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Fueling For Battle

1 Samuel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

There is a story in the Bible about a man named Daniel.
The Israelites were being taken into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar.
King Nebuchadnezzar wanted men from the Israelites who were from royal families and nobility in order to serve him.........
The men were to endure training for three years before entering into the kings service
Daniel was one of these men
When the men were chosen, they were given what would have been a privilege of eating the same food that the king ate
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However, Daniel was a Godly man and the word tells us in
Daniel 1:8 NIV
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Daniel 1:8
Daniel instead wanted to eat and consume, IN HONOR OF GOD, what he knew would not defile him which was vegetables and water to drink.
You see the defilement would have been that the kings meat and food may have been cooked with the blood still in it, it may have been sacrificed to God’s before he ate it and thus because Daniel did not know, he chose to not submit himself to this possible defilement and made this special request of vegetables and water.
The guard was afraid that Daniel and his friends would end up looking really bad and unhealthy and the king would kill him.
Daniel assure him and asked him to test him and what he said for ten days.
At the end of those ten days, Daniel and his friends were healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away all the choice food from everyone else and gave them what Daniel and his friends were eating.
What we fuel our Spiritual fight with in our hearts makes all the difference in the world as we’ll learn today with Saul and Jonathan..........

Summary of what has happened so far

God, through Saul, had rescued the men of Jabesh Gilead in chapter 11 from the Ammonites
God, through Saul, had rescued the men of Jabesh Gilead in chapter 11 from the Ammonites
“Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together”
Saul became complacent so…..
Jonathan, his son, attacks the Philistines, chapter 13, forcing Saul to act and the Philistines to assemble for battle in overwhelming numbers
No mention of anyone of the Israelites dying through this point
Saul is only left with 600 men, and only two swords, Jonathan’s and Saul’s and Jonathan is not with Saul
Chapter 14, Saul is waiting under a pomegranate tree with the 600 men and Jonathan has with him his armor-bearer and they are not with Saul
Jonathan again, does not tell his father what he is doing, led by the sign God gave him, climbs a cliff, kills about 20 of the thousands of Philistines that surrounded them and the Lord brings a panic upon the Philistines and now they are on the run and even killing themselves
Saul now decides to engage bringing us to the end of our verses of last week
You’ll note that this is now twice that Jonathan attacks and there appears to be no mention in any of these battles of many or any Israelites losing their lives and God protecting and saving the people through Jonathan who has engaged the enemy…..This will be a very important point as we read our text today.
“So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven”

Summary of what has happened so far

READ :24-52

Point 1: Our Fuel for Battle will consume us

The day that God gives the Philistines into the hands of the Israelites, without the Israelites doing much other than Jonathan, trusting in the Lord and engaging the enemy, is the day they go into distress.  
Now distress normally comes when something is failing……with that in mind.....
The word tells us that they were distressed because of this oath Saul took.  The enemy was on the run, the Israelites had the advantage and Saul was not going to waste any time getting after them while they had this advantage. 
The word tells us that Saul told those fighting with him, after the Lord had the Philistines killing each other and on the run…… “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!
Now, this on the surface sounds like Saul is saying, let’s get after them now before they get away and we have no time to spare…LETS GO!
But this specific text sheds a great deal of light on the distress issue the Israelites were facing despite God giving the enemy into their hands…..  
Jesus says “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of
Remember, I mentioned before that according to the scriptures, there is so far no mention of a defeat for the Israelites since Saul took over as king.  We also understand that the word Saul used, “vengeance”,  means payback or getting back at.  
So in this case, if there was no defeat as of yet for the Israelites and so far God had protected them, despite Saul’s disobedience, what exactly is Saul seeking vengeance for?  What exactly is fueling this oath?
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Is it his reputation?
Is it his pride being hurt?  
Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult”
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil”
Now not all oaths are bad as long as they are God focused
Joshua 6:26 NIV
At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: “At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”
There is frustration in Saul's heart that is fueling this oath and the battle he’s fighting which is coming from a hunger in Saul’s heart to satisfy something…………………
But what........
First:  The Philistines are camped out in Israel’s Promised Land.  The Israelites have no weapons because there is no blacksmith to be found in the whole land of Israel because the Philistines had not allowed it (13:19).  Saul was doing nothing about that.
Second:  Jonathan continues to move in faith while Saul continues to sit in unbelief.
Saul has been humiliated………..
But, he wants to continue performing his Kingly duties of delivering the Israelites from the hand of the Philistines which was what he was called to do, but he wants to continue his duties without relying on the Lord without acting in faith and to top it off Jonathan is showing him up before his men…
Saul appears to forget what Samuel told him and the Israelites in 12:14-15: “If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God – good!  But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.”
Perhaps the thing he did remember was what Samuel told him in 13:14 “But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”  
Since God had already taken the kingdom from him, what would that make him?  What would he return to?  When would this happen?  How would this happen? 
So although we don’t know exactly what’s going on in Saul’s heart or his mind, we do know that this thing he was allowing to consume him and fuel this oath, fuel this distress, fuel the battle in his heart was wrong because of what it led to......
Practical Application........
Life and the battles of life draw energy from us.  Everything we do takes effort.  When we are tired, hurt, or challenged, the littlest things can tip the scales for us.   You know what I’m talking about…..
That driver cuts us off
Our kids don’t do what their told
We wanted something to go our way but it didn’t
We’re really hunger, haven’t eaten all day and someone needs something done or we get interrupted and all our mind is focused on is food LOL  
1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
When we’ve allowed
When we’ve allowed anything that is bad company to consume our hearts it will fuel how we battle things in our life........
Our Fuel for Battle will consume us

Point 2: What consumes us we feed others

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Saul’s men were distressed - Fed by Saul’s Oath (driven by selfishness, pride, humiliation)
The scripture says....
1 Samuel 14:31–33a NIV
That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood in it.” “You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.”
1 Samuel 14:31–33 NIV
That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood in it.” “You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.”
1 Samuel 14:31-
1 Samuel 14:31-33a
New guy on the team making the senior starter look bad…starter wanted to beat him up and the team became divided not united
They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.
New guy on the team making the senior starter look bad…starter wanted to beat him up and the team became divided not united
The oath Saul made, fueled by what consumed his heart affected his men.
Vengeance and prideful motives that we allow to fuel us, consume us, and feed our hearts will harm us and feed others serving only to harm others, especially our friends who seek council from our lives as believers and our families who we lead.
Person who intended to give good council to my wife about tithing but it was not Godly / scriptural council
We will not fight the enemy of sin correctly if we take it on as a personal vendetta, leaving God out of the picture.  
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: (quoting ) It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.
There was an insecurity, an emptiness, a void, doubt that filled Saul’s heart and it is clear in this Oath he makes.
He didn’t fuel this emptiness by seeking God.  He filled it with the only other thing that is left when we don’t have God filling our hearts……whatever is going to make us feel better.
Saul is fueling his heart for the battle with vengeance coming from pride and being humiliated. 
Saul’s heart is crying out in emptiness and he is going to fuel it with something………..
TRANSITION.........
Jonathan on the other hand has been executing on the Lords command to destroy the enemy.
Jonathan has been walking in faith. 
In the last few chapters, God has shown his support of Jonathan’s actions and has given the Philistines into the hands of the Israelites as a result of Jonathan’s steps of faith.  
As Jonathan enters the woods, he does not know about this personal Oath that is affecting all the men fighting and so he enters the woods, finds some honey, and eats it, knowing of the oath ONLY after the men tell him.    
The word tells us “He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened
Brightened – Meaning…….his strength had returned to him and he was revived
The Lord provided the honey in the forest
The Lord provides the food that will fuel our hearts so that we are ready for the battle.
Jonathan eats the honey.  He fuels the battle with what is provided by God, something that’s going to help him continue pursuing the enemy God has asked them to get rid of with no motives of selfish gain but the motive of obedience to God
We know this affected the men because they protected Jonathan as ordained by God when Saul wanted to kill him for unwillingly disobeying Saul’s Oath he placed on everyone, perhaps even vindictively driven by jealousy of Jonathan thus not even considering that Jonathan didn’t know about the Oath until after he had consumed the honey.
What consumes us we feed others

Point 3: Consume God - It’s His Battle

Point 3: Consume God - It’s His Battle

John 6:35 NIV
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Jonathan consuming, eating, living off faith in what God had called him to do
Jonathan consuming, eating, living off faith in what God had called him to do
Jonathan eating what God had provided for “quick” nourishment
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Jonathan’s consumption of faith in God allowed him to respond “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. An now I must die!” - respectful of the oath made to God by his father and of the consequence. Not trying to defend his actions.
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God protected him because of what he had been allowing to consume him (faith in God)
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If we consume ourselves with God, he will sustain us through the battles of our lives......
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Then the Lord said to Moses, Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water
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Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah. Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there. So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”
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Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”
POINT - God sustained them because they were about his business…they were being obedient to Him
One important theological observation we need to make about this text is that the enemy is not first Saul’s enemy.  The enemy, the Philistines, are first the enemy of God.  Saul is unable to beat this enemy without God.  
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One important theological observation we need to make about this text is that the enemy is not first Saul’s enemy.  The enemy, the Philistines, are first the enemy of God.  Saul is unable to beat this enemy without God. Although he’s tried time and time again and has failed.
He even looks like he turned Spiritual again by building an alter and making his men sacrifice there, drain the blood there, and then eat so that they could then chase the enemy.....again using God’s commands as a lucky charm of sorts so that he can.......
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Avenge HIMSELF on HIS enemies..........
Again.....the Philistines, and the enemy of sin, are first the enemy of God. He alone can destroy it, He alone gives us the power to fight it through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  
It’s His Battle and when we consume Him we have Him to fight the battle
Fighting the war against the Philistines was what God had called Saul to do, not for the sake of revenge but because God had told him too. They represented the very thing that separates us from God!
Fighting the battle of our sin nature is God’s Holy war in us and we need to fight it because we love God…
John 14:15 NIV
“If you love me, keep my commands.
...........not because we are seeking any type of vengeance on what this sin has done to us as if sin is our enemy before it is God’s......  
Jesus says if you love me you will obey my commands….not because we are seeking any type of vengeance on what this sin has done to us.   
The enemy was not first Saul’s.  It is first God’s.  Sin is the enemy of our soul but it is first God’s enemy.....and the point is that we CANNOT FIGHT IT WITHOUT HIM!
GOD IS THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN DESTROY SIN IN US!!!!!
As we read our text today and seek God’s guidance for our lives today, we see clearly that it wasn’t the Oath itself that was the issue, it was the motive behind the oath.
Again.....
Saul’s motive for destruction of the enemy appears to be that they have wronged him not that the Lord has commanded their destruction which would make it a Holy War not a personal war.  We hear this in Saul’s oath…”Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!
Luke 6:45 NIV
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Let us understand why what God is teaching us is so important for us today.
In our world and even in ourselves, we want to be better people, we want to live better lives, we want to see real change in us, change that brings us confidence that we are children of God, change that affects our families and friends.
But we must never forget that everything that flows from us.....EVERYTHING.......is a result of what we have fed our hearts, what consumes our hearts.....and what consumes our hearts will reflect in what we say and in what we do and how we see things...
Saul’s motive for destruction of the enemy appears to be that they have wronged him not that the Lord has commanded their destruction which would make it a Holy War not a personal war.  We hear this in Saul’s oath…”Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”……..
No success will come to us fighting this enemy without God, without a renewed heart that fights this battle in love, love for God!……We are doomed to fail if we are not fighting this battle of sin by the power of God’s love.
What we are fueling up our hearts to fight the battles with will determine the outcome of the battle.  
We must Consume God - It’s His Battle!

Action This Week

This week, even as we leave here today,
while we’re putting away the Christmas decorations and the tree
as we have conversations
as we are tempted to become frustrated with our children, family, and relationships
as we live EVERY PART OF OUR LIVES....YES........ EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF OUR LIVES
Remember........because the enemy never sleeps, we must be on guard with what is in our hearts as we think about how we respond and react to the battle
Romans 7:21–25 NIV
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:21–8:2 NIV
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
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Our Fuel for Battle will consume us
Our Fuel for Battle will consume us
Our Fuel for Battle will consume us
Our Fuel for Battle will consume us
What consumes us we feed others
We must Consume God - It’s His Battle!
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