Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.”- 1 Samuel 12:8-10
Firemen learn the signs of fire oftentimes without ‘seeing’ the fire itself. They gain experience by practicing many seeming innocuous observations. Feeling a door or watching under the door can communicate volumes about what danger ‘waiting’ for them in another room. By using these skills, they’re able to keep themselves, their fellow fire fighters, and those whom they’re rescuing from the burning building.
Jonathan uses a similar strategy with the Philistine garrison. By standing in the open, he’s reading the signs. But, he’s already determined the action he and his armor bearer will pursue. Depending on whether the Philistines call them up or come down to them, they’re prepared to do battle. Either way, they’re ready for a fight. They use this test to discern their next course of action.
As you look back over your life, you may be able to recall a time when used a test to discern God’s will. Were you, like firemen and like Jonathan, ready for action before you attempted to read the signs? Think about the result in proportion with the readiness of your heart. Today, whatever area you need discernment, ask God to help prepare you for action before you read the signs. Pray this simple prayer. “Lord, whatever you say and wherever you show yourself, I intend to obey.”
By Rich Obrecht and Yvonne Biel