So there was a question lingering from this week’s sermon: If God wanted a godly person on the throne, and Saul’s son Jonathan was godly, why didn’t he pick him? While this passage doesn’t really address or answer the question, we can find the answer elsewhere in 1 Samuel.
In 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan went off by himself and attacked the Philistines, sending them into a panic that Israel was able to defeat them. But while Jonathan was off being a hero, Saul commanded the Israelite army not to eat anything that day. When Jonathan rejoins the army, they travel through a forest where there was honey all around. Jonathan, took his staff, stuck it into the honey and ate.
Later that day, Saul tried to inquire of the Lord, but the Lord was silent all day. This was a sign something was wrong. So they cast lots and determined that Jonathan was the issue. Saul wanted to put Jonathan to death, as he promised in his oath, for disobeying his command. But the Israelite officers all called Jonathan a hero and spared his life. Part of the reason Jonathan couldn’t ascend to the throne was due to this event. His sentence was, and should have been, death and this was just a delayed judgment.
The second event is just a chapter later in 1 Samuel 15. Saul was told to destroy the Amalekites completely. Take no plunder and leave no one alive. So what did he do? He took the cattle for plunder and left the king alive. The exact opposite of what the Lord told him to do. And so Samuel says to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (1 Samuel 15: 28-29)
The Lord has already stripped Saul’s family of the kingship. Jonathan had already sinned and been marked for death. While Jonathan did, for most of his life, love and obey the Lord, it was these circumstances that ended up causing him to be rejected.
At the end of the day, God does what He does. His ways are is ways. We may not understand the why behind it, but the thing to remember is that this is His story. Our lives are all about Him and bringing Him glory through our actions. And even if things do not go as we expect, we must remember that God has His reasons. The main point for us to remember is to be as submissive as Jonathan, rather than jealous like Saul, when God has different plans that our own.