Saturday, 4 October 2014

Jonathan: When loyalty goes horribly wrong

The story of Jonathan in the Bible is one of great loyalty, friendship and courage. Jonathan was the heir to the throne, yet he recognised that God had anointed David, his father’s rival to be king. Instead of bitterness and jealousy, which King Saul harboured, Jonathan was a friend of David and protected him from his father’s schemes.

He also discouraged his father from attempting to kill David and tried speaking sense to the old man, but Saul was treacherous. He would feign repentance only to make another attempt at David’s life.

Jonathan was also a great soldier in his father’s army and won many battles for him. On one occasion, his quick thinking and courage, led to great victory for the Israelites who were outnumbered by the Philistine army. Unfortunately Jonathan was later killed in battle alongside his father, King Saul and his brothers. His death was tragic but I somehow feel it could have been avoided.

Jonathan knew his father had lost the anointing of God as a result of his repeated disobedience and unrepentance. In the eyes of God, Saul was no more king over Israel even though he still wore the crown and acted as one. In 1 Samuel 20, Jonathan realised his father was determined to kill David, yet he made a covenant with David so that there would be peace between them even after God had given him victory from all his enemies, including his father.

Given the kind of father he had, I wonder why Jonathan continued working for him. Not only was King Saul deceitful and murderous (in 1Samuel 22 he had 85 priests and their families killed because one of them Ahimelech gave David refreshment), he had lost God’s anointing. God was no longer with him. Yet Jonathan supported his dad in attacking the Philistine, even when his dad was warned not to. It was a tragedy, King Saul, Jonathan and his brothers were killed.

I think if Jonathan had not supported his dad, he would have avoided that fate. In the same way, I think we should question our loyalty to leaders. Why support a man God no longer supports? Why support a leader whose actions are proving detrimental to the good of the nation? Blind loyalty to a tyrannical leader is aiding and abetting and even approving of his disastrous policies. The reason why Nazis and Rwandan Hutus committed such horrific atrocities was largely due to blind loyalty/allegiance to murderous leaders.

As educated people, we need to start asking questions about our leaders and whether we are encouraging them in their wicked ways. Now more than ever, we have to speak out against selfish leaders who would rather sacrifice others to achieve their ambitions than help govern them. Failure to do that will mean we too will be caught up in the flood that sweeps these leaders away. Stop making excuses for these people who would rather destroy others to satisfy their greed and lust for power.

You see the issue is not about leaders, it is about the precious people who are to be led. And so if a
leader becomes too proud/selfish and potentially harmful to his people, God will often remove him from having such influence. It is all about his people. Of course God often warns that leader over and over, but if he refuses to heed instruction, he and all his blind loyal followers will be swept away.

Our first loyalty is to God and His will. We must not allow political, religious or even tribal leaders to usurp that position. As Nigeria prepares for elections, I beg all Christians to remember that this world and everything in it are fleeting. We belong to another Kingdom and that should be our priority.

There is no need trying to support a leader who is clearly not honouring God and does not care about others, on the cheap excuse of loyalty or because he has bought your conscience. Remember when judgement falls on that leader, he/she and all their followers will not escape it. You don’t need to suffer the fate of Jonathan, leave a sinking ship while you still can. Hear the voice of the Lord as HE says, “"Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the LORD.” – Jeremiah 51:45

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  1. Thank you Candace for stopping by and for your kind comment.