1 Samuel 14:1-14 (NKJV)
Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men. 3 Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.
4 Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah.
6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”
7 So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”
8 Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden.” 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.”
Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13 And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them. 14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.[a]
Here are some things I noticed whilst reading this passage:
- Saul was lazily sitting under a pomegranate tree with 600 of his men. Saul was obviously afraid enough to have this many people to protect him from the enemy.
- Jonathan and his armour bearer on the other hand were a two man assault team and they stepped out in faith to conquer the enemy. What an ambitious and dangerous undertaking! Between them they killed 20 men which was an amazing feat.
- Jonathan lead the way up the steep rocky face and his armour bearer followed. Normally the armour bearer would be in front of the person he was protecting. Jonathan was showing true leadership here. He was facing the danger first because after all he made the decision to launch a surprise assault on the enemy. He was willing to risk his life and put himself between the enemy and his bodyguard.
- God can use either few or many. In this case God used two men who were willing to be used of Him.
- Jonathan and his armour bearer did not know what to expect so they were really steeping out in faith in the literal sense. You can imagine the fear and uncertainty they faced as they climbed up there with their heavy gear slowing them down. The Philistines taunted them by telling them they would “show them something” which was obviously meant in a mocking way. But God was on their side and the Philistines were unable to do any harm to Jonathan and his bodyguard.
- Jonathan’s actions and that of his armour bearer’s inspired the rest of Israel to take up arms against the defeated Philistines. We read of this further on in the chapter.
- God used a two man army instead all the troops in Israel to save their city that day (vs 23).
So there are some lessons for us that we can learn from this passage.
- God can use us in spite of low resources and our weaknesses – we just have to be willing for him to use us and say “here am I Lord send me”
- God can use few or many to accomplish His goals. Verse 6: “For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”
- It doesn’t matter if we are outnumbered in our fight against evil. If God is on our side, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).
- We have to be willing to step out in faith and trust that God will go before us.
- As men we must show true leadership. We must be willing to take calculated risks and we must be willing to face danger. We must go ahead and face that danger.
- Our bold actions can inspire others to take action! Lead by example. Others will be inspired and then follow.