Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food ... But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. (1 Samuel 14:24, 27 NIV)
In a very real sense, the actions of Saul and Jonathan typify two ways to live the Christian life. Saul represents a fearful, insecure life of religious striving through works. Jonathan exemplifies the confident, abundant, victorious life rooted in covenantal grace.
God gave Jonathan and his armor-bearer a miraculous, overwhelming victory over a numerically superior enemy. The breakthrough was (literally) fueled by Jonathan’s discovery of honeycomb just lying on the ground at the very moment he was famished and exhausted from fighting.
Saul and his troops came across the honeycomb, too, but they couldn’t partake of this miraculous provision. Why? Because Saul had placed himself and his people under a fast that was designed to earn them God’s blessing and favor for victory. That victory remained only partial and incomplete because the people were too weak to pursue the enemy.
Here we have the perfect illustration of two ways of living. Saul’s approach to life was characterized by fear (of both God and man), insecurity, and perceived scarcity. He hoped he could use works to buy God’s help in advancing his own agenda. When God tried to bring him miraculous provision (honey), he missed it. Religion blinded him to God’s provision.
In contrast, Jonathan’s approach was characterized by security and confidence based on trust in God’s covenant with him. He followed God’s leading while assuming he had God’s help and favor because he had adopted God’s agenda as his own. When God brought him supernatural provision, he recognized it as the gift that it was and gladly received it.
Which approach to life in God will you choose: Saul’s or Jonathan’s? The fact is, God leaves honeycomb lying on the ground all around you because He is good. But only one of these approaches will free you to perceive it, receive it, and live in total victory.
Prayer of Declaration:
Father, I choose the way of Jonathan: the way of life rooted in a full understanding of Your covenantal grace.
I choose to abandon, once and for all, the life of fearful, insecure striving to earn Your favor and blessing. Because of Your faithfulness to our new and better covenant—one based on better promises—I have security and confidence. I follow Your leading, knowing I have Your help and favor. I’ve adopted Your agenda as my own. When You bring me supernatural provision, I perceive it and gladly receive it.
I embrace, today and for the rest of my life, the truth that in Jesus I am as loved, accepted, and approved by You as I can ever be. You have already supplied everything I need for total victory.