Ditching Your Spiritual Director

Each of us should have a Spiritual Director according to Albert Haase and others who write abour Spiritual Formation.  Saul had Samuel.  When Saul became king, Samuel annointed him.  Samuel gave him directions on how he should rule.  Samuel told Saul what God intended for his life in general terms.  However, after the pressures of life got to Saul, he ditched Samuel for the discredited family of Eli.  Eli’s family were not so much of a challenge to Saul’s authority.  They did not become a stabilizing influence for the truth.

Who do you keep in your life to tell you the truths that you don’t want to hear?

1 Samuel 14

1One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.

2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.

4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. 5One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.

6Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”

7“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

8 Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”

11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”

   So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.”

13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

Israel Routs the Philistines

15 Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]

16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.)[b] 19While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23So on that day the LORD saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Jonathan Eats Honey

24Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.

25 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. 26 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. 27 But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.[c] 28Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”

29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. 30How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”

31 That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. 32 They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. 33Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it.”

   “You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.” 34Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.’”

   So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. 35Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.

36Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”

   “Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.

   But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”

37So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day.

38 Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. 39As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.

40Saul 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,” they replied.

41 Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault,[d] respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. 42Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

43Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”

   So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”

44Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”

45But 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.

46Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.

47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings[e] of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.[f] 48He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. 50 His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle. 51Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.

52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.


  1. Who advises Saul spiritually?
  2. What kind of decisions is Saul making?
  3. What kind of king would Jonathan have been?
  4. Have you witnessed someone trade in a friend for telling them truths they didn’t want to hear?
  5. Who regularly tells you truths that are hard to hear?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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11 Responses to Ditching Your Spiritual Director

  1. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. He receives advice from Ahijah who was from the family of Eli
    2. He is making rash decisions and not thinking about how they will affect those around him.
    3. I think he would have been a wise king who truly looked out for the good of the people of Israel.
    4. I don’t know if I’ve seen someone actually trade in a friend for telling them truth they didn’t want to hear, but I have seen people get pretty frustrated and not speak to the person for a few days,
    5. I have some pretty close friends here at Moody who tell me things that I need to hear even though they might not be the easiest thing for me to hear.

  2. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. Ahijah
    2. Saul makes unwise and foolish decisions. for instance, he told his army not to eat food, while they needed it for strength.
    3. He would have been a compassionate and wise king because he showed compassion to his fellowmen and more faith in God than his father did.
    4. Yes, I have so many sisters…….ive done it myself unfortunately.
    5. My best friend and close friends from high school.

  3. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. Saul receives advice from Ahijah.
    2. Saul is making very big and authoritative decisions quickly and frequently.
    3. I think Jonathon would have been good king, but as we see with the honey incident he would not be a perfect king, for like all men he is flawed.
    4. I have seen friendships come close to tearing apart because of unwanted honesty,this happens because sometimes we desire to our pride more than the truth.
    5. My mom regularly tells me truths that are not always easy to hear, because she knows that our relationship is strong enough that I can get over it, and learn from her truthfulness.

  4. Rebecca Langer says:

    1. Who advises Saul spiritually?
    Ahijah advises Saul.
    2. What kind of decisions is Saul making?
    Saul is making pretty bad ones.
    3. What kind of king would Jonathan have been?
    A great one. Jonathan was willing to take risks for God, he had common sense, and he took responsibility for his decisions.
    4. Have you witnessed someone trade in a friend for telling them truths they didn’t want to hear?
    Yes. My mother.
    5. Who regularly tells you truths that are hard to hear?
    My friend Emily is very quick watch over me and make sure that I am doing things with good motives.

  5. Amy Kringle says:

    1. Ahijah
    2. Decisions without thought of consequences.
    3. A king who cared about the outcome of his people and made wise decisions for them.
    4. kind of, but it didn’t last permanentely.
    5. Two of my close friends here at moody.

  6. Cassie Clark says:

    1.Ahijah, related to Eli’s son.
    2.Foolish and rash decisions.
    3.He would have been a Godly king and would have made decisions out of care for others.
    4.I think so, or at least a temporarily ignoring because the person didn’t want to hear the truth.
    5.My roommate

  7. HeeJin,Choi says:

    1.Who advises Saul spiritually?
    2.What kind of decisions is Saul making?
    – a selfish, aimless and impulsive decision.
    3.What kind of king would Jonathan have been?
    – One who leads his people with a strong leadership and faith in God.
    4.Have you witnessed someone trade in a friend for telling them truths they didn’t want to hear? no. maybe, but I can’t think of any now.
    5.Who regularly tells you truths that are hard to hear?
    – My family.

  8. Moon [ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.Who advises Saul spiritually?Ahijah the priest
    2.What kind of decisions is Saul making? he is making unwise decisions
    3.What kind of king would Jonathan have been? He would have been a wise and godly king
    4.Have you witnessed someone trade in a friend for telling them truths they didn’t want to hear? yes when a friend of mine was thinking of and speaking what God would not have liked, i confronted and told her truths.
    5.Who regularly tells you truths that are hard to hear? mother.

  9. aaron wright says:

    1. ahijah advises him
    2. bad decisions that were selfis
    3. my guess is a humble king who seeked out God
    5. my father always loves me enough to tell me things i dont want to hear

  10. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. Samuel advises Saul spiritually.
    2. Saul is making unwise, selfish decisions without listening to God.
    3. Jonathan would have been a good, God-following king.
    4. Yes.
    5. My parents.

  11. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) Samuel advises him
    2) He had to decided whether or not to pursue the Philistines.
    3) I think Johnathon would have been kind and understanding, but maybe not as good of a leader as his father.
    4) Yes, I have seen friendships destroyed because they individual in the wrong did not want to accept the truth.
    5) My parents and close friends.

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