DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Seen, Heard And Appreciated
 

We could have heard this saying,
     If you want to be seen, standup;
     If you want to be heard, speak up;
     And if you want to be appreciated, then shut up!


This sums up all of us deep inside. We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. Moreover, definitely we all want to be very much appreciated. However, what does it take to be all this. Often we go about this with worldly motives and ungodly ways. There is a great example we can learn from the life of Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14 (whole chapter).

1 Samuel 14:1-52
1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, "Come, let's go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side." But he did not tell his father.
2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men,
3 among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod's brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.
4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh.
5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."
7 "Do all that you have in mind," his armor-bearer said. "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."
8 Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us.
9 If they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them.
10 But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands."
11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. "Look!" said the Philistines. "The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in."
12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson." So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel."
13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him.
14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.
15 Then panic struck the whole army--those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties--and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.
16 Saul's lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions.
17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, "Muster the forces and see who has left us." When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.
18 Saul said to Ahijah, "Bring the ark of God." (At that time it was with the Israelites.)
19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, "Withdraw your hand."
20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords.
21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.
22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit.
23 So the LORD rescued Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.
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 it would 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?"
31 That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted.
32 They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.
33 Then someone said to Saul, "Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it." "You have broken faith," he said. "Roll a large stone over here at once."
34 Then he said, "Go out among the men and tell them, 'Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.'" So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there.
35 Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.
36 Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive." "Do whatever seems best to you," they replied. But the priest said, "Let us inquire of God here."
37 So Saul asked God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel's hand?" But God did not answer him that day.
38 Saul therefore said, "Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today.
39 As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if it lies with my son Jonathan, he must die." But not one of the men said a word.
40 Saul then said to all the Israelites, "You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here." "Do what seems best to you," the men replied.
41 Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, "Give me the right answer." And Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.
42 Saul said, "Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son." And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what you have done." So Jonathan told him, "I merely tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now must I die?"
44 Saul said, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan."
45 But the men said to Saul, "Should Jonathan die--he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God's help." So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.
46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.
47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.
48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.
49 Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal.
50 His wife's name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul's army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul's uncle.
51 Saul's father Kish and Abner's father Ner were sons of Abiel.
52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.


It was a time when all the Israelites were scared or cowardly (V.11). They were faithless and were living in shameful ways hiding in caves and holes from their enemies. (Does this reflect the state of our life/ministry?). Their leader king Saul had a terrible relationship with God and had just been rebuked by his discipler for disobeying God (13: 13-14). This ministry was going nowhere. No one was fired up. Everyone was 'out of it'. Caught in a rut! No way out. They were stuck.

Well the solution came in the form of a courageous, young man named Jonathan. He was different from everyone. He was not controlled by the situations. He was not waiting for an example. He did not complain about his leader(discipler). Because He knew, his real leader was God. He was a radical man. He believed what others thought was impossible because he walked with God. He was not waiting for a leader to lead him. He understood that he was the leader God had appointed. When all around him people were self-focused, his focus was on God.

1. Seen

He stood up for God and was seen as a hero. It is those who standup who are seen and not those who are always seated, afraid of 'rocking the boat'. When the ministry was dead just he and his armor bearer went to attack the enemies. Even though the odds were against them they understood the equation that 2 + God is always a victory. How is our faith in God today? Do we think more of the obstacles or believe God will help to fight the battles? God helped Jonathan. There was an earthquake (V. 15). God wants to help us. But we must take the first step.

2. Heard

He gave the war cry and spoke up for God and all the Israelites heard him and followed. Suddenly all the Israelites got their courage back and started joining in with the fight. It only took someone standing up. Jonathan did something that no body thought about or expected, even the enemies! That is what it means to be radical. Let us put our heart into the ministry. Let us take advice and be creative. Let us get out of the rut we are in. We live in a world where people are shouting and crying for their own needs to be met, fighting for their rights. Christians look to meeting others needs more than self needs.

3. Appreciated

However, when it came to standing up for himself the people of Israel appreciated Jonathan (14:45). They rescued him when his life was in danger. They were willing to die for him. What motivated them? They saw his faith in God. People want to follow a selfless leader. Someone who is willing to getup early, work late, be tired, go against the family, listen to ridicule; all because they want to see one more soul being saved. Are we that kind of a leader?

It is time to march to a greater victory for God. Let's decide to do things we have never done before. Let our ministries not reflect the state of the Israelites who were hiding, faithless, cowardly. Let us be like Jonathan, who was Seen, Heard and Appreciated for his faith and deeds for God.