Tag Archives: I Samuel 14

Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (14:15-23) Peace or Panic?

Jonathan, Saul’s son, has just routed some of the Philistine army. Then the Lord sends a panic! The ground shakes and a “panic” strikes the whole Philistine army (v. 15).

Saul’s lookouts saw “the army melting away in all directions” (v. 16). Saul investigates to find which men had left them — and discovers it is Jonathan and his armor-bearer.

Then Saul asks that the ark be brought. But the “tumult” and the “total confusion” in the Philistine army caused them to strike one another (v. 19-20). The Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines (POW’s?) went over to the Israelites. Those who had hidden in the hill country joined the battle when they heard that the Philistines were on the run. “So on that day the Lord saved Israel” (v. 23).

Some takeaways for today:
1. Sometimes the Lord sends not peace, but panic! He is not a God of confusion, but He can inflict confusion on His enemies!
2. He gets the credit for saving Israel on this day. But notice — those who had hidden joined the battle and fought the Philistines!
3. It appears that Saul was prepared to use the ark as a good luck symbol for Israel, but the Lord caused the Philistine army to turn their swords on each other. We can trust the Lord to take care of His own!

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Posted by on November 30, 2018 in I Samuel 14


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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (14:1-14) God’s Will Tested!

In our text this morning, we have Jonathan, Saul’s son, feeling adventurous. Without informing his father, he and his armor-bearer decide to attack the Philistines!

The area they use has two cliffs: one called Bozez and the other Seneh. Jonathan says “Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether, by man or by few.” (v. 6).

Jonathan then proposes a test: “After the Philistines see us, if they say ‘wait there and we’ll come to you’, we’ll stay where we are. If they say, ‘Come up to us’, we’ll climb up, knowing the Lord has given them into our hands.” (vv. 8-10).

They show themselves to the Philistine outpost who say, “The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes”! They then invite Jonathan and his armor-bearer to “come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson!” (v. 12).

Jonathan leads the way up the cliff (I assume the armor-bearer was supposed to advance ahead of him?) and they kill 20 Philistines! (v. 14).

Some takeaways for me:
1. While not everything in the Bible is prescriptive (meaning that every believer should do this or that action), all is certainly descriptive (what biblical characters did is described to us). There are no Philistines for us to sneak up on and attack, so we are reading descriptive material here.
2. Jonathan’s statement: “Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether, by man or by few.” (v. 6), is profound. We don’t always know God’s will. Sometimes it is that we fail. But the problem is never one of His lack of power.
3. The puzzling thing in this text is Jonathan’s either/or test of the Lord. He bases his decision to engage or not engage this Philistine outpost on what those enemy combatants will say! And their “Come up here — We’ll teach you a lesson” is confirmation enough for Jonathan to go to battle! Again, this is descriptive of what Jonathan did. I don’t believe it is prescriptive for every believer!
4. Notice that there was still a battleground to be climbed up to (sorry for the poor English) and a fight to be fought. The Lord, indeed, gave the Philistines into Jonathan’s hands, but then those hands had to fight!

Biblically we can affirm Jonathan’s statement about the Lord’s ability in verse 6 without resorting to his way of determining the will of God in verses 8-10.  And by God’s strength, we can do our best in fighting the battles the Lord puts before us!

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Posted by on November 29, 2018 in I Samuel 14


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