Jonathan Constancy in Chaos

Handwritten page from the first book of Maccabees chapter 11 verses 51 through 67.
1Macc 11:51-67

Synopsis     1Maccabees 11:51-67     2/24/2021 

Because of layoffs, the Syrian army revolted. As a result, King Demetris sent messengers to Jonathan for help. In response, Jonathan sent an army to quell the revolt. And, the Jewish army was successful. 

Because of Jonathan’s faithfulness, Demetrius promised favor. Despite this, he quickly reneged on his promises.  

Meanwhile, Trypho brought King Alexander’s son back to Syria. In a short time, he declared the boy Antiochus the rightful king.  

Almost immediately, Trypho brought an army against King Demetrius. He won the battle. But King Demetrius escaped. Still, Trypho’s forces occupied Antioch. And King Antiochus began his rule from there.  

As one of his first acts, King Antiochus wrote to Jonathan. In the letter, he confirmed that Judea would remain semi-independent. And he affirmed Jonathan as both leader and High Priest over the region.  

Meanwhile, King Demetrius reformed his army. And this time, he sent them against Jonathan. But Jonathan had prepared well. And so, without hesitation he positioned his army for combat near Galilee. 

Jonathan Constancy in Chaos 

Syria was chaos. For many decades, the Syrian Empire lurched from the leadership of one king to another. Each king competed with predecessors for power. But all of this civil warfare depleted the nation of needed resources. And it created chaos that disrupted commerce and brought instability to the region.  

Yet, Jonathan successfully ruled Judea in the midst of this chaos. That’s not to say that the Maccabees lacked internal enemies. Some Jews chose to embrace Greek culture. And these often sided against him.

Despite this, and despite the Syrian chaos, Jonathan’s leadership bound the nation together. He had a clear vision of how things should be. And so, he determined to fulfill this vision. 

Constancy in Chaos 

Determination comes from having a clear focus. And if my focus is on agreeing with God’s purpose, then chaos is just the raw material for a new possibility.  

“The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; Therefore I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame” Isa 50:7 

February 24, 2021

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