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A Test

Only a test.

1 Samuel 20:9–17

But Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I knew certainly that evil was determined by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you?”

Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me, or what if your father answers you roughly?”

And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out into the field. Then Jonathan said to David: “The LORD God of Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow, or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you, may the LORD do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the LORD be with you as He has been with my father. And you shall not only show me the kindness of the LORD while I still live, that I may not die; but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the LORD has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the LORD require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

Jonathan, still reeling from the news of his father’s insane hatred of David, joins in the scheme to sound out his father. He doesn’t know how this will turn out—and presumably fervently hopes David is wrong—but he pledges to pursue the plan, come what may.

Jonathan even raises this to the level of a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the LORD require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

He’s not happy about it, but he does the right thing.

Doing the right thing matters most when the forces against it are the greatest. Big trials often include big temptation. We must be strong in the face of such trials. Remember Paul’s encouragement about this:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. — 1 Corinthians 10:13

There used to be a frequent announcement on the radio that began with the words, “This is a test. This is only a test. Had this been an actual emergency …” It was part of something called the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) and it was to be used in the event of war. The EBS was replaced by the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in 1997 and the test announcements ceased virtually everywhere. The old system is obsolete.

But its words are not. Tests still happen, and it is good to see them as such. When things get crazy and your courage is challenged, remember the words—“This is a test. This is only a test.”

To forward this devotional, see the link in green below.

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

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, can be downloaded here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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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