. They said let's go for it. Let's try it. Let's just go, you and me.
I equally loved the response of the armor bearer. Verse 7, so his armor bearer said to him, do all that is in your heart. Go then, and I am here with you, according to your heart. Man, that's the craziest plan I've ever heard. But I'm all in. Let's do it. I'm with you. You can count on me. Let's do it together.
And Jonathan said, very well. Let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. So instead of, let's take it slow, it's like, let's take a risk. And they went for it.
Now, here's the deal. If they say to us, wait until we come to you-- that's the Philippines. If they go, stay there, we're going to come to you, then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say thus, hey, you guys. Come up here, then we will go up. For the Lord has delivered them into our hand. And this will be a sign to us.
So if they say stay there, we're coming down, then the Lord's not in it. If they say hey, you Israelites, come up here, then we know God has given us the victory.
So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden. Remember, they hid in the caves, and in the pits, and in the holes? And so the Philistines now see two Israelites. And they're thinking, there must be thousands of them. They're just coming up out of the ground, out of the holes.
They've been hiding, and this is part of their strategy. Now they're going to attack. So then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and said-- to his armor bearer and said, come up to us, and we will show you something. So Jonathan, I can just see a smile starting to come over Jonathan's face.
Turns to his armor bearer and goes, yeah! This is it. Let's go get them. Come up to us, and we will show you something. Jonathan said to his armor bearer, come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.
So Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees, with his armor bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan. And as he came up after him, his armor bearer killed them. That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor bearer made was about 20 men within about a half an acre of land. And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among the people.
And the garrison and the raiders trembled. That is the Philippines. The earth quaked. So God sent an earthquake as well, so that it was a very great trembling. Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked. And there was the multitude melting away. And they went here and there.
So back up in Saul's camp, Saul with the 12 men, they're looking out over Michmash. And they see the Philistines sort of like in disarray, discomfited, like the Walking Dead. They're like zombies. They're just terrified, and they're going after each other.
And Saul said to the people who are with him, now call the roll and see who has gone from us. And when they had called the roll, surprisingly, Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. And Saul said to Ahijah, bring the Ark of God here. For at the time, the Ark of God was with the children of Israel.
Now it happened while Saul talked to the priest that the noise which was in the camp of the Philistines continued to increase. So Saul said to the priest, withdraw your hand. Now it says he called for the Ark. And it could be that he did. The Ark, remember, was in a place called Kiriath-Jearim. They had taken it from the Philistines. For 20 years, it stayed there, till it will be brought up to Jerusalem under David.
But the only conflict we have is that in the Masoretic text, the Old Testament Hebrew text, the Masoretic text, and in the septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, and in some of the Targums, Old Testament commentaries of Jewish literature, and in the Latin vulgate, it doesn't say the Ark. It says the ephod, that it was the priest's ephod.
Now remember, back in verse 3, I said remember the ephod. So one of the priests is wearing the ephod. And if you remember, in the ephod, was the breastplate, was affixed to it. And there were two stones that were used to determine the will of God in the Old Testament, called the Urim and the Thummim, a black and a white stone.
So it could be that he brought the Ark. It could be that it was just the ephod. Since different texts disagree on this, I'm not-- I'm not definitive as to which it is. But basically, it is Saul saying I need to know God's will in this.
Well, it would have been better if you started that way. But OK, bring the Ark here, or bring the ephod here. We've got to find out what's going on. So as they're trying to discern the will of God, probably through these two stones, the Urim and the Thummim, Saul looks and hears this commotion going on in the Philistine camp. He doesn't know what it is.
He's thinking, man, they might get ready to attack us. Or maybe the battle is over. I don't know. But he says withdraw your hand, as if to say I wanted to know the will of God. And I was going to wait to find out what God's will is. But cancel that order. Forget it. We got to get moving.
Withdraw your hand. And Saul and the people who were with him assembled. And they went to the battle. Indeed, every man's sword was against his neighbor. And there was a very great confusion. Moreover, the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time who went up with them into the camp from the surrounding country also joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.
So a number of Israelites had defected. They were traitors. They were dissenters. They were defectors. They went over to join the Philistines. Now that Israel is winning, they're defecting back to the Israel side. Likewise, all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard the Philistines fled, also followed hard after them in the battle.
So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth-aven. And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under an 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. This guy's an egghead. Saul's acting like an idiot. Any soldier, to fight a battle, needs energy. To say nobody's going to have a meal is to deprive your army of what is needed to fight the battle.
You'll be fatigued. You won't make it. So he comes under this rash oath. He makes this rash oath that says nobody can eat anything. But notice how he phrases it. He doesn't say until the Lord takes vengeance on his enemies. Until I have taken vengeance on my enemies.
It's all about him. He blows his own horn. He'll set up a statue to himself. It's all about him taking vengeance on his enemies, instead of aligning with God and his purposes. Now all of the people of the land came to a forest. And there was honey on the ground. And when the people that come into the woods, there was honey dripping. But no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath.
But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath. Therefore, he stretched out his hand-- the end of his rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth. And his countenance brightened.
You see what's going on? The people are fatigued. They have low blood sugar. There's honey, man. There's a sugar rush. It's like eating a Snickers bar, man. It's like, yeah. His countenance brightened. And one of the people said, your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying cursed is the man who eats food this day.
And the people were faint. But Jonathan said, my father has troubled the land. Look now how my countenance is brightened, because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better if the people had eaten freely of the spoil of their enemies, which they have found? For now, there would not have-- there would have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines.
Now they had driven back the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. So the people were faint. Now, you see those two places mentioned, Michmash to Aijalon? That's an 18 mile pursuit.
If you're going to fight, and your adrenaline is going to get pretty amped up, and your body's going to be that fatigued, and you're going to chase people for 18 miles, you're going to need a meal. 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. And he said, you have dealt treacherously. Roll a large stone to me this day. And Saul said, disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, bring me here every man's ox and every man's sheep. Slaughter them here and eat, and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.
So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night, and slaughtered it there. And Saul built an altar to the Lord. This was the first altar that he built toward the Lord, or for the Lord.
Now we're going to wait till next week to unpack the rest of this chapter and get into-- and finish chapter 15, Lord willing. But I notice, time is up. So even though I had planned to keep going-- I could go through 14 and even 15. But not tonight.
So Father, we thank you, Lord, that we've had the opportunity to sit, to read, to consider, to apply. Once again grateful, Lord, that you have delighted to make us your people.
But Father, we wonder what you might want to do, what you have been desiring to do in our community. But you're just looking for a man or a woman who will say maybe the Lord wants to work. And all he needs is somebody who is available for him to do his work.
And we think that could be us, that we could take a little venture, an adventure of faith. We pray, Father, that you would just use us. Use our mouths. Use our hands. Use our lives to change the direction of our state, of our country, of the world, and the generation that you've placed us in.
Here we are, Lord, looking for the next adventure of faith that you might have before us. We give you our bodies, Lord, as living sacrifices. It's a reasonable service. We pray in Jesus' name that you might use us for your glory, in Jesus' name. Amen.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series, Expound.