Wednesday, April 17, 2013

predestined to fail

Read I Samuel 14 and II Corinthians 13

“Then said Jonathan, “My father has troubled the land.” II Samuel 14:29

Among fathers and sons, as the sons get older, generally there is a natural conflict. Sons, who had idolized their fathers as young boys, come to a time in their lives where they can make no sense of why their fathers do what they do. I remember overhearing a conversation that my 13 year old son had with my 15 year old daughter, “Why do you think Dad is always right? He’s not always right you know.” I would have hollered into their conversation, “Amen.” But it was suppose to be private.

Clearly, the Lord has made it so a young man’s brain will begin making its own observations and conclusions. The answer of a frustrated father, “Because I told you so,” just won’t work anymore. That’s why in an agricultural community, farmers typically send off their teenage sons to work for the neighbor down the road. That’s why it is a really bad idea for a father to coach his teenage son’s sports team.

In most cases, at age 25 or 26, the son has an epiphany. He hears his dad say something and he thinks to himself, “That was not the dumbest thing I ever heard said.” And then he catches himself laughing at something his dad said, and he’s laughing not because it was so stupid, but because it was funny.

Regardless, the Lord has made sons to look at things differently from their fathers. Sons may learn from their father’s wise counsel and their father’s good example. But they often learn even more from their father’s foolishness and inconsistencies.

In yesterday’s devotion, Dan wrote, “I like Saul, He had no qualifications or royal credentials, but Israel needed a leader and so he “manned-up.” He took a group of frightened, barbarous tribes and forged them into a kingdom, united under God. Yet despite his best efforts, Saul's rule was destined for failure. The kingship that Israel was already promised to Judah and his descendants.”

Though I always really like what Dan has to say, I really dislike Saul. --And I really like Saul’s son Jonathan.

There are a few unimpeachable characters in the Bible. One of those is Joseph who kept his integrity despite the insidiousness of his enemies. And there is Daniel, who kept his integrity despite the pressure on him from his enemies to cave in. Of course there is the Lord Jesus, whose love for His Father kept Him absolutely focused on the task in front of Him. And then there is Jonathan who was such a contrast to his father.

Saul did nothing of his own thoughtful volition. His every action came from anger, or fear, or Samuel’s commands, or from pressure by the people, or from regret, or from his bewildered sense of principle.

Jonathan learned so much from his father: He took the initiative as he courageously trusted in the Lord to direct him. He was sensible, practical, fearless and, curiously, bypassed by God to be His chosen king—though, (his father pointed out to him his stupidity) he lovingly protected the very one who would “usurp” his rightful place on the throne. Jonathan knew that God had already chosen David to be the next king.  And he felt not at all a victim because of God’s plan for Israel’s king 600 years before he was born.

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