Message: In 1 Samuel 14 Jonathan, the son of king Saul separated from the rest of the army and pursued the Philistines. He fully believed that God could deliver Israel with a few men or with many. He made a plan with his armor bearer and told him they would move according to the response from God. He watched and moved accordingly and sure enough, God not only gave the 2 men victory over the Philistine army, but they were completely destroyed and this caused fear and confusion to consume them so that they fought against each other. Some of Israel’s men who had previously gone MIA suddenly came out of hiding and joined the fight. Israel fought hard to the point of exhaustion but were unable to renew their energy because Saul had made them swear an oath that none of them would taste food until all of his enemies were destroyed. Jonathan had unknowingly broken the vow by eating some honey so they were no longer winning, his life was subject to the curse Saul had spoken and instead of having the strength they needed to finish the battle they were unable to continue.
I have definitely made some stupid vows in my life but as I read this I tried to think of it in different terms. Saul sabotaged himself and his army by making a rash oath. Oaths were not something to be broken because they carried a curse. We may not make oaths like that one but we definitely set internal and emotional vows when we feel vulnerable, and those vows often sabotage our lives and keep us from moving forward. Things like “I’ll never do THAT again” or “I’ll never trust these types of people” or “I’ll never get married”…There are so many things we promise internally out of pain and vulnerability and we may not put it all together when we repeatedly find ourselves exhausted and defeated but we are the ones who set ourselves up for failure. This chapter reminds me of the importance of my thought life and my attitude towards pain. We’re all tempted to think stupid vows in the heat of emotion, but we need to take thoughts like that and dismantle them so that they don’t take hold internally. No matter how angry, hurt or defeated we feel in the moment, we need to understand that our responses affect our ability to move forward in healthy ways. I can’t possibly remember every internal vow I’ve made in my life but I’m asking God to reveal to me the ones that I have allowed to sabotage my life and hold me back.