"Cursed be anyone who eats this food." Those are the king's orders. So why does his son ignore the order? And what does that have to do with 2020 election?
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*not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
PART FOUR: RASH ACT
For the last time this election cycle, I am going to be sharing the same old quote with you, along with some words from Paul. The quote credited to a pastor named Kevin Myers, with him saying, “I’m your pastor not your politician.” If come here expecting me to tell you who to vote for, or how to vote, then I am sorry, but I am not the pastor for you.
With that being said, I am concerned with the attitude you have exercising your right to vote. Paul tells the Philippians, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.” And that is my concern over me, you, and our church, not only through the election season, but every day.
However, there are things you and I as Christians should be thinking about as we prayerfully prepare our hearts to choose our leaders. Today, we will be in 1 Samuel 14:24-30 trying to figure out what this passage has do with the 2020 election.
1 Samuel 14:24-30
24 Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food. 25 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out, yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. 27 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. 28 Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be any man who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.” 29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better would it have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?” (NIV)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
Jonathan is the king’s son. Saul is the king of God’s chosen people, directing them in battle against their foes, the Philistines. What does Jonathan defying his dad’s command have to do with the 2020 election? For us to understand how it applies to us, we need to first make sure we have a solid grasp on what is happening in the passage.
Verse 24 Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food. Saul understands an especially important life lesson. Victory comes at personal cost. And in their war with the Philistines, Saul sees an opportunity to achieve total dominance. His order is a call for all to sacrifice to gain national triumph.
“Now the men of Israel were under great distress.” This order was for the army to abstain from eating until evening once total victory has been achieved. The army has already been fighting, and the Philistines were up against the ropes. They were winning, but the Israelites were hungry from a day spent in physical activity. Saul was either oblivious to the needs of his soldiers or ignored them. Either way, this call demonstrated Saul’s ineptness as a leader.
“None of the troops tasted food.” Their leader made a terrible declaration, but Saul was still their king. Unhappy and in need of a snickers bar, the army obeyed the order. They were loyal to their king, following his call.
Verse 25-27 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out, yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard that this 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. Not sure if you know, or remember what God told the Hebrews as they were leaving Egypt. This is well before this moment; they were a nation who just gained its freedom. The Lord was taking them to a place called the Promised Land, “one flowing with milk and honey.” God kept his promise, demonstrated here with Jonathan and the army. Even today, Israel has 1100 different species of bees and produces 1.6 billion liters of milk per year.
Jonathan, the king’s son, has not heard his dad’s order. With a rumbly tummy, he sees the honeycomb and moves to take care of that need. This is not an intentional defiance; Jonathan had not heard the order.
Verses 28-30 Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed by any man who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.” Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if they men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?” Jonathan is notified about his dad’s order, most likely as he was licking the honey from his fingers. His reaction is not, “oh no!” He does not try to use his relationship to the king to hide the incident under the rug. Instead Jonathan calls his dad’s order, the king’s command foolish. Not in secret, but amid other soldiers.
Sometimes the English translation does not do justice to the sharpness of the original text. Translated “made trouble” in the NIV, the Hebrew is much stronger. Jonathan says, “My father has destroyed happiness for the country.”
Jonathan now is speaking in defiance of his dad’s order. The initial act was done innocently, but upon being instructed he does not apologize for his folly. He calls the order foolish because Jonathan sees that it hindered the army in pursuit of its goal.
What does this have to do with the 2020 election? Jonathan demonstrates to us that loyalty is not blind. No doubt, Jonathan loves and respects his dad both as the king and as his father. Jonathan’s allegiance to Saul did not blind him to the folly of this decision. Nor should our loyalty to this country, political candidate, or anyone else blind you and me to the truth.
Saul’s decision to pursue total victory requesting the sacrifice of his people was not done to honor God. In verse 24, Saul says, “Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” This was a call to sacrifice for Saul’s own ego! Jonathan recognized the decision itself to undermine the collective goal. He maintained allegiance to his father while still holding onto the truth.
Loyalty is not blind to the truth. You and I can love our country while being concerned about the issues dividing us. We can be in a favor of a candidate or party, but not be ignorant where they fall short. Our allegiance to one another is not based on agreement, creeds, or feelings but on the Law of God.
God’s law is simple. When asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second one is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Notice Jesus says the entire law of God, every word, “hangs” on these two. And that is why He hung on the tree, lovingly demonstrating His loyalty to God, but also to you and me. Sinners.
Conducting our lives in a manner worthy of the gospel is to love God. How do we love God? By obeying His commands in our pursuit to love others. Loving others does not mean we are blind to their wrongs, the sufferings they have inflicted, and shortcomings before God. Loyalty is standing by side them anyway. Practicing, pointing, and praying them to the better way. The way of Jesus and His cross. [Closing with communion]
INVITATION TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO A LIFE WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL
Taking communion, participating in the Lord’s Supper, is an invitation to gather at Christ’s table. All are invited to come find a seat, to come taste the grace. This very act demonstrates our Savior’s fierce love for God, also for you and me. Sinners. Knowing exactly who we are, Jesus invites us anyway.
In just a moment, I am going to invite you to come up to take the bread and the cup. But I want to remind you of the apostle Paul’s words. In 1 Corinthians 11:27, he writes, “…whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” This warning about taking communion in “a manner unworthy” does not change Jesus’s invitation to come as you are. Instead it is to remind you and me to leave the table different than how we arrived.
When the music begins to play, I invite you to come our Lord’s table, just as you are and know He has a place for you. But only come forward if you intend to leave here this morning to “conduct your life in a manner worthy of the gospel.”
Come, get your piece of the bread, and take your cup. Return to your seat, holding the elements in an attitude of prayer, listening to the words of this song.
[“Earth to God” by John Rich]
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and broke when He had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you, do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24) Eat this bread remembering this as our example of what it means to “conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.”
In the same way, after supper Jesus took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25) Drink from the cup remembering this is what it cost for you and me to be made “worthy of the gospel.”
Season 1 Episode 31. "Puff the Magic Christian." The text for the message is Colossians 2:8-23. The question we are trying to answer is "How do I be a good Christian?"