1 Samuel 14:6-13, 24-46; 18; 19; 31:1-7; 2 Samuel 1:5-12; 2 Kings 6:8-17
Jonathan’s story reminds us that anyone who chooses to follow God can be great in the eyes of heaven.
Whiteboard, markers, copies of a newspaper article about an ethical dilemma
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Who were your heroes when you were a child? When you were a teenager? What attracted you to these people? Did you try to emulate them?
- Who are your heroes today? What qualities in a person do you now recognize as heroic?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Take a minute to think of items (animal, vegetable, mineral...) that seem innocuous at first but are very important to your life. Name these items without comment as your group leader writes them on the whiteboard. After everyone has mentioned their items, review the list and explain why these simple, humble items are so valuable.
- Thought Questions
Jonathan could have stayed behind the battle lines and just issued orders to his soldiers. Why do you think he personally took on a Philistine outpost in 1 Samuel 14:6-14?
1. As the king’s son, he had to work twice as hard to prove himself to his men.
2. Jonathan felt that God had called him to launch this attack.
3. What else could he do? He was the only one with a weapon (1 Samuel 13:22).
4. He did this surreptitiously because he didn’t want Saul to know (1 Samuel 14:1).
5. The timing and circumstances seemed right, and he just went for it.
In 1 Samuel 18 and 19, as David fell out of favor with Saul, Jonathan risked his position and even his life for David because:
1. He respected David more than he respected his own father.
2. He had a strong sense of loyalty.
3. He had a strong sense of right and wrong.
4. He recognized that Saul was losing his grip on the kingdom and wanted to be aligned with David’s rising star.
5. He recognized that God was with David, and he wanted to be where God was working.
If Jonathan had abandoned Saul in 1 Samuel 31, he could have succeeded him as king and placed David as his army commander. Why go off to die with Saul?
1. He didn’t know he would die, so this was a miscalculation.
2. Though they had disagreements, Saul was still his father.
3. He fought for his soldiers, not necessarily for Saul.
4. If the Philistines had prevailed, he wouldn’t have had a nation to rule anyway.
5. Sometimes true greatness means doing what’s right, not what’s expedient.
What does 2 Kings 6:8-17 tell you about Jonathan?
1. Jonathan understood that if he chose to follow God, God would fight for him.
2. Jonathan knew that “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
3. He had the kind of faith that believed without seeing.
4. He was convinced of God’s leading, so there was no reason to fear either his father or the Philistines.
5. Jonathan was more than an earthly prince—he was a humble, steady, trusting, faithful man of God.
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
- Option 1: Read the newspaper article provided by your leader. Identify the right thing to do in this case and the expedient option. Explain this to the class, evaluating how difficult you think it would be to do what is right, and what would be the ultimate result of doing what is expedient.
- Option 2: On the whiteboard, make two lists, one of contemporary society’s heroes and one of people you believe to be real heroes. Why do you think society values celebrities over genuine heroes? How can ordinary people be heroes in their own right?
- Option 3: Is there an unsung hero in your church or community? Can you think of an appropriate way to recognize that person? Brainstorm a plan to effectively and appropriately acknowledge this person’s accomplishments.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Quietly consider: When you’re faced with the choice of doing what is right or doing what is expedient, how do you typically respond? How should you respond?
- At the end of the three minutes, those who choose to may share their thoughts. Conclude with prayer.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
1 Samuel 25; Isaiah 28:23; 53:12; Daniel 9:15-19; Proverbs 14:33; Matthew 15:10; Romans 8:34