The mighty army of Israel was “quaking with fear.” They were hiding in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some had even left the Promised Land and crossed back over to the other side of the Jordan River (1 Samuel 13:6-7). Only 600 men and Saul and Jonathan remained. The enemy, too numerous to count, was squeezing out the resources and energy of the Israelites, no blacksmiths could make weapons and food was scarce. There was almost no hope.
The armies of the Lord sat. They waited and waited and waited some more. No word from the Lord. No clear plan of victory. No way out.
Have you ever felt that way? The odds are stacked against you. Maybe it’s with a project at work or a problem in a relationship or a pattern in your life. No sign of help from God. No hope to lean on. No pathway forward for change. What do you do in a situation like that?
Jonathan, the son of King Saul, looked at the brooding enemy army. He had enough; enough of the waiting, enough of the doing nothing, enough of the threat untested. He was going to act.
“Jonathan said to his younger armor-bearer, ‘come, let’s go over to the outpost…Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)
So Jonathan and his armor bearer, scaled the cliff, and decided to just show up in the middle of the enemy camp and see what God would do.
Now, I don’t know if they had a little liquid courage, or if they were adrenaline junkies, or just had a few screws loose; but you’ve got to admit, their actions were a little insane. Enemies who wanted their blood, as far as the eye can see, and they jump into the middle of that.
I’m not quite settled on the risk factor of what they chose to do and don’t worry I’m not about to challenge you to jump out into the middle of a highway at rush hour either. But here is how God is challenging me.
Do I really believe that nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, from helping from stepping in whether by many or by few? Helping me with work challenges, resource limitations, and growth areas in my life? I don’t think I have. I’ve needed to confess areas where I thought God would NOT be able to accomplish His work.
Secondly, He does it by many or by few. He doesn’t act in this context apart from the initiative of a person. Is it time for you and for me in that certain area of life to take action where little faith abounds? Is it time to stop waiting for a sign, stop waiting for assurances that may never come because God is waiting for us to step forward, and say “Perhaps the Lord will act on my behalf” and then jump into the middle of the mess with our faith-filled effort. Where are you waiting? Time to step out.
Oh and, by the way. When they stepped into the enemy camp, there was “a panic sent by God” among the enemies and the Israelites were saved. They were saved by God through the faith-filled step of a few.