Wednesday, October 14, 2020

2020.10.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 20

Read 1 Samuel 20

Questions from the Scripture text: What does David want to know about in 1 Samuel 20:1? What do they disagree about in 1 Samuel 20:2-3)? What does Jonathan offer in 1 Samuel 20:4? What test does David propose in 1 Samuel 20:4-7? How does he challenge Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:8? How does Jonathan answer (1 Samuel 20:9)? What part of the plan does David ask about in 1 Samuel 20:10? Where do they go in 1 Samuel 20:11? What will Jonathan do if it is good news (1 Samuel 20:12)? Whom will Jonathan send if it is bad news (1 Samuel 20:13)? For what promise of kindness (covenant love) does Jonathan ask (1 Samuel 20:14-15)? Who cuts the covenant in 1 Samuel 20:16? What does he say? Who vows in 1 Samuel 20:17? Why? What details does Jonathan add to the plan in 1 Samuel 20:18-22? Who will be the one who comes now, in either case? What will he do? How will David know if there is safety (1 Samuel 20:21)? How will he know if it is dangerous (1 Samuel 20:22)? How does Jonathan refer to the covenant (1 Samuel 20:23)? How long does it take Saul to notice David’s absence at the New Moon feast (1 Samuel 20:24-27)? Whom does he ask about it? What does Jonathan say as David’s excuse (1 Samuel 20:28-29)? How does Saul answer Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:30)? What reason does Saul give Jonathan for why David needs to die (1 Samuel 20:31)? What does Jonathan ask in 1 Samuel 20:32, and how does Saul respond (1 Samuel 20:33)? Now how does Jonathan respond—what specifically grieves him, despite what Saul has just done (1 Samuel 20:34)? Which scenario from 1 Samuel 20:20-22 does Jonathan play out in 1 Samuel 20:35-40? What does David do in 1 Samuel 20:41? What do they both do? Who weeps more? In what condition does Jonathan tell David to go in 1 Samuel 20:42? Why does he say they are able to do this?

King Saul’s obsession with being in control actually ends up with him trying to kill (in 1 Samuel 20:33) the son for whose sake just moments earlier (in 1 Samuel 20:31) he had claimed to need to dispose of David. Not only has Saul lost control of the kingdom, but he has lost control of himself.

Thankfully, Scripture constantly teaches us that it is not the apparently powerful rulers of the earth who are actually in control. It is ultimately God’s covenant—His binding commitment of Himself to sinners whom He would save for Himself in Jesus—that is ultimately in control. It is what Yahweh is doing that matters, and what matters most about what we do is its being done before the face of Yahweh. The Lord who rules and overrules everything in accomplishing His plan of redemption is in control of history as a whole and of every particular moment.

David and Jonathan know this. Back in 1 Samuel 18:3, they had cut a covenant with one another, and we see throughout this chapter that while they navigate what to do about Saul, their great hope for both this life and the next is that Yahweh is in control.

In 1 Samuel 20:8, when asking Jonathan to help him figure out what kind of danger he’s in, David asks him to deal “kindly” (ḳessedly, “according to covenant love”) with him “for you have brought your servant into a covenant of Yahweh with you.”

In 1 Samuel 20:12, when telling David how he plans to help him, Jonathan says, “Yahweh God of Israel!” will witness (the fact that the Lord witnesses them is actually implied; the words “is witness” do not appear in the original).

In 1 Samuel 20:13, Jonathan calls for Yahweh to judge him if he is unfaithful, and blesses David with the blessing that Yahweh would be with him. And in 1 Samuel 20:14, he requests in return that David would show him the covenant love of Yahweh. So, in 1 Samuel 20:16, when Jonathan cuts a new covenant with David’s household, he says “Let Yahweh require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

When expressing the accuracy or reality of what he is describing, in 1 Samuel 20:31 Samuel 20:21 Jonathan says, “as Yahweh lives.” And even before they find out what Saul is going to do, the way Jonathan expresses his being bound to David by covenant in 1 Samuel 20:23 is, “Yahweh be between you and me forever.”

So, when they discover David’s peril, and they are saying their goodbye, Jonathan says, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of Yahweh, saying, ‘May Yahweh be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever’” (1 Samuel 20:42).

David and Jonathan do what they have to do. They figure out the danger. They say the goodbye that is necessary to respond to it. But, it is ultimately before the face of their covenant God and in dependence upon their covenant God that they live. Not out of fear of Saul’s power and attempt at control, but out of confidence in the Lord’s power and absolute control.

Who seem to be the powerful controllers in our world? What are some legitimate precautions to take? Who is really in control, and what is He doing? How, and to whom, have you been bound to show covenant love before God and in dependence upon God?

Suggested songs: ARP80 “Hear, O Hear Us” or TPH426 “How Vast the Benefits Divine”

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