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Times Have Changed

but not the plan of salvation.

1 Samuel 14:36–46 (ESV)

Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. And Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. For as the LORD lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” Therefore Saul said, “O LORD God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O LORD, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.

Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the LORD lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

It was just a little while ago, in 1 Samuel 11:13, that Saul showed grace towards people who he could have justly been harsh to. The mob wanted to off his detractors, but he put a stop to that.

But now he wants to show no grace towards his son Jonathan, but the mob puts a stop to that. My, how times have changed. Jonathan has grown while Saul has shrunk.

Jonathan would make a great heir apparent to the throne—if Saul hadn’t wrecked that possibility.

History can turn on a moment, often in curious ways. Winston Churchill said, on hearing of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, “So we won after all.” He saw down the tunnel of time to what would result.

And he was right. The U.S. jumped into the war, and that made all the difference.

It is alleged that some of the Japanese high officials saw down the tunnel of time too—and were ashen-faced about it.

The application to this passage is that God knows what He’s doing. Jonathan will end up close to David, but David will be the king. The Davidic dynasty won’t be headache free either.

But the plan of salvation will advance down a glorious path no one saw coming (no human, that is).

These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to the DEEP click here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Scripture taken from the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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