“Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault,[d] respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. 42 Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!” 44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.” 45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death. 46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.” 1 Samuel 14.41-46
Saul was foolish, there is no way around it. He acted foolishly, without good and godly counsel. The decision to put to death whoever disobeyed his rules of not eating after the battle was just plain stupid. When it turned out that it was Jonathan who unknowingly disobeyed the king, Saul was still going to go through with the punishment. It’s not until the men of Israel stood up and said, “As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today (defeated the Philistines) with God’s help.”
Saul was going to kill his son for disobeying a silly rule that he knew nothing about. It was only when the majority swayed his opinion that he changed his mind. Yesterday we spoke about poor leaders and Saul is one of them. An attribute of a pool leader is one who does not seek wise counsel and can’t make up his mind.
It’s not hard to find examples of this in the news and on TV. As the political wars rage, members of both parties speak up without thinking. They create falsehoods and a line of thought which is certainly not reasonable or not true. As we know from studying the life of Saul, this form of leadership does not work. Although no leader is perfect, leaders who seek wise counsel, stand for truth, justice, love and faith are much more reasonable then those who do not.
Saul made a good move not to kill his son out of a foolish and inconsequential decision he made earlier in the day. (So I guess he did one thing well!) Jonathan was acting on behalf of the Lord when by faith and courage he faced down the Philistines and defeated twenty of them in one brief battle.
What kind of leader do you want to be and what kind do you want to follow? Let us seek the Lord’s counsel on every decision of our life and place our hope in his hands.
“O Lord God, it is simple to put our trust in humans and not in the Divine. Thank you Jesus for setting for us the example of a good and godly leader. For loving people, the Word of God, and walking according to the Spirit. Help us daily seek your face and place you first in our lives. No matter the political or social climate of our world, we praise your name and magnify you above all others. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen