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Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.” – 1 Samuel 14:6-12

 

I remember learning how to drive a car with a manual transmission. I remember because still today I see a chiropractor to help me work through the whiplash. Like many, I had a hard time learning how to get going. It was hard to get off the line. So, for the first week, I tried not to come to a complete stop – even at stoplights. I found that if I kept moving, it was easier to get going. Jonathan seems to have the same philosophy about following God. Even when facing a vast army, he didn’t stop. His approach was, “go, until you get a no,” not “wait until you hear a voice.” While the rest of the army waited, Jonathan moved.

Jonathan’s approach to searching out God’s will is never intended to be prescriptive, it’s descriptive. It recounts what he did. However, there are some principles to be learned from his journey. There are two general approaches to seeking God’s will. One is to wait until God leads, and then move. The other is to move and ask God to guide the steps. While there are certainly cases of both approaches in the Scriptures, it appears “go until you get a no” is more of the norm. The Apostle Paul serves as a great example of this. He passionately spread the gospel to the ends of the earth until he got a “no.” He wanted to go to Bithynia to share the good news, but that door was closed. Acts 16:7 says, “And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” Paul found God’s will by moving – without knowing exactly where God wanted him to go. Then, God redirected his steps.

Many people are paralyzed with the idea of trying to find God’s will. There are some philosophies that propose finding God’s will for life is like hitting a bullseye on a dart board. They believe it’s a narrow path and easy to miss. Because of that conviction, many people spend much of their life waiting to hear from God. They want to know what direction they should take, what job they should accept, or what city they should move to. Instead of deciding, many wait for a voice from heaven that sometimes never comes – because sometimes God’s will is that we decide. When God gives us the freedom to choose, the comforting reality is that God is powerful and able to both close doors and open them. Jonathan’s approach to seeking the will of God is to move, and to let his God direct his steps. Prayer through Proverbs 16:9. Start moving, and ask the Lord to guide your steps.

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
– Proverbs 16:9

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By Ryan Paulson 

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