SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- An "ephod" (vs. 6 and 9) was a long, linen, sleeveless vest worn by priests.
- "Strongholds" (vs 14 and 19) were geographic places that were hard to get to, and therefore easy to hide in.
- Jonathan (vs. 16 and following) was Saul's (the king's) son, but also David's best friend. Jonathan had taken David's side in the past and sworn his allegiance to him. This is the last recorded meeting we know of between Jonathan and David.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Notice that every step of the way, David stops and seeks God's direction. He never assumes he is doing what's right, but instead inquires of the Lord and seeks input from other godly people. We don't know if God's responses to David's prayers were audible and obvious, or more internal and subtle (like we might receive when we ask God for guidance), but we do know that David didn't want to take a step that wasn't approved of by God. On the other hand, notice that Saul assumed he was doing God's will (see verse 7). He was not, but he didn't even pause to pray or get counsel from others.
- Jonathan was the king's son, and therefore could have become king himself. But we find him encouraging David by telling him that he would be king. Jonathan believed that because God had declared that David would be the next king (see 1 Samuel 16). Instead of seeking power for himself (potentially by joining his father in the hunt for David), Jonathan submitted to God's power and plan.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Think about your current life - the decisions you're making, your relationships, your career, etc. - do you always stop and seek God's direction before making a decision or moving forward? Or, like Saul, do you assume that whatever you want must be what God wants to? Your life will go way better, and be far more pleasing to God, if you don't assume but instead ask God. Where do you need to do that today?
- Think about your future life - your goals and dreams - are you pursuing glory for yourself (like Saul) or glory for God (like Jonathan). If necessary, are you willing to submit what seems advantageous for you to God's plan?