Jonathan Eats Honey
April 2 - Nº 92 1 Samuel 14:24-46
God had just helped the Israelites win a decisive battle against their most intimidating enemies—the Philistines. But Saul thought he was in control. Earlier that day, he had made his troops take an oath that they would not eat any food until he had gotten revenge on his enemies. He uttered a curse against any soldier who did not keep this vow. God had never said that the Israelite soldiers shouldn’t eat anything on the day of battle. This was completely Saul’s idea and it turned out to be a big mistake. By the end of the day, the battle had moved from the hill country into the forest. The soldiers, who had been fighting all day, were starving. There, on the forest floor, were huge hives filled with honey! It was some of the best nourishment these weary men could have eaten. However, none of them dared to touch it because of the oath they had taken with Saul. But Jonathan had not been around when his father made his foolish vow. So he picked up some of the honey . . . and ate it. One of the soldiers immediately told him what he had done wrong. Jonathan replied, “My father should never have made that unwise vow. The men are about to faint from exhaustion and hunger. See how much my eyes brightened as soon as I ate the honey? It would have been so much better if the soldiers had been allowed to eat some of the food the Philistines had left behind!” As soon as evening came and the fighting ceased for the day, the famished soldiers began butchering the sheep and cattle they had captured from the Philistines. They were so hungry they did not take the time to drain all the blood before they ate it. This was in violation of an important commandment God had given to Moses (see Leviticus 17:10-12). When Saul realized what was happening, he took over and started preparing the meat the way God wanted it prepared. When they were finished eating, Saul decided to make a night raid and kill all the Philistines who were still alive. The priest suggested that he should first ask God if this was a wise decision. Saul inquired, but God did not answer. The king realized that something must be wrong. Someone in his army must have sinned. “Once I find out who it is, he will be put to death, even if it is my own son,” Saul brazenly threatened. When he drew lots to see who the offender was, the lot fell on Jonathan. “What did you do?” Saul wanted to know. “I ate some honey.” Jonathan replied honestly. “If I am to die for that, I am ready.” “I took an oath before God,” Saul stated. “Therefore you must die!” But the soldiers rebelled. They rose up against Saul. “Jonathan will not die!” they demanded. “God used him to bring us the victory today. We will not allow one hair of his head to be touched!” Jonathan’s life was spared, and Saul’s leadership was seriously damaged.
Is your relationship with God consistent, or do you easily fall back into old habits and patterns that put you in charge instead of God? Although he made a few good decisions along the way, Saul’s inconsistent walk with God led to many unwise decisions and lack of respect from those who were supposed to follow him.