1 Samuel 19:1-10 (Part 4) – Jonathan’s Choice & The Kid Who Steals Another Kid’s Toy

Posted: March 6, 2018 in Book of 1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 19:1-10 (Part 4 of 6)
Saul Tries to Kill David

In this series of blogs, we are talking about the false teachings of the Christian faith that are prevalent today. Today, we will look the challenging of the authority of God’s Word. The challenging of God’s authority goes back to the Garden of Eden, starting with the serpent’s challenge to Eve: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1). That challenge continues to assault us today. Best-selling authors tell us the biblical text isn’t reliable, that the biblical manuscripts we have in our possession are hopelessly contradictory, and that we can know little or nothing about the real, historical Jesus. Other authors tell us that the Bible is no more than a collection of religious traditions and that God Himself is nothing more than a religious myth.

For the most part, though, the challenge to the authority of the Scriptures is subtler, and some of it flows out of the deification of man, which says, “The Bible must live up to my standards. I will judge the God of the Bible based on my ethical standards.” In short, when the Scriptures contradict our feelings and preferences rather than crucify our feelings and preferences and bow down before God and His Word, we question God’s Word. In order to make ourselves the gods that we talked about yesterday, we must first challenge the authenticity and authority of the Bible. Once you accept the fallacy that God’s Word is unreliable then it follows that it can no longer be considered the moral compass for our lives. Then, it follows that we can decide for ourselves that which is morally right and wrong. After that follows moral relativism. In a morally relativistic state, there are no moral absolutes in the universe. What is right for me is right for me but it may not be right for you. You can judge for yourself what is right and what is wrong. Morality is a social construct. Further, in moral relativism, that which was immoral once is not always immoral since morality is a social construct. Society like a herd deciding where to run decides what is morally right and wrong over time. Just as in economics, the marketplace determines the price and value of goods relative to one another, morality is a marketplace determination in today’s world. The price and value of moral standards rise and fall with the demand for those “goods”.

In all of this moral malaise, it is man that is at the center of the moral decision making process. Our moral standards have progressively been lowered through the ages and particularly within the last century as to what is morally acceptable and what is not. Once the Bible was the commonly acceptable moral standard bearer in our society but no longer. We have challenged the authority of the Bible because we have decided that our personal rights to what we want to do in life is more important than any universal standards of morality. We have assailed the universality of the moral standards of God in the Bible by discrediting it as a valid source of truth. In that manner, we can now say that behaviors that are forbidden within its pages that God proclaimed to be harmful to us are no longer harmful or immoral.


That idea of the false doctrine of the Bible being a good book but not the ultimate repository of universal truth that came to mind this morning when I read this passage about the choice that Jonathan had to make – to be obedient to his father or to honor his friendship with David, to follow his father’s command which was not biblical or to follow that which was right and true according to God. With that idea in mind let us read about the choice that Jonathan had to make:

Chapter 19
1 Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David, 2 told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields. 3 I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.”

4 The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. 5 Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”

6 So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.”

7 Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before.

8 War broke out again after that, and David led his troops against the Philistines. He attacked them with such fury that they all ran away.

9 But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit[a] from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp, 10 Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night.

In this passage, we are challenged by the fact that Saul commands his son, Jonathan, to commit an act that is clearly unbiblical and is clearly against the nature of God. Jonathan had a choice to make. He had to decide whether what his father commanded him to do was consistent with Scripture and with the nature of God. Jonathan was wise enough to understand the difference between obeying a parent’s command and violating God’s law. Our parents should be teaching us and commanding us to do only that which is consistent with Scripture. We must be discerning about what we hear from others as biblical truth compared to the actual Word of God. If something seems like it doesn’t smell right in view of Scripture, that is the Holy Spirit convicting us that what we are hearing as gospel truth is in actuality in error. Listen to the Holy Spirit.

In today’s world, there are denominations of the Christian religion that have basically gutted the Bible upon which their denomination was founded. In order to remain acceptable and relevant in a society that no longer sees God’s Word as the moral compass by which we measure ourselves, some in the Christian faith have gutted the difficult parts of the Bible by saying that the Bible is not wholly reliable. Once you go down that path, the Bible then is no longer the measure of man. Man is the measure of the Bible. Once the Bible is no longer the measure of man, we take the place of God and make our own choices about what we want to believe from the Bible. It becomes a good resource book for wisdom but not for how we are to live our lives, particularly if it speaks clearly and plainly against a behavior we enjoy participating in.
The bottom line is that I can argue with you all day long about the authority of a very real God over our lives. A very real God who predates time and space created the universe. A very real God developed the laws of physics by which the universe runs and rules itself. A very real God then gave us very real universal truths by which we are to measure ourselves. Just as there are absolute laws that govern how the universe operates that were set in motion by God so too are there absolute truths that He has established for morality and such truths were set for in God’s Word. These are immutable truths that cannot be changed. We so easily believe that there are universal laws by which the universe is ruled but find it an inconvenient truth for their to be universally true moral standards in life established by our Creator. That’s just too inconvenient to us. However, if you want to go on believing that morality is a social construct of man and that you can do whatever you please, it is like arguing with a child about the toy that they are playing with that belongs to someone else. You can demonstrate to them the truth of the ownership of the toy but they will continue to refuse to give it up. Why? Because they want to play with it and that trumps the ownership of the toy belonging to someone else.

What if you are wrong about God? What if you are wrong about the universal truths that God sets forth in His Word? Are you willing to bet your eternity on the reliability of your own set of truths? Are you willing to bet that there is no higher moral authority than ourselves? Are you willing to bet your eternity on that? Eternity is an awfully big bet when it comes to devaluing God and His Word? In our passage today, Jonathan has to decide whether it’s OK to listen to the vacillating morality of his earthly father or rely on the absolute moral standards of God. What’s it going to be for you?

Amen and Amen.

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