Wisdom is Basic

1 Samuel 13:1-7

1Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty- two years. 2Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.

3Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

5The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear.

Introduction

In TV show, a newly elected mayor ordered the police department to round up the homeless people in the business district. The head of police department argued that such decision needs thorough planning and consideration. The order of the new mayor prevailed. The homeless people from the business district were rounded up and relocated to the residential streets. The problem about homeless people in the business district was solved and transferred to the residential area.

The mayor’s determination to fulfill his campaign promise and refusal to seek advice resulted to failure. Similar of it was apparent attitude of King Saul.

King Saul was chosen as first king of Israel. He made his decisions based on his determination to please his constituents. Why? Before he was installed, some people opposed him as king of Israel. Nonetheless, he reigned over 42 years. Additionally, it was not mentioned how and when Saul selected his men.

1. Select

1Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty- two years. 2Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.

By the way, how old was Jonathan when he led 1,000 men? It is possible that Jonathan was already in his youth when Saul became king at the age of 30.

When King Saul chose his men, he may have selected those who showed loyalty to him. Obviously, the details of his decisions in choosing his men and those who were with Jonathan were significant. What’s important was he stayed in Mikmash while Jonathan was stationed in Gibean, about 10 kilometers apart. Why? Mikmash and Gibeah were cities in the territory of Benjamin.

King Saul may have hoped that Jonathan and his men served as look out of possible enemy attack. It’s very practical strategy but when Jonathan decided on his own to attack the Philistines, Saul’s problem became more difficult. It says in Proverbs 12:15, The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Who advised Jonathan to attack the Philistines? Did he ask his father for advice? Did his friends entice him to attack the Philistines? It is wise to ask advice but how should we choose the right advice or the right person to seek advice from?

It says in James 1:5-8, 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

When news spread that “Saul attacked the Philistines,” Jonathan was spared of the blame. Anyway, the Israelites were summoned to join the war.

2. Summon

3Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines did not bother the Israelites. So, attacking them was not necessary. Saul may have trusted Jonathan to make great decision when he let him to lead 1,000 men. Did God allow Saul and Jonathan to stay away from each other so that Jonathan would decide on his own? Did God let Jonathan decide on his own as lesson that it is wise to seek wisdom from him? Possibly!

David exemplified in 1 Samuel 23:1-5, 1When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” 2he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” 4Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” 5So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah.

King David had been very successful in all his battles because he resolved to inquire of the Lord first before making any move. In contrast, King Saul decided on his own instinct which may have led him to his many failures.

It says in Proverbs 19:20, Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. It says in Proverbs 20:18, Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.

We want to be successful like King David. Seek wisdom and revelation from the Lord to know which advisor or advice will bring glory to the Lord. There’s joy and peace when Christ’s Spirit empowers us, and we won’t be shaken.

3. Shake

5The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 

The Philistines have the most advance military weaponry and armament in their generation. The Israelites were shaken and scared of their life because their weaponry was less impressive as compared to the Philistines. And why not, it says in 1 Samuel 13:19, Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!”

Yet, Jonathan attacked the outpost of the Philistines at Geba. Geba was located in between the station of Jonathan and Saul in Benjamin. Jonathan may not like the Philistines in their territory. It’s possible that it’s God’s plan all along to cause trouble between Israel and the Philistines, to test if Saul would trust Him.

Similarly, God may cause conflicts around us to test who would really trust in Him. Surely, we want to have peace with everyone. Peace that comes from the Lord is manifested more clearly when situation is shaky and uncontainable.

Airstrike

One of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic was killed in an airstrike in Baghdad. A senior Iranian commander threatened to “set ablaze” America’s supporters in the region, but Iran’s foreign minister said the response would be “proportionate” and “against legitimate targets.”

There are various reactions and opinions but millions could be shaken for possible retaliation from every side. Bible interpreters are not slow to suggest that chaos around the world that includes uncontrolled natural disasters like wildfires, storms, earthquakes, or hurricanes are signs of the last days.

But before we come into conclusion or make drastic moves, we need godly wisdom and revelation to know and decide wisely for God’s glory. It says in

Ephesians 1:17, The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

After Jonathan attack the Philistines, the Philistines assembled its army and displayed their most advanced armament, and the Israelites were shaken so that they hid themselves wherever or whichever they could be secured or safe.

Such chaos is a practical display of the absent of peace which can be possible also to anyone who is scared of a possible world war in the future.

War or ordinary problem, anyone may easily panic. Basically, we need wisdom so that we may not act or decide drastically or recklessly. It reminds us in 1 Corinthians 1:24-25, To those whom God has called… Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

May Christ prevail in our heart and mind so that the wisdom of God in us will be more manifested in every decision we make. To God be the glory!

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