I. Jonathan’s Steps Of Faith Vs. 1-23
A. The Situation Vs. 1-5
1. Jonathan had previously attacked the Philistines who were the enemies of Israel.
2. The Philistines decided to counter-attack, and the people of Israel hid themselves.
3. King Saul panicked and decided to not wait for Samuel to offer a sacrifice before the battle. He sinned in doing so and God announced that Saul’s dynasty would not continue. Saul did what only a priest was allowed to do. Saul acted in fear, not in faith.
4. V. 1 Jonathan decided to seek God’s will about attacking the Philistines, who were encamped nearby. He probably didn’t tell his father because of Saul’s carnal leadership.
5. Vs. 2, 3 Saul and his leaders were doing nothing to help the situation.
6. Vs. 4, 5 Jonathan was looking for an opportunity to help God’s people.
B. Jonathan Seeks God’s Will Vs. 6-10
1. V. 6 Jonathan boldly sought God’s will without being presumptuous.
a. He has the attitude of Romans 8:31 If God be for us, who can be against us?
b. NOTE– As Jonathan was seeking God’s will, he was moved by knowing the character and ability of God. It was his general knowledge of God that moved him out to discover the specific will of God.
c. Jonathan was using the method of looking for a “closed door”, or an “open door”.
d. He was stepping out and looking for certain circumstances to direct him.
2. Guzik– Nothing restrains the LORD: The only thing that can be said to restrain God is our unbelief. God’s power is never restrained but His will may be restrained by our unbelief. He may choose not to act until we partner with Him in trust. God had a trusting partner in Jonathan.
a. Matthew 13:58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
3. This same principal sometimes guided Paul as a missionary. See Acts 16:6-10
a. Paul knew that he was called to evangelize and plant churches.
b. The day-to-day details were guided by the Lord, but Paul kept moving forward knowing the character of God and the call of God upon his life.
c. As we seek God’s will, start with what you do know about God.
d. God’s specific will for your life will be in line with His character.
e. God’s specific will will not go against the clear revelation of who and what God is.
f. We do well to read our Bibles to know the heart, methods, and plans of God.
4. Vs. 7-10 Jonathan had a general plan but he didn’t try to control the outcome.
a. Jonathan was not trying to force God into answering his prayer in a certain way.
b. He was just as ready for a “no” answer as he was for a “yes”.
c. He didn’t demand on know all the details if the answer was “yes”.
d. If God was leading him, he and the armor bearer were very much outnumbered.
e. God would really have to show His power and might on behalf of Jonathan.
C. God Shows Jonathan To Move Forward In Faith Vs. 11-15
1. This was the sign that Jonathan had been looking for. God clearly answered his prayer.
2. Guzik-A victorious battle begun by only two; a gospel spread around the world by only 12; God doesn’t need big numbers to start a big work.
3. Vs. 13-15 God sent panic, confusion, and an earthquake on behalf of Jonathan and his armor bearer. If we will follow the Lord’s lead and step out in faith when we sense God leading us, then God will do His part. This would help Jonathan and his armorbearer.
a. NOTE-Jonathan climbed on his hands and knees. It would not be an easy victory.
b. God won’t use us much if we only want easy victories. Do the hard work!
D. Saul’s Suspicious Response Vs. 16-19
1. V. 16 Saul and his leaders were not men of faith. They weren’t seeking God. They finally realized that there was a fight going on.
2. V. 17 Saul wants to know who is missing. He’s out of touch. He’s a leader that isn’t leading, and he wants to know who has taken the lead. They discover that it’s Jonathan.
3. V. 18 Saul wants the ark so that he can ask God what is going on. Out of touch.
4. V. 19 The priest was probably determining God’s will by consulting the Urim and the Thummim, stones within the breastplate of the priest. Saul finally realized the moment.
E. Israel Is Inspired By Jonathan’s Faith Vs. 20-23
1. V. 20 God brought confusion to the enemy. They fought amongst themselves.
2. Vs. 21-23 The Israelites who had previously deserted and were fighting for the Philistines were now encouraged, and they now fought against the Philistines.
II. Saul’s Failure To Lead Spiritually Vs. 24-52
A. Saul’s Foolish Oath V. 24
1. V. 24 After a battle, there was some finishing of the enemy that needed to happen. Catch those who escaped, etc. That would mean further pursuit of enemy troops, which would be difficult for these famished Israelites.
2. Here we see Saul exhibiting carnal leadership. He now thinks it’s his battle.
3. Instead of helping the people, Saul’s carnal leadership made it more difficult for them.
4. How much better for a leader to simply realize that he should defer to someone else until his heart is right with God. How much better to humble yourself for a moment rather than act spiritual and hurt the ones you are supposed to help.
B. Jonathan Unknowingly Breaks Saul’s Command Vs. 25-30
1. Vs. 25-27 Jonathan unknowingly breaks the decree of his father.
2. Vs. 28-30 Jonathan had proven himself to be the one who was led by God and was the true spiritual leader of the moment. He rightly assessed his father’s idea as foolish.
C. Saul’s Effort To Minimize The Damage Vs. 31-34
1. Vs. 31-35 The Israelites were not to eat meat until it had been properly drained of its blood. Saul’s oath left the people hungry and fatigued, and desperate to eat. Saul’s sin created an opportunity for many others to sin.
2. Saul seeks to fix the problem, but how much better to not have created the problem.
D. Saul’s Failed Effort To Lead Vs. 36-52
1. Vs. 36-44 When leaders are carnal and not walking with God, they create difficult situations for people. They put them under legalism, and then when the people sin, they condemn them. The problem originated with Saul, not Jonathan.
2. V. 45 Saul was willing to kill his son rather than to humbly admit he was really at fault; his once impressive humility was being overtaken by pride.
3. Jonathan should not have been executed for two reasons: he broke the oath in ignorance, and God’s approval was evident from His great blessing upon Jonathan.
a. What brought the victory won that day? Saul’s command, or Jonathan’s faith?
b. The people brought forth the voice of reason and the heart of God. Fortunately, Saul listened to the people. Jonathan was spared. Saul probably feared the people.
4. Vs. 46-52 The implication behind and the Philistines went to their own place is that the victory might have been much greater if not for Saul’s foolish oath.
5. Overall, Saul was a great soldier, but a bad king. He knew how to fight, but didn’t know how to worship the Lord, or obey him. His talents brought success in the field, but his heart got him disqualified from serving God.
6. Your talent will get you into ministry; your integrity will keep you there.