So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David.— 1 Samuel 20:16
“A weed is any plant that grows where you don’t want it,” my father said, handing me the hoe. I wanted to leave the corn plant that had “volunteered” among the peas. But Dad, who had grown up on a farm, instructed me to pull it out. That lone cornstalk would do nothing but choke the peas and rob them of nutrients.
Human beings aren’t plants—we have minds of our own and God-given free will. But sometimes we try to bloom where God doesn’t intend us to be.
King Saul’s son, the warrior-prince Jonathan, could have done that. He had every reason to expect to be king. But he saw God’s blessing on David, and he recognized the envy and pride of his own father (1 Samuel 18:12-15). So rather than grasping for a throne that would never be his, Jonathan became David’s closest friend, even saving his life (19:1-6; 20:1-4).
Some would say that Jonathan gave up too much. But how would we prefer to be remembered? Like the ambitious Saul, who clung to his kingdom and lost it? Or like Jonathan, who protected the life of a man who would become an honored ancestor of Jesus?
God’s plan is always better than our own. We can fight against it and resemble a misplaced weed. Or we can accept His direction and become flourishing, fruitful plants in His garden. He leaves the choice with us. —Tim Gustafson
Lord, please forgive us for those times when we act as if You have planted us in the wrong place. Help us see what You have for us to do today.
God invites us to participate with Him in taking the gospel to our world.
INSIGHT: Do you ever wonder whether you are in the place God wants you to be? David and Jonathan help us ask a different question. When combined with the story of Jonathan’s father, Saul, they give us reason to ask not about our place in life but about the condition of our hearts.
When Israel rejected the God who delivered them, they asked for the kind of king they saw ruling other nations. So God gave them Saul, a handsome man, head and shoulders above any other man in the land (1 Samuel 9:2). He seemed to be the ideal match for a nation that wanted to be led by men rather than God (8:1-5).
Saul’s successor, David, was also a good-looking man (17:42). But when the personal and family lives of Saul, Jonathan, and David are considered together, they show us that while man looks on the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. By trusting his eyes rather than the Lord, Saul became a bitter, violent man. David, though far from perfect, knew what it meant to trust the Lord. As a result, Jonathan learned that being loyal to David and trusting David’s God was far better than being next in line for the place of his father’s ruined life and throne. Mart DeHaan