Jonathan – Part 2

300 300 is a movie about the ancient Battle of Thermopylae. Around 480 years B.C. Xerxes was trying to take over the world for his own glory and that of Persia. He had an army, estimates vary, but it was between 250,000 and 1.5 million. This awesome force intended to take Greece as it had all other nations. However, they did not know the heart of Sparta. 

According to Spartan law, a King could not go to war without the consent of the “counsel,” a group of corrupt prophets who handed out edicts and manipulated the people. They decreed that Sparta must not go to war with the Persians, but rather should observe one of their traditional holidays. King Leonidas knew that if they did not go out to face the Persians there would be no Sparta remaining after they passed. The King observed a higher law and led a small group of men to defend Sparta at Thermopylae. 

In I Samuel 14, after Jonathan confronted the Philistine outpost and the Lord gave Israel a great victory over their army, he rejoined his men as they pursued the enemy. Jonathan was not aware that in his absence his father Saul had bound the entire army with an oath that they should not eat food “before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” When they entered a wood, they found honey on the ground. “…so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened” (1 Samuel 14:27).  

Jonathan was spiritually sensitive. He knew as soon as the honey touched his lips that something had happened on the spiritual plain. His sensitivity and awareness led him to understand that his father’s pride had hindered the men and their fight. He was not in rebellion to his father the King; he was walking as a man who was free. Free from oaths he did not take, free from fear, free from complacency and free from timidity. Brennan Manning wrote, “We should live so free that our very existence is an act of rebellion.”  

There is today a monument at the sight of the Battle of Thermopylae. The monument in English says,

“Go tell the Spartans, passerby,
That here, by Spartan law, we lie.”

Spartan law decreed, No surrender! King Leonidas knew what it meant to be compelled by a higher law, as did Jonathan. The law of defending Sparta to the death was higher than the law of keeping a celebration. The 300 Spartans did not defeat the Persians, but their heroic sacrifice dealt them a serious wound and led to their defeat. The “royal law” (James 2:8) is higher than the traditions and rules that we often observe so stringently. It is spiritual sensitivity and wisdom that tells us when the law of love requires us to stand alone if need be in following Christ. 

telemicus out

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