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Chinese10/24/2005English
經文:撒母耳記上十三至十四章
鑰節:「……因為耶和華使人得勝,不在乎人多人少。」(14:6)
提要

        在掃羅與非利士人爭戰之前,撒母耳曾經指示掃羅要等候七天,直到撒母耳到達吉甲獻祭。但過了七天撒母耳還沒有出現,掃羅就開始擔憂,因為他看見非利士人的軍容愈來愈壯大,而他自己的百姓卻因害怕而離開他,到別處躲藏。不過,撒母耳的話還是應當要尊重並順服,因那是從上帝來的。掃羅對上帝不夠信任,也不重視上帝的命令,他在撒母耳還未到達之前就逕自違令獻祭。

        撒母耳強烈的指責掃羅的過犯,從這件事影響深遠的結果可看出掃羅此舉的嚴重性。掃羅悖逆的態度和自私的舉動使他喪失王位和上帝的祝福。他的心曾經一度渴想上帝的事和遵行祂的道(10:9),但現在卻變得剛硬和自私,只想取悅自己。所以上帝也揀選了另一個「合祂心意的人」來治理祂的百姓插]13:14;參徒13:22)。

        上帝不是單單因掃羅這個錯誤的行為而棄絕他,乃是因掃羅的心態並不尊重上帝。掃羅不像大衛,大衛總是謙卑的禱告說:「上帝啊,求您為我造清潔的心,使我堶戚奐s有正直的靈;不要丟棄我,使我離開您的面,不要從我收回您的聖靈。」(詩51:10~11;參結18:31~32)。

        儘管掃羅不忠實,上帝還是因掃羅之子約拿單的信心使以色列人大勝。這場勝利真是一個奇蹟,因為在約拿單和為他拿兵器的少年人勇敢的向非利士人的防營進攻後,上帝就使以色列的敵人戰兢、惶亂(14:15、20)。約拿單強烈的相信,不論以色列的人數多麼少,上帝都能夠把非利士人交在他們手中(14:6)。我們應該像約拿單一樣,不限制上帝的能力,也要有相同的信心,相信上帝能使我們得救(來11:6)。

        另一個足以證明上帝拯救以色列人的事實是,與非利士人比起來,以色列人處於極不利的劣勢,因為除了掃羅和約拿單以外,以色列的士兵無一人有刀或槍。另一方面,非利士人卻擁有當時最佳的武器裝備,因為他們壟斷了鐵和鐵匠(13:19~22)。以色列人這場重要的勝利打破了非利士人壟斷的局勢,也使以色列人往後能贏得更多的勝利。上帝若幫助我們,就沒有人能敵擋我們,這真是千真萬確的事!

        而儘管掃羅鹵莽的發誓,禁止任何人當天吃任何東西,儘管以色列士兵軟弱、疲倦不堪,上帝還是使他們得勝。約拿單說:「我父親連累你們了」(14:29),表達出他父親所發之誓的愚昧。希伯來原文的語氣更強,有「破壞……的快樂」的意思(約書亞記七章廿五節也用相同的字指責亞干)。掃羅鹵莽、愚昧的誓一旦解除,卻使得餓過頭的以色列士兵違反摩西律法,犯吃帶血之肉的罪(14:31~32;參利17:10~14),也差點導致約拿單喪命,因為約拿單不知道父親曾發過誓,而在那天吃了一點蜂蜜。要不是約拿單「被救」(希伯來這個字的意思是「得贖」,可能表示有犧牲為他而獻,或有贖金為他而付),掃羅可能真的會殺了自己的兒子。

禱告

        主,我們讚美您仁慈的干預人世間事,使您的計畫實現。求您賜給我們恩典在凡事上順服您。奉您順命之僕,我們救主耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read 1 Samuel 13 &14
Key Verse:"For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few."(1 Samuel 14:6)
Overview

        Before going into battle with the Philistines, Samuel had instructed Saul to wait seven days until he arrived to perform the sacrifices. When Samuel was late in arriving, Saul began to panic, for he saw the Philistine army increasing in number. His own men were deserting him and hiding out of fear. Samuel's words, however, were to be respected and obeyed, for they had come from God. With lack of trust in God and disregard for His command, Saul went ahead and disobediently offered the sacrifices before Samuel arrived.

        The seriousness of Saul's transgression is evident by Samuel's strong rebuke and the far-reaching consequences. Saul's rebellious attitude and act of self-will cost him the loss of the royal succession in his family and the blessings of God. His heart, that had once desired the things of God and to walk in His ways (10:9), had become hardened and selfish, desiring only that which pleased himself. Therefore, God had already chosen another, "a man after His own heart" to command His people (13:14; cf. Acts 13:22).

        It wasn't just because of that one mistake that God rejected Saul. It was the attitude of his heart which did not honour God. This was so unlike David, who humbly prayed (as we must continually pray as well), "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me" (Psalm 51:10-11; cf. Ezekiel 18:31-32).

        Despite Saul's unfaithfulness, God granted Israel a great victory because of the faith of his son Jonathan. The victory was truly a miracle for after Jonathan and his armourbearer fearlessly attacked the leading garrison, God struck the enemy with fear and sent them into confusion (14:15, 20). Jonathan strongly believed that God was able to deliver them into their hands, no matter how few they may be (14:6). We, like Jonathan, should never limit the power of God and must also have the same faith that God is able to deliver us unto salvation (Hebrews 11:6).

        Another factor which attests God's divine intervention in delivering Israel from the Philistines was that the Israelite army was at a great disadvantage, for none of the soldiers had swords or spears, except for Saul and Jonathan. The Philistines, on the other hand, were heavily armed with the best weapons of their day, since they had the monopoly on iron and blacksmiths (13:19-22). This important Israelite victory, however, turned the tide in breaking that monopoly and thereby secured more victories yet to come for Israel. It is true that when the Lord is on our side, nothing can stand against us.

        Once again, despite Saul's rash oath forbidding any one to eat anything that day, and despite the weakness and tiredness of the soldiers, God still gave them victory. Jonathan expressed the foolishness of his father's oath saying "He has troubled the land" (14:29). The Hebrew word used is stronger, implying: "to destroy the happiness of" (the same word was used of Achan in Joshua 7:25). Saul's rash and foolish vow, once expired, led the famished men to sin in not properly slaughtering the animals according to the Mosaic law (14:31-32; cf. Leviticus 17:10-14). It also led to the near death of his own son Jonathan who, unaware of the oath, had eaten some honey. Saul would have killed his own son, had Jonathan not been "rescued" (14:45; the Hebrew word used means "redeemed" or "ransomed", possibly implying that an animal was sacrificed in his place or that money was paid on his behalf).

Prayer

        Lord we praise You for Your gracious interventions in the family of mankind to bring about Your purposes. Please give us the grace to obey You in all things. We pray this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your obedient Servant and our Saviour. Amen.


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