The Repercussions of a Bad Choice

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 14:31-32(NIV)
That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash 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.

1 Samuel 14:31-32 (MSG)
They killed Philistines that day all the way from Micmash to Aijalon, but the soldiers ended up totally exhausted. Then they started plundering. They grabbed anything in sight—sheep, cattle, calves—and butchered it where they found it. Then they glutted themselves—meat, blood, the works.
“They struck the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very tired. [When night came and the oath ended] the people rushed greedily upon the spoil. They took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and they ate them [raw] with the blood [still in them].” -AMPLIFIED

Yesterday we looked at Saul’s rash vow. Today we will look at the repercussions of that choice. The results of his vow were two fold we will find in Scripture:
1.) The men sinned by eating raw meat with blood in it.
2.) Jonathan almost paid with his life because he unknowingly had eaten when it had been forbidden to do so.

“Saul’s severe order was very unwise; if it gained time, it lost strength for the pursuit. Such is the nature of our bodies, that daily work cannot be done without daily bread, which therefore our Father in heaven graciously gives. Saul was turning aside from God, and now he begins to build altars, being then most zealous, as many are, for the form of godliness when he was denying the power of it.” – Matthew Henry

Scripture tells us that there was actually a great victory that day, but after it was achieved there was a problem. The men were not only exhausted, they were famished. “So after this victory, after the Israelites had crushed the Philistines from Michmash to Aijalon, they were faint (from hunger).” -(VOICE)

Then they went and did something that was against God’s Law and they all knew it. In their blind rush to satisfy their hunger, no one was thinking and they did the unthinkable, they ate meat raw that still had blood in it. “When evening came and they were permitted to eat, they seized the spoils of battle, took sheep and oxen and calves, slaughtered them on the ground, and ate them with their blood, which is strictly forbidden by the law of Moses.” -(VOICE)

Now we find King Saul, the one who usually had little regard for the proper way of doing things, pointing out to the men that they were sinning by eating the meat with blood still in it. He gave everyone a good scolding for breaking the Law of Moses. Then he called for a large stone to be rolled out, so that he could set up an altar to the Lord, on which the men could butcher their meat and so not defile themselves. “Bring your oxen or sheep; kill them here, and eat, but do not sin against the Eternal by eating the meat together with the blood.” -(VOICE)

The men obediently did as their king directed them to do. “So that night each one brought his ox with him and butchered it there.” (AMP)

After everyone’s hunger had been satisfied Saul had another hair-brained idea. “Let us go down against the Philistine forces tonight and attack them until morning, until not one of them is left alive.” -(VOICE) They had fought all day. They were exhausted and they had just eaten a very large meal to satisfy their extreme hunger. They were in no shape to go attack the enemy. Actually, though, that was the least of their worries; we are going to find.

Saul’s men were very supportive of his idea. They agreed with his decision, but the priest that was with them cautioned it would be a wise decision to consult God on this matter before they ran head-long into trouble. (This priest was a wise man.) Saul agreed; so they consulted God on the matter. Strange thing though, when they put their request before God there was no answer. “Should we go against the Philistines tonight, Jehovah?” (No answer.) They waited. Then they waited some more. No answer.

So Saul realized there must be a problem; assuming there may be sin in the camp. He gathered the people together and informed them that they would need to determine who it was that was causing the communication lines to be down between them and God. Once again he makes a rash vow that could have cut him deeply if it had been carried out. “Come now, all you leaders of the land. Let us determine where we have sinned today. For as the Eternal One—the God who delivers Israel—lives, wherever the sin lies, even in my son Jonathan, that person will surely die!” -(VOICE)

Of course his men were shocked by his proposition; no one even spoke a word. So, Saul separated himself and Jonathan from the rest of the men; then he asked God to reveal to them who it was who had sinned. “Therefore, Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot [identifying the transgressor].” Then Saul and Jonathan were selected [by lot], but the other men went free. Saul said, “Cast [lots] between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was selected.” -(AMP)

Saul’s reaction was astonishment and shock. “What did you do, Jonathan? Tell me; quick!”

Jonathan responded, “Hey Dad, calm down. All I did was eat a bit of honey off of the tip of my staff. Should I die for doing that?

Now, here is where we need to understand how Saul’s asinine pride almost carried this foolish vow too far. Saul could have repented for making such a absurd vow at any point, but in order to make himself look good before all of his men his response to Jonathan with this, “Yes. Jonathan most certainly will die. It’s out of my hands—I can’t go against God, can I?” -(MSG)

The king’s men were having nothing to do with that decision though. They rose up in protest against Saul. “Jonathan—die? Never! He’s just carried out this stunning salvation victory for Israel. As surely as God lives, not a hair on his head is going to be harmed. Why, he’s been working hand-in-hand with God all day!” The soldiers rescued Jonathan and he didn’t die.” -(MSG)

It takes a BIG person to admit when they are wrong and make things right.

My Prayer:
Lord, help me not to continue pushing on when I have made a poor decision; just to prove something. Help me to admit that I was wrong and make things right. I know there are repercussions to sin. I may not like them, but there are consequences to doing wrong. Help me to choose the right way of doing things; because I want you to be please with me, dear Lord.


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