We often read the Hebrew Bible as if we were on a high mountain ledge, observing the battles of humanity from afar and above it all. We do not often enough read the Old Testament as the slow advent of Jesus the Messiah into the battlefield of our own hearts.
So please take a moment and read these two chapters right now, where David is fleeing for his life from Saul, while Saul’s son Jonathan has made a God-inspired covenant to be with David no matter what happens.
Then consider three observations:
- David does nothing without first inquiring of God; in some cases going back a second time just to make sure he is hearing God correctly.
- Saul does exactly the opposite, assuming God is with him as the Lord’s anointed King of Israel and making disastrous decisions without the vital counsel of God.
- Jonathan honors his commitments to protect David from his father in perfect unity. One commentary on 1 Samuel 23:16 says, “Neither history nor fiction depicts the movements of a friendship purer, nobler, and more self-denying than Jonathan’s!”
Now a question: which of these three people do I resemble most?
Sadly, I have been Saul. I have often made decisions on my own experience and reason, simply assuming God would agree. Many of them turned out badly. And I have rarely put my own life at severe risk to save a friend.
I have often been sitting on a ledge, high above the fray, watching from afar, not realizing that the battle is raging right here in my heart. If this does not describe you, too, you are not human.
So what does this have to do with Christmas Eve? Simply that David refused to do anything against the King who was God’s anointed. Tonight, we celebrate the birth of God’s anointed for our times, and now the whisper of Christmas Eve is asking whether we too will refuse to do anything against the Lord’s anointed King, Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us.
For me, I want to be more like Jonathan, because I too am a child of the Lord’s anointed, thanks to the birth of Jesus and my belief in him that made me his child. And I want to pursue perfect unity as passionately as Jonathan did.
Is the whisper of Christmas Eve, also known as the Holy Spirit, speaking softly to you on this moonlit night? I wish you the most blessed Christmas of your life as you listen to the whisper and ponder this oft-neglected verse from a well-known Christmas carol:
O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come with us, abide with us, Our LORD Emmanuel!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM STREAMSIDE UNITY!