Living a Better Story

Jack Bauer, of TV’s 24, has nothing on this guy. Facing a much bigger, better armed, and more experienced army, Jonathan says to his his armor-bearer (Jonathan’s version of Cloe), “Trust me!” Then just the two of them climb a cliff, swords and shields strapped to their backs, and route an entire outpost of fierce Philistines. They kill twenty warriors in a bloody battle that covers a half acre of ground.

God gives Jonathan a surprising victory. Then God uses His trademark “confusion maneuver” and panics the bigger potion of the Philistine army and through a faithful few the nation is saved.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life always turned out that way? But it doesn’t, except on TV. Yet with God we can live a better story, better even than on TV.

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

1 Samuel 13:23-14:52

John 7:30-53

Psalm 109:1-31

Proverbs 15:5-7

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

John 7:30-53: When Jesus is present people must react or respond. In this section the Pharisees get fearful and angry; others are intrigued; some try to explain him away; the guards try to control him; Nicodemus shows love. How is it we react and respond to the presence of Christ in our lives?

Psalm 109: The Psalms are filled with prayers for protection against enemies. Our day-to-day worlds do not reflect the same kind of danger from and presence of enemies as those of the Psalmists. But we do face an Enemy and people and institutions that, if not opposing us, do not have our best interest in mind. I find it helpful to think of these, sometimes, more subtle evils when I pray psalms such as Psalm 109.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

Jonathan returns from his major victory not to a celebration for his faith and bravery. Instead he is critiqued and faces a death sentence and only narrowly escapes his father having him killed because the army intervenes. Scripture doesn’t tell us how Jonathan felt about this turn of events. I think I can guess. We do know, though, that no matter how he felt, he does not lose his faith.

Jonathan is one of my favorite biblical characters. His faith, wisdom, bravery, faithfulness, and moral center shine out like a beacon in just a few verses. Oh that my life could strike such a powerful note in so brief a song. I love Jonathan. His story is so encouraging.

  • Jonathan never betrays his God, or his friend, David, despite intense pressure from his father the king. This loyalty eventually costs him the throne and his life.
  • Jonathan’s story could have ended after his stunning victory (happy ending) or with his father killing him (crummy ending). Instead God keeps the story going and uses Jonathan’s faith and loyalty to protect David and keep the lineage of Jesus alive (a better story).
  • When God is the Author, our stories never end the way we hope–or fear–they will.
  • God turns Jonathan’s story into a better story–a life filled with small, firm decisions God uses as redemptive turning points.

With God as the Author of my story I can live a better one like Jonathan did. And maybe in that better story I can give my hopes and fears to God, and I can stand strong when pressed to give up, and just maybe Christ can use my life too.

  1. How does Jonathan’s story encourage you?
  2. Do you see a theme in these four readings?
  3. Who is your favorite biblical character?

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Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com

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