Foolish Warfare (1 Samuel #16)

Text: 1 Samuel 14

Lazy warfare (vss 1-3)

  • Notice verse 2 Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree…
  • Saul is as far away from the battle as he can be. Saul will not face the enemy. His thought is that if he doesn’t fight, there won’t be any fight, and he won’t have to fight.
  • Saul sits under a tree while Jonathan decides something has to be done.

Faithless warfare (vss 4-18)

  • Saul’s faithlessness is contrasted with Jonathan’s faith
  • Jonathan’s faith to fight is noted in verse 6. This is something Saul will never say or believe.
  • Before David is ever on the scene winning a great victory over Goliath, Saul’s own son Jonathan leads Israel to victory in spite of his own dad.

Divine warfare (vss 19-23)

  • God’s salvation without Saul’s help. Notice verse 23. Salvation belongs to the LORD.
  • God saves Israel without the help of the people’s king, just like He’d always done
  • The LORD would use a faithful man to guide His people to victory. Jonathan’s faith leads to a great victory.

Fearful warfare (vss 24-32)

  • Saul starves the soldiers because he’s afraid. In fear, tyrannical Saul forbids his army to eat until they get the victory. Verse 24 explains Saul’s terrible reasoning.
  • Of course this fear based decision is going to multiply the trouble. Notice what Jonathan says in verse 29.

Superstitious warfare (vss 33-35)

  • Saul’s superstitious solution is to build an altar and act as priest.
  • Saul builds his first altar, but it’s an awkward situation. He’s trying to remedy a problem he created by starving the troops.
  • Saul then plays the role of priest to absolve the sins of the people. God ignores him.

Self righteous warfare (vss 36-46)

  • Saul casts lots to see whether the problem is with the Israelites or with he and Jonathan. The lot falls to he and Jonathan, so Saul believes Jonathan has brought sin in.
  • Saul blames Jonathan for God’s silence. Saul never manages to be introspective. Nothing is his fault.
  • Saul, in his self righteousness, believes Jonathan is the reason God will not speak to him.
  • Jonathan accepts his dad’s terrible leadership, but the people will not allow Jonathan to die in verse 45.

Carnal warfare (vss 47-52)

  • Saul’s trust is in men
  • Jeremiah 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.