Jonathan Worked Free
Synopsis 1Maccabees 11:11-34 2/22/2021
Jonathan was allied with King Alexander. But King Ptolemy came from Egypt. And he displaced King Alexander. Alexander fled to Arabia seeing protection. But there, an Arab prince killed him in an effort to appease Ptolemy.
However, in a strange reversal, Ptolemy died just three days after Alexander was killed. And this allowed the new King Demetrius to have complete power over the southern part of the Syrian Empire.
But Jonathan attacked the citadel that served as a foreign stronghold in Jerusalem. As a result, King Demetrius called Jonathan for a council in Ptolemais. Jonathan attended the council. There, he negotiated for an end to Syrian taxation. And Demetrius granted his request in exchange for an annual tribute. Then, Demetrius affirmed Jonathan as ruler over Judea and also as High Priest.
This distinction assured them to right to serve God as He had directed them.
Jonathan Worked Free
Jonathan wanted Judea to pay tribute to King Demetrius instead of allowing the Jewish people to pay taxes. This was a big deal. In territories that belong to an empire, the people pay taxes to the empire. But an independent nation collects its own taxes. And then, the nation pays tribute to another nation in accordance with alliance relationships.
So, with this act, Jonathan made Judea’s independence more secure and less reversible.
God wants me free. But my tendency is to encumber myself with all sorts of obligations. I make commitments on my time that I cannot reasonably keep. I buy things thing that only require my time and attention to support and maintain.
But God calls me to immediate availability. And so, it is important for me to occasionally take inventory to make sure that I am not committed to more things than I can handle. And perhaps even more importantly, to make sure that I am only committed to things that He has brought into my life.
My son, if you have become surety to your neighbor, given your hand in pledge to another, You have been snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth; So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s power: Go, hurry, rouse your neighbor! Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids; Free yourself like a gazelle from the hunter, or like a bird from the hand of the fowler.” Prov 6:1-5