If you are a leader of God’s people, how do you lead?
”But Jonathan said,’My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey.’ ” 1 Sam. 14:29
Israel had gone out to war against Philistine its arch enemy. At the same time, Saul, then King of Israel had put all his men under oath — non was permitted to eat anything till the battle was over! ”And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food.” 1 Sam. 14:24. Now imagine going to war and being restricted from food? Thirst and hunger alone were enough to give the enemy victory. This was the case with Israel — a rash order by an irrational leader. But God saw them through.
However, Jonathan, Saul’s son had no knowledge of this oath. Being faint after the battle, he saw honey, took some and ate and his strength was restored. Just then he was told of his father’s forced oath on the people. His response was swift (verse 29). He went on to say in the next verse that if the people were not subjected to such an oath by his father, the Philistines would have suffered a greater loss. God must have given Israel victory because from all, it is obvious Saul’s men had no physical strength to fight their enemy.
What happened in verse 32 is very instructive: ”And the people rushed on the spoil, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood.” The people were now free from their forced oath after the battle. Being so hungry, they throw God’s code as given them through the hand of Moses to the wind (see Gen. 9:4; Lev. 3:17; 17:10-14; 19:26; Deut. 12:16, 23,24). They ate meat with its blood. Saul’s irrational and unreasonable oath made the people to break God’s law. Saul himself confirmed this in verses 33 – 35.
Again they prepared to go to war and so decided to seek God’s face, but God would not answer. Therefore, Saul called for a gathering of the people and a spiritual inquest was initiated. Jonathan was found guilty because God personally showed respect to Saul’s forced oath. But for the people he was saved.
Leadership in the household of God goes beyond academic knowledge, emotions, sentiments, or human wisdom. It has so much to do with listening to God, taking instructions from Him and doing as He has directed and not as we perceive. Saul in his human thinking felt that starving the people in battle would give them victory. Though they won that battle, however, the people sinned against God by eating meat with its blood. Jephthah made the same mistake; he made an irrational decision, which he could not reverse (Judges 11:29-40).
In whatever position we find ourselves as leaders in God’s house, all efforts should be made to lead as God has led for this is how we know who His true sons and daughters are (Rom.8:14).
Have you been leading God’s people or living your christian life based on your perception without getting directions from God? It’s not too late to seek His face and ask Him to direct you in His way to lead His people and live a life as He wills. I know He will answer you without bias (James 1:5)