This chapter shares how God may work through our weaknesses.
It opens with Benjamin locked in introspection – pondering Jonah’s parting words, sickened by Israeli warriors plundering the dead, panicking at the Dove’s departure. He feels abandoned, and in his desperation, he flees the king. Yet when Benjamin considers where he might go, he hesitates. Fear holds the young man in such bondage, he does little more than meander around Mount Hermon.
Nearly all of us struggle with indecision from time to time. How do you deal with it? Do you take more risks, or get conservative? How did you master your fears?
Vacillation leaves Benjamin covered with scrapes and bruises when he finally follows Jonah’s advice and returns to the camp. Things go from bad to worse when the young man is captured and taken before the king, but his dusty wounds spur Jeroboam to send him away – which eliminates Benjamin’s worries concerning Jeroboam, fulfills Jonah’s vision, and advances God’s plan for Benjamin.
How often have events in your life turned so completely around? We tend to look back on such twists with romantic eyes, forgetting these trials may not resolve themselves for days… weeks… months… even years… and such struggles often get worse before improvement comes, if it does. Because of our short-term, pragmatic vision, we often classify these events as accidents, ironies, or “acts of God” in the legal or liability sense, as opposed to the active hand of our Creator at work.
Breaking down this chapter reminds us how our choices impact these results. Benjamin worried over many different options on this critical day, spending hours in the process. Some of his decisions furthered his distractions. But one key move – which appeared to trigger his demise – actually led to his salvation.
Can you identify such turns in your life – for good or bad?
As you consider this, remind yourself that Benjamin was not just an unbeliever, but an angry denier of God. And yet our Lord worked for Benjamin’s deliverance. How much more will He watch over those who follow Him?
Christians like to feel such favor, and the Bible tells us that God hears all prayers and will respond to the righteous in His way and time. But in truth, our Lord loves sinners and believers alike. His great plan includes everyone.
As Benjamin finished his day, he recalled another comment by Jonah – “You have friends you do not realize.” In your troubles, have you found yourself overlooking friends and family, or discovered ones you never knew you had?
Benjamin also realizes that perhaps, just perhaps, he needs someone to teach him more about this God worshipped by the Dove. Nathaniel leaves the young man with an inspirational quote: “Let us be content with what God has brought about, and be patient with what comes next.”
Do you find such contentment or patience difficult to accept or sustain?