Yesterday we saw how small was Saul’s understanding of the God who had chosen him. By contrast, today we see how great was the faith of Saul’s son, Jonathan. The Hebrews were in deep trouble, they were outnumbered and Saul was not a confident leader. Jonathan, however felt sure that it was possible to turn things around and reverse the situation. He took the extraordinary decision to attack an enemy outpost with only one other man. His rationale was faith – “perhaps the Lord will help us”(1 Samuel 14:6). Jonathan was clearly a talented warrior but his confidence in his own skills was backed by a strong faith that God would work to enhance his own strength in some way. Jonathan and his armour bearer killed twenty men by their skill and belief. But then God put an unforeseeable confusion and fear into the hearts of the whole Philistine army. And then, when they were already afraid, he caused an earthquake, and their fear turned to terror. Saul then seized the advantage and the Hebrews won the day.
1 Samuel 14:4-15 NLT
To reach the Philistine outpost, Jonathan had to go down between two rocky cliffs that were called Bozez and Seneh. The cliff on the north was in front of Micmash, and the one on the south was in front of Geba. “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armour bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” “Do what you think is best,” the armour bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.” “All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the Lord’s sign that he will help us defeat them.” When the Philistines saw them coming, they shouted, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!” Then the men from the outpost shouted to Jonathan, “Come on up here, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” “Come on, climb right behind me,” Jonathan said to his armour bearer, “for the Lord will help us defeat them!” So they climbed up using both hands and feet, and the Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armour bearer killed those who came behind them. They killed some twenty men in all, and their bodies were scattered over about half an acre. Suddenly, panic broke out in the Philistine army, both in the camp and in the field, including even the outposts and raiding parties. And just then an earthquake struck, and everyone was terrified.
If you are wrestling with the idea of faith, this is a great little passage. It gives an illustration of the kind of thing that can happen if we approach a seemingly impossible situation with the view that perhaps the Lord will help us. My goal is to look back and remember the times where impossible situations have been turned around against the odds and give thanks and praise to the Lord for them.
1 Samuel 14:1-52, John 7:31-53, Psalms 109:1-31, Proverbs 15:5-7