Friday, June 4, 2010

Food & Honey

By Odon Bulamba (22nd February 2002)

The Bible says in Matthew 18:20 that when two or three are gathered together Jesus is in the mist of them. When Jesus comes in the mist of us He comes as a spirit and this spirit cannot be seen with our own eyes, but His power can be felt among us.

Today there is a certain illness in many churches. When Christians meet together to share the Word of God, the first feeling they have is to see how many people are in the church, and when there are many present they feel good. Personally I am very happy when we are few because we are able to concentrate. Jesus had twelve disciples with Him most of the time and they prayed together but sometimes He would just take two or three to pray with Him. I am not saying that an assembly of 1000 people present in the church is not good but when we are few, we can focus better.

1 Samuel 14:24-28, “Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under oath saying, cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies! So none of the troops tasted food.

The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground.

When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out, yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath.

But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end with a staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.

Then one of the soldiers told him, your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, cursed be any man who eats food today! That is why the men are faint.

This is a story of Jonathan the son of Saul. Jonathan was not a soldier but one day he went to war in secret without his father knowing it, and at that time the Israelites were losing a battle against the Philistines. So king Saul thought that by fasting through this difficult time God would help them through to victory.

How many times do we call on God when we are joyful? How many times do we pray and fast when things are good in our lives? Only when we go through difficult times do we call upon God. For example, you have just seen a doctor who diagnoses you with an illness, it is only then do you start to think about God, or when a bank doesn’t approve your loan, only then do you think about fasting.

For us Christians today we call on God only when things are hard and this makes us Christians only when things are difficult. It is true that many Christians say they fast and pray, but when they go through difficult situations you will see if they pray or not.
Saul had lived the same life. Since Saul was chosen by the prophet Samuel he never thought about God but only thought about organising his kingdom and when he went through difficulties he would go and see Samuel for a solution. So God made things happen. When the war started Saul was sure that he’d win because he had won many battles before. The Israelites would often despise the Philistines but this time God put Saul in a state of confusion and Saul saw that his army was losing the battle. So Saul thought that fasting was a good solution.

In order to fast you have conditions. When you fast it must go together with the Word of God and Saul didn’t stop to think that his soldiers might not have been ready. To fast you have to be ready spiritually, physically and morally. Isaiah 58 also explains that fasting doesn’t mean to abstain from eating or drinking.

Saul didn’t take into consideration that his soldiers might have sinned before fasting, nor did he care about their purity but he ordered them to fast. To abstain from food doesn’t mean that God will answer you nor does it mean that God’s presence will be with you because a lot of people in this world don’t get to eat at all. In the past the world viewed Ethiopia as a starving nation and the cameras would always show children with bare ribs and skinny bodies, so does this mean that God’s presence is with them? If you think that starving is a way of fasting, do you believe that the presence of God is with the starving millions around the world?

Instead of fearing God and His power, Saul’s soldiers feared the curse he spoke about and this is what many people do today. Many people today fear the government and they fear their supervisor, but they never fear God and that is why the world doesn’t know about God’s wisdom.

Saul’s soldiers went to war hungry and as we know a body that is hungry is weak and if you are starving you cannot fight, so it wasn’t easy for them. The Bible says that Saul’s soldiers went through a forest and found honey. So what is honey? Is it a drink? Is it food? Is it a drug? With honey you can satisfy your thirst, you can satisfy your hunger, and when you are sick it can act like a medicine. Jesus Himself is the source of honey because the Word of God is honey.

So what makes honey? A bee is a very small insect that has a nasty sting but produces nice honey. Its sting can make you bed ridden for days and its honey can turn a kid into a thief because a child loves honey. Before people collect honey from a beehive they have to pay extreme attention because bees can attack. You need to be sure of what you are doing and you must be ready to lose your life including your mother, husband and children. Honey is interesting but it is a struggle to gather it.

When the soldiers saw the honey they probably thought more about food then their families far away. When Jonathan saw the honey he knew that it was good for food but he also knew that bees could attack, so he used his stick. Remember studies in the Bible about sticks? Pharaoh, Moses, Joshua, Elijah and all the prophets had a stick, so what is the meaning of a stick in the Bible? Why does a shepherd have a stick? Why did all the pilgrims mentioned in the Bible have a stick?

A stick can protect you, it can support you, and it can help you to walk, so why do people use sticks? Why do the elderly use sticks? The stick is there to correct, to perform miracles and support the body when it is tired, also a stick speaks about the life of a tree after its death.

So Jonathan used his stick to get the honey and put it into his mouth. Imagine using a dirty stick with honey on it and eating it? Jonathan was a prince and everything he used to eat his food with was clean, but now he is using a dirty stick to eat. Could this happen in your life? Meditate on it.

As soon as Jonathan ate the honey the Bible says that his eyes brighten and some versions say his face looked beautiful, and this happened when Jonathan’s father said that he would be cursed if he ate honey. But when Jonathan ate the honey he was transformed.

Preachers today speak negative about other churches because they don’t want their Christians to go elsewhere, and they always want to cause conflict between churches forgetting that the body and life of Christians belongs in the church.So we can see that there is conflict in the church of God today because we are taught that if we have fellowship or contact with other denominations we will be cursed.

A preacher spoke one day about grass and he said that if the sheep eat another type of grass they would have diarrhoea. What he was saying is that the Christians in his church must not go to other churches because they will be given bad grass that could kill their spiritual life, but this preacher was a blind man leading blind people. Many Pastors today push blind people out onto the road instead of taking them to the pedestrian crossing.

Jonathan accepted to eat the honey even if it meant to die as his father said, but once they ate the honey victory came back to the Israelites because the soldiers that were weak became strong.

The soldiers didn’t accuse Jonathan for eating the honey because on earth there is only one accuser and that is the devil. However many Christians today wear this gift of accusing, they pretend to know the truth but they just want to accuse the souls of people. Some people found it necessary for Saul to kill Jonathan but the soldiers disagreed because it was through Jonathan that they had victory and because Jonathan helped them fight they didn’t think he had the right to die.

Many people today fight others when they give them the truth. Leaders today in the church can tell other Christians not to listen to a preacher because they say he is led by the devil but as Christians we should be looking for victory in Jesus Christ instead of stoning one another. So what is the difference between us and those who crucified Jesus? What is the difference between Christians today and those who stoned Stephen for speaking the truth?

We have to defend the word of God with strength and purity of heart because the truth is the truth and when the victory is there you can say to your Pastor yes you are my shepherd. We know that a shepherd looks after sheep but sometimes a shepherd needs sheep to sustain him, so if you don’t help the Pastor or the Pastor doesn’t help you nothing will work in your church. Don’t think that the Pastor is perfect but respect him because God has chosen him and if he makes a mistake help him as he helps you.

This is the story of Jonathan; we have to defend one another so let’s avoid our feelings and judgement so we may know where to go and when we fast we have to know why we fast. Meditate on what honey means, meditate on what the stick represents and let’s think about mans decisions and God’s decisions. Put in your head that one day you will die so never fear death.

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