Right behind ya, boss!

Can you imagine scaling this with full armor?? (pixabay)
Can you imagine scaling this with full armor?? (pixabay)

Kinda stuck on the story of the never-to-be-king-of-Israel Prince Jonathan and his faithful #2, the nameless armor bearer.  For sake of discussion, we’ll just call him Joe.  (Good Jewish nickname.)

Recap: Jon said to Joe, “Let’s go up this hill and fight these Philistines, and perhaps God will give us victory.”

Things that Joe could have said:

  1. “Surely, you jest.”
  2. “Let’s toss a coin.”
  3. “You go first.” And, of course, the ever-popular…
  4. “#*!!%#! NO!”

But that’s not what he said, thankfully.  I quote:  “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.”  (1 Samuel 14:7 NLT)

Sheesh.  Then in addition to that, the account goes on to say that “they climbed up using both hands and feet, and the Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer killed those who came behind them.” Joe dug into the project with both hands and feet, and brought up the rear while Jon took care of the front.

Some people are created to be Indians, and some people are created to be Chiefs.  I’ve done both, and have decided that I prefer Indian.  But being Chief has taught the value, the extreme necessity, of having good Indians following you.  It’s a skill, even more so, it’s a gift, even a calling.  If you’ve ever been in charge of a project with people who do not share your vision or passion, you know the score.

Jesus made a similar point when He talked about His role as the Good Shepard versus merely the hired hand.  People who are “hired” have no vested interest, no shared pain or courageous willingness to dig into the hillside with both hands and feet, only to be greeted at the top by those who want their head. 

And it is when I am called to battle that I discover into which category I belong…

Check it out:

1 Samuel 14

John 10 

Passing the plate…again??

sacre-coeur-614738_1280

“It took Solomon twenty years to build the LORD’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time,  he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. (Hiram had previously provided all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that Solomon had requested.)   But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them. ‘What kind of towns are these, my brother?’ he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means “worthless”), as it is still known today.   Nevertheless, Hiram paid Solomon 9,000 pounds of gold.”*

Huh??

Why would Solomon give away part of Israel’s inheritance from God (which was not allowed by the Law) to a non-Israelite monarch? It seems that this magnificent temple was the reason for a magnificent debt, as well as a conscripted labor force (alas, no unions).  And the debt was to a heathen king that seemingly didn’t even appreciate the cites that were given to him. Hmmm….

Various commentaries are in disagreement (fancy that) about the legality of those gifted cities, which, BTW, were eventually returned to Solomon, the reasons of which are, again, in dispute.  But a few possible thoughts emerge:

  1. Going into debt, even for what we consider a “cause from God” is generally not a good idea, especially as it pertains to worldly entanglements. We sometimes expose ourselves (and thereby God’s honor) to dispute when our “good ideas” are actually an excuse for extravagant indulgence.  God Himself said He doesn’t really live in a temple made of human hands. 
  2. If the villages that Solomon gave/levied to the gentile king were actually part of the Promised Land, then they were not Solomon’s to give; they belonged to God, even if they were yet populated by non-Israelites. Every Christian, by definition, is a work in progress; we have under- or undeveloped parts of our character and talents and personality that nevertheless belong to God.  To separate that from its intended use is to distain and show contempt for what God plans to do in that part of “me” for His kingdom.
  3. Interestingly, the foreign king did not see the potential in these cities that King Solomon did (as when the towns were returned, they were built up and used properly for Israel.) The world tends to glean what they can from those portions we unwisely give away, and then discard them as “worthless”.  God, on the other hand, graciously receives that part of us back, and builds it up for its intended productivity. (Part of that amazing grace we sing about…)

Then, like Paul Harvey used to say, there’s the rest of the story, hundreds of years later, when a baby was born in that spurned back-forty and became known as (you guessed it) the Man from Galilee.

*1 Kings 9: 10-14  Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt) (Kindle Locations 19170-19176). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.