This week, Pastor Justin shared one of his favorite stories in the Bible, the story of Jonathan (son of Saul), who acted in faith and achieved a great, inconceivable victory over the Philistine army.
A little background on the story: Saul and his army of Israelites found themselves in enemy territory with no means of fighting or defending themselves. Only Saul and his son, Jonathan, had weapons, while the rest of the men were defenseless. Instead of going into battle, nonetheless, Saul sat under a pomegranate tree to wait.
However, Jonathan, in a leap of faith that God would protect and empower him, decided to enter into battle. 1 Samuel 14:1 says, one day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, "Come, let's go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side." But he did not tell his father.
As the story progresses, we learn several important lessons.
- Faith isn't faith until you have to act.
While Saul remained paralyzed by fear for the majority of the story, Jonathan acted in boldness, with confidence in his Lord. What kind of God do you serve?
If we really believe in the almighty Yahweh, we are called to demonstrate our faith in mighty and powerful ways. The responsibility then lies on God to protect, defend, and guide us. And He will!
- Some people (those with little faith), will not join up until things are going well.
Near the end of the story, we see many Israelites, who had previously aligned themselves with the Philistine army, switching back over to support their own people. These are examples of "fair-weather" Christians. In contrast to these feeble people, Jonathan's armor-bearer serves as a powerful model of obedience and action.
Although he had no weapons, no armor, and (as far as the reader of this passage can tell) no vision from God, he eagerly, without question joined forces with Jonathan. In 1 Samuel 14:7, the armor-bearer says to Jonathan, Do all that you have in mind Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul. And their efforts were blessed, for they were victorious!
- We must give God opportunities to act in our lives, and have faith that he will indeed do so.
As Christians, we are not called to a life of ease and comfort, but a life of action. We must seek God's will every day of our lives, and when we feel the Spirit's nudge, we must act.
1 Samuel 14:13 says that 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. In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.