BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “…Jonathan, Saul’s son…said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you.” 1 Samuel 23:16-17 ESV
As the story of Saul and David and Jonathan unfolds, we see a stark contrast in the attitudes of Saul and his son Jonathan. Saul moves from hiding among the baggage to be revealed as a reluctant king to quickly holding on to his power and control with a tight fist and paranoid zeal. His insecurity is revealed when he was quickly intimidated by the chants of “Saul has killed his thousands and David his 10,000’s” following David’s triumph over Goliath.
His efforts to kill David moved from the subtle to the overt. Saul even viewed his son and successor as his enemy and as one who “conspired” with David. As Jonathan was attempting to defend David’s loyalty, Saul goes into a rage and yells as Jonathan,
“You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame…..For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established.” (1 Samuel 20:30,31 ESV)
You see, the prophet Samuel had already pronounced judgment upon Saul because of his disobedience to God. He told Saul, “For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel…Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.” (1 Samuel 15:26, 28 ESV)
Now Saul was left to secure his rule and kingdom by his own efforts. Saul appears to be concerned for Jonathan and his future, but in reality he is only looking out for his own interests and attempting to accomplish in human effort what the Lord was willing to do for Him, if he followed the Lord with his whole heart.
Jonathan, on the other hand, was able to recognize the Lord’s anointing on David and was willing to accept that and do what he could to be a true friend to David. He and David were bound by an oath of friendship. There was trust in each other and a willingness on Jonathan’s part to accept a unique and special role.
Jonathan willingly viewed his future as serving David as King. He would be loyal to him, even as the one who was a rightful heir to the throne. This attitude of Jonathan’s is often overlooked in he study of scriptures. How often is an individual more concerned about what God wants, than what is rightfully theirs by human standards?
Jonathan’s attitude reminds me of John the Baptist who said of the Messiah, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV)
In the success of every leader are those who are willing to accept a support role and be those encourage and facilitate the accomplishments of that leader. While we admire and look up to those who are effective leaders, we need to understand the value of those who support and encourage that leader in fulfilling their role as they accept a position and attitude of “being second, but satisfied.”
Prayer for today…. Lord thank you for the gifts, security and satisfaction that comes from those who are willing to encourage and support the success of those You have called to lead. We can see that in so many arenas of our world and it is so easy to take for granted. Thank you for the example of Jonathan and what it reveals and the challenge it presents to us.