1 Samuel 13:1-22, 1 Samuel 14:1-52, Numbers 18:7, Acts 13:21-23
I seldom read the foreword in a book. More often than not they’re a hat-tip from another author extolling the virtues of the book’s author and/or its content. There’s nothing wrong with that; I’m just usually not interested. But the acknowledgments page? That’s a different story. I always read that because I love hearing about the others who helped that book come to pass—the publishing team, friends, family, children, spouses. All honest authors know a book is only birthed with a little help from their friends.
I’ll never forget the way one author described his wife in his book’s acknowledgements. He wrote: “She is the warmth behind the light.” What a beautiful way to describe the reality that any wonder one might find in his words was due to her, “the warmth behind the light.”
Today’s text in 1 Samuel reminds me of that phrase. There was plenty of attention-grabbing light in the army of Israel, not all of it positive by any stretch, but all of it noteworthy. The most inspiring in these chapters surrounds the gutsy actions of Jonathan and his armor bearer. Crossing a treacherously high mountain pass, and then charging up on all fours into a group of Philistine soldiers, is the stuff of which legends are made. Their bravery lit a fuse in the rest of the ranks and turned the tide of the day. But as bright as that scene is, the writer wants to ensure we know the real source of that day’s victory, the warmth behind the light. So he pens a mini-acknowledgment in verse 23 of chapter 14:
“So the LORD saved Israel that day.”
In a sense, you could say most of the trouble in the Old Testament occurred when that truth was unacknowledged, when men took things into their own hands and began to believe their own press. In a sense, you could say most of the trouble that occurs in our own lives stems from a similar refusal to remember and give credit where credit is due.
This acknowledging does not diminish the achievements of men like Jonathan and his armor bearer, or us. But it does keep a sobriety of spirit alive, a clear-eyed humility in check that the warmth behind and within the light of our lives is the LORD. Any wonder one might find in us is only due to Him.
Written by John Blase