1 Samuel 14:43-45 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?” Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.” 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 shall 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.
There is an interesting, but complex, spiritual dynamic going on here as we seek to ‘profit’ from this part of inspired Scripture in terms of “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Throughout this chapter, King Saul is desperately trying to EARN God’s favour by impressing him with an oath involving very costly, self-denying fasting (24-26), and by building an altar to the LORD to make sure his men OBEYED the COMMANDMENT of Deuteronomy 12:23-24 concerning the draining of blood from animals slaughtered for food (31-35).
Jonathan, on the other hand, did everything with an attitude of humble and complete dependence on God’s grace and provision rather than on rule-keeping to gain ’Brownie points’. In the end, in terms of ‘law’, Jonathan was found ‘wanting’ and deserving of DEATH, but was SAVED by God’s GRACE. By contrast, Saul’s ingrained strategy of ‘WORKS righteousness’ continued to get him into no end of trouble, until he was finally rejected as King!
It seems to me there is a very important lesson for us all here. Are we seeking to live a life of obedience to God’s Word in order to impress him and gain his approval? Or are we WANTING to live consistently with God’s revealed truth simply as an appropriate RESPONSE to his undeserved, amazing GRACE?
In other words, are we hoping that our impressive PERFORMANCE will gain us a secure place in God’s family for all eternity, or are we simply striving to live lives consistent with ALREADY HAVING a secure place in his family through faith in the finished, gracious work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who took the punishment FOR US on the cross, and then CONQUERED DEATH, FOR US, by rising again (Romans 4:25)?
– Bruce Christian