This is the stuff that Hollywood dramas are made of…
Palace intrigues; jealousies and power grabs. In this case it would have to be a work of fiction… the usual Hollywood drivel…since reality is just the opposite.
So far we are learning that the prince of Israel, King Saul’s son Jonathan, has recognized that God has chosen David to be the next king of Israel instead of Jonathan. Yet, instead of what we would expect, Jonathan displays a different set of priorities.
Rather than his own privileges and perks, the young prince shows his desire to see God’s priorities established. We have seen already how Jonathan hands over his royal robe and his personal garments that mark him as one with the right to rule and also as a man of privilege.
Both of these are relinquished to God’s will.
Now we see him getting serious.
I notice something here. As hard as it is to give up our right to rule and our expectations of privilege as a child of God, what really tests our devotion is giving up our rights to self preservation.
As believers in Christ, we have professed to bow to the authority of Christ and in so doing, we acknowledge that He alone has the right to rule. We can even humbly submit all of our possessions as rightfully His.
While this is evidence of a work of grace in our hearts, what follows next is something so contrary to our human nature that it truly requires supernatural grace. It is a special evidence of grace that we attribute only to those who have achieved that ‘closer walk’ with Jesus.
The writer freely admits that he is but “seeing through a glass darkly” to think on these things that the following illustrates.
His right to exercise his royal will, defending himself and judging others.
From a youth, Jonathan has been given the very best training in the art of war. His bow and sword handling skills would likely be among the best in Israel. As a warrior, he was able to not only defend himself but his fellow warriors as well.
Next to his father Saul, Jonathan and his sword would recognized as the defenders of Israel and instruments of God’s Judgment against her enemies. For all of these reasons, Jonathan could justify his retention of these implements of war.
When it comes to self-defense, we learn these skills early and hone them to perfection throughout our lifetimes. There are no end of justifications for this, and most of them valid. Yet, there are occasions, as believers, when we are called upon to lay down our arms and commit ourselves to the Lord.
Taking our cue from the Lord, the apostle Peter states our calling when persecuted for our faith:
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” 1 Peter 2:21-23
His right to project his authority.
Rather than getting even and displaying our prowess, we are taught to defer to others and esteem each other better than ourselves. (Phil 2:3)
Porcupines, Pufferfish and Peacocks are all examples of animals that try to make themselves appear bigger than they really are when they become defensive. I think that we can confidently add People to our pea-shooter when listing protective projectors.
When it comes to projecting our authority, the apostle Paul teaches: “Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” 1 Cor 6:7
His right to run freely
Much like when Air Force One comes into a city’s airspace, flights are diverted and delayed, so when Jonathan showed up somewhere, plans were changed to accommodate his movements.
Jonathan’s girdle is that one essential element of his armor that holds everything together and gives each item its purpose. It allows him to move freely and reach for his weapons easily. He had a right to go where ever he desired in the Kingdom.
God’s purposes for us require that we move when he tells us to move and stay when he tells us to stay. When doors close, I am too keen to pry them open rather than looking and waiting for God’s open door.
I want God to accommodate His purposes to match my desires rather than waiting for my desires to match His purposes. I am prone to use my abilities to fulfill my plans rather than God’s.
So, we learn that becoming Jonathan’s demands more than superficialities. We may be genuine in our acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord, but this commitment requires that we be willing also to turn over our exercise of self defense, our exercise of authority, and our exercise of free will.
Becoming Jonathan’s takes supernatural grace, but it is our spiritually reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)