1 Chronicles 8:29-9:1 (Part 2) – Family Can Sometimes Put Us in Tough Spots!

Posted: February 4, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 8:29-9:1 (Part 2 of 2)

The Descendants of Benjamin: Family of Saul

Sometimes, family presents us with quandaries that we must sort through. I know in this genealogical passage, we are reminded of the choices Jonathan had to make between his godly friend, David, and his ungodly father, Saul. He loved his family for sure but he repeatedly demonstrated that he would not be a part of Saul’s unrepentantly sinful activities. Family. Sometimes, it can be our source of greatest pain and hardest choices.

I was presented with that same issue recently – enablement vs. tough love. As I have noted here before, my youngest daughter has struggled with addictions since she was a teenager. She is and always has been a brilliant young lady. Had she not gotten tangled in the web of addiction, she could have been something amazing. She never really had to study much in school. She just retained stuff the first time and understood stuff the first time. She was an excellent student and full of amazing potential. She was super smart but not a nerd. She was smart but social. She was smart but not introverted. She could command attention. But it all changed from great potential to living from hand to mouth. It changed from great promise to living one moment to the next. It changed from a great future to not seeing beyond the next week. It went from great earnings potential and a secure future to not having a dime to her name. It went from safe and secure to living from one emergency to the next.

And those emergencies always ended up my doorstep. I have had to bail her out of one financial emergency after the next from the time she was 17 forward. I enabled all that behavior in that I was always her backstop. The one who she could run to when she was short on funds and there was this thing that would be a disaster for her if I did not help her right then. The last week in January 2020 was the same. After months of not really talking to me, she tells me that she needed to “borrow” (I put that in quotes because she still owes my lots of money that she has “borrowed” from me over the past decade) some money to pay a fine for driving with a suspended license that has been outstanding so long that there was a bench warrant out for her arrest (since she did not show up for court when the DUS charge was heard in traffic court). I was supposed to just shell the money out on the spot – that day. It’s been this way with her for a decade. I finally just told her no and that she would have to figure this out on her own. She begged and begged and it was the hardest thing I have had to do in a long time. Because as you might expect, living in a hand to mouth existence does not give you confidence that she had the kind of funds available to pay a driving under suspension fine plus court costs plus license reinstatement fees and so on. So, you know where she is right now as a result. That fact rips my heart out when I let myself think about it.

However, sometimes, we have to stand apart from our families. Sometimes, it is to teach them there there are consequences to our actions instead of continuing to enable their behavior. Sometimes, like with Jonathan, we have to stand against the tide of the unrepentantly sinful behaviors of our family members and do things God’s way. In my case, it is not easy allowing your child to learn lessons the hard way. In Jonathan’s case, it was not easy to stand against his dad’s sinful behavior (Saul tried to kill him even!). Sometimes, our families cause us to make difficult choices.

That’s what I thought of this morning when I read of the family of Saul. How difficult it must have been to stand against his dad. You know he loved his dad, because he was … his dad. It’s just the same for me with my situation with my daughter. I love her because…she is my daughter. But sometimes, we cannot let familial love get us confused on either doing things God’s way or teaching our kids that there are consequences to our sins, past and present. Let’s read through this genealogy in 1 Chronicles 8:29-9:1 and reflect on what we know about Jonathan and his legacy as we do:

29 Jeiel[d] the father of Gibeon lived in Gibeon, and the name of his wife was Maacah. 30 His firstborn son: Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal,[e] Nadab, 31 Gedor, Ahio, Zecher, 32 and Mikloth, who became the father of Shimeah. Now these also lived opposite their kindred in Jerusalem, with their kindred. 33 Ner became the father of Kish, Kish of Saul,[f] Saul[g] of Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-baal; 34 and the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal; and Merib-baal became the father of Micah. 35 The sons of Micah: Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz. 36 Ahaz became the father of Jehoaddah; and Jehoaddah became the father of Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri; Zimri became the father of Moza. 37 Moza became the father of Binea; Raphah was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son. 38 Azel had six sons, and these are their names: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan; all these were the sons of Azel. 39 The sons of his brother Eshek: Ulam his firstborn, Jeush the second, and Eliphelet the third. 40 The sons of Ulam were mighty warriors, archers, having many children and grandchildren, one hundred fifty. All these were Benjaminites.

In this passage, we are reminded of Jonathan and what he represented in the history of Israel. He was the best friend of David. His friendship with David went beyond family loyalties. Jonathan was more loyal to his best friend than he was to his father, his family. Why? Because his family, particularly his father, was not godly. Jonathan was a godly man and a family man but the former superseded the latter. He was not much like his father. Jonathan was known for his deep love, loyal friendship, and faith in God, while Saul repeatedly showed foolishness, pride, and disobedience to God (1 Samuel 13:8–13; 14:24–30; 15:1–34). God eventually rejected Saul’s kingship and replaced him with David (1 Samuel 16:11–13).

Jonathan was faithful to the Lord and positioned himself against his father politically, because he knew that God had chosen David to be the next king. He made a covenant with the house of David and therefore recognized David’s family, rather than his own, as the chosen line of kingship (1 Samuel 20:16). Jonathan and Saul were obviously not on good terms, for Jonathan actually desired that the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies (1 Samuel 20:16), and Saul, when he suspected Jonathan’s betrayal in favor of David, threw a spear at his son in an attempt to murder him (1 Samuel 20:33). Saul also insulted both Jonathan and his mother, calling Jonathan a “stupid son of a whore” (1 Samuel 20:30, NLT).

In a later battle with the Philistines, Jonathan was killed alongside two of his two brothers, Abinadab and Malchi-shua (1 Samuel 31:2). Saul himself was also badly wounded and told his armor-bearer to slay him. When the armor-bearer was unwilling to take the king’s life, Saul fell on his own sword, and his grieved armor-bearer followed his example. Even in death, Jonathan’s righteousness exceeded that of his father. In that way, the line of Saul ended, and David’s line continued as prophesied. Jonathan’s five-year-old son, Mephibosheth, was crippled on the day that his household received news of Jonathan’s death (2 Samuel 4:4). Later, King David honored Mephibosheth and treated him as his own son for the sake of his friend Jonathan (2 Samuel 9).

Jonathan was an honorable man despite his family and his father’s shortcomings. It is a reminder to us that we can rise above our family situations if we are mired and surrounded by the unrepentant sins and actions of our families. We can love our families but we must be able to follow God first, our families second. We must be able to confront our families about their unrepentant practices of sin and if they are not willing to change, be able to separate ourselves from it. Does that mean that we stop loving our families? No. It was evident by whom Jonathan was with (his family) at his death that he stilled loved his family but yet he was realistic enough to not join in and be like his family when it came to their obviously sinful and unrepentant behavior. God’s way must always be greater to us than our family’s way or our friend’s ways. As parents, too, we must sometimes stand up and tell our kids that I am no longer going to support this kind of behavior by enabling you, by bailing you out of your emergencies, just because I don’t way you to experience bad things. Sometimes, the best love that we can show IS to let them experience the consequences of their unrepentant behaviors.

Amen and Amen.

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