Long Distance Quarterbacking

Saul therefore said, "Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if it lies with my son Jonathan, he must die." But not one of the men said a word.

Saul then said to all the Israelites, "You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here."  "Do what seems best to you," the men replied.

Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, "Give me the right answer." And Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. Saul said, "Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son." And Jonathan was taken. Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what you have done."
      So Jonathan told him, "I merely tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now must I die?"

Saul said, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan."

But the men said to Saul, "Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God's help." So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.

Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.

After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them. 1 Samuel 14:38-47

Again, we find Saul making an odd promise to Jonathan: you will die, Jonathan, for eating honey when I told all the troops to fast. Fortunately, his men stood up for Jonathan (because as you know, when a king said, "you will die" you would certainly be put to death. He had that much authority). It's hard to know if this was a huge humiliation for Saul or not. I suspect it was because it was at that point that he stopped pursuing the Philistines and withdrew. Later he would fight all of his enemies, but now Saul was content to withdraw.

There always seems to be tension between the "troops on the ground" and those who make huge life or death decisions sitting in comfortable chairs in stress-free situations (not saying that Saul was in such a situation but he was removed from the battle somewhat). This doesn't just apply to military but to companies as well. Those who are on the floor making the product have a very different viewpoint from those who sit in day-long meetings trying to manage those on the floor. If you've ever been "on the floor" you know exactly what I'm talking about. And yet, when you're in that situation, it's difficult to implement what you consider wrongheaded decisions.

Please pray for the men and women in the Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan who must make split-second, life or death decisions based on very little information. Pray that they will be able to cope with what they consider to be wrongheaded decisions in the heat of the battle. Pray that their leaders in the field and in the command posts throughout the world will be wise enough to ask the "troops" the best local tactics to use in situations.

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