Tracy and I finally got a hold of The Bible series. Our neighbors were kind enough to let us borrow the DVD set. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. It’s neat to see some of my favorite bible stories make the transition from words in a book to cinematic success. Yesterday, we were watching the story of King David. Obviously the series depicted David’s fight with Goliath. It’s a very popular passage of scripture and a great example of courage on the part of young daring David.
As great as that passage is there is another story in scripture that took place three chapters before David’s famed fight with Goliath. Jonathan’s daring plan in 1 Samuel 14 is a wonderful illustration of undaunted desire. In this passage we see Jonathan (King David’s best friend) risk his life in a skirmish with an overwhelming number of Philistines.
To understand the magnitude of Jonathan’s actions lets breakdown the historical context of the story: WAR! For decades, Israel was engaged in a long and costly war with their main rival, the Philistines. The bright and optimistic beginning of Israel slowly faded to dark days as the people of Israel were scattered and besieged by the better organized Philistine army. The Philistines had slowly begun to extend their rule over large parts of Israel. They occupied towns and forced the Israelites to pay them yearly taxes.
Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor 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 armor 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…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 armor 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 armor 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.
1 Samuel 14:6-15
Jonathan’s actions literally turned the tide of the war with the Philistines. His boldness led to the first victory the Israelites ever had against the Philistines. It all started with a decision to act on faith. He was certainly aware of the discouragement and sense of inferiority the people of Israel had toward the Philistines. I mean it was borderline suicidal. He knew the odds were stacked against him, but faith looks beyond odds and bravery isn’t achieved in carefully calculating your chance for success.
As Jonathan stared at the Philistine encampment something in him went off. He was aware of the problem (Philistines). Like him, we must be aware of the problems surrounding us. It says in Mark 6 that Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion on them. Are you aware of your surroundings? Are you aware of the wreckage and devastation in people’s lives? I pray that God awakens us to the pain of others and that we are emboldened, like Jonathan, to do something about it.
Jonathan had an audacity that awakened a nation to its potential and inspired them to rise up and fight. How about that person sitting across from your cubicle at work? They look like death warmed over every day. You know they are going through a lot. You may not have your master’s degree in counseling, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving someone an encouraging word that may turn the tide in their losing war against depression. What hill does the Lord want you to climb? What battle is God calling you to fight?
In order to have the audacity that Jonathan possessed we must have faith that with God all things are possible. Jonathan was convinced of two things: first that the Lord could do anything and second that the Lord was with him. Are you convinced of those two facts? Do you feel that God is distant or perhaps isn’t able to move on your behalf? Your view of who He is will reflect your decision to do what He says. Be bold! When is the last time you did something daring for God? I don’t know what particular situation you’re up against, but I dare you to take a leap of faith and rely on God instead of yourself.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.