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The Jonathan Quandary

by | Jan 6, 2017 | Submission

Jonathan was in a tough place. He made David, his father’s arch-enemy and the anointed king of Israel, his best friend. Meanwhile, he was still Saul’s son, legally the next in line to become Israel’s king.

It was like walking a tightrope, but Jonathan walked it for a good amount of time. In fact, the Bible records one time where Jonathan was instrumental in making peace between David and Saul (see 1 Samuel 19:4-6).

Unfortunately this peace didn’t last.

Interestingly, Jonathan didn’t immediately see there was a problem between his father and his best friend, and even when David brought it to his attention, he still didn’t accept this as fact: “But David took an oath and said, ‘…Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.’…’Never!’ Jonathan said. ‘If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?'” (1 Sam 20:3-9, NIV2) Jonathan wanted to believe that the two men he loved the most were not at odds with one another, and his love for both, along with his desire for there to be peace between Saul and David, blinded him to truth.

This didn’t change the facts, however. Saul did want David dead: “Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, ‘…As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!’ ‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.” (1Sam 20:30-33, NIV2)

Jonathan was in a real quandary. He could no longer walk with a foot in both worlds. He either had to fully abandon his father and live on the run with David, or he had to turn his back on his best friend.

When I read this story this morning, the meaning of it crystallized in front of my eyes:

Saul, who had already been removed from kingship (See the full story in 1 Samuel 15), continued to exert his power and command over Israel. Meanwhile, he hated David and did not wish to give up his throne (See 1 Samuel 20:30-33). In the same way, our already-defeated enemy, the devil (See John 12:31, 16:11), continues to exert his power over us, and he will continue to do so until the time for judgment: “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” (John 12:31).

Just like Jonathan, even though I have sworn fealty to Jesus, I still live in this world, and I still try to keep my feet in both worlds. I want to serve Jesus, but I also want to be accepted by the world. I want to do God’s will and His will alone, but I also want to be liked, to not be considered “weird”. I am in a Jonathan quandary, and God is calling me to the crossroads. He is telling me that I must stop trying to walk with my feet in both worlds. He is telling me that I must choose this day whom I will serve.

I am sure I am not alone in this quandary, and I encourage each of you out there who also finds himself wanting to serve God but also wanting to be accepted by the world to take a moment to think about the choices that Jonathan, in his quandary, made: Jonathan chose to remain faithful to his father, Saul, and in the end, he died alongside his father and David’s throne was established (See 1 Samuel 31, 2 Samuel).

Will you and I follow in his steps? Or will we take our feet completely out of the world? Will we stop caring what the world thinks and give ourselves over in reckless abandon to the One who is truly anointed King of the world?

As for me, I choose to abandon the world. I choose to stop caring what others think. I choose to respond to God’s Spirit no matter what the potential consequences. I choose to stop thinking about those potential consequences, and to recklessly abandon myself to the One who is truly King. I pray that God will strengthen me in my resolve, and I also pray that each of you will join me!

In His love,

Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.


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