JUST A FEW MEN
Text:1 Samuel 14:1-6
Saul was king in Israel and Israel was at war with the Philistines. Jonathan, Saul’s son had led an army that attacked the Philistines and destroyed a garrison of soldiers. Of course, that only served to anger the Philistines even more and they had returned to avenge the attack of Jonathan. With a mighty force they invaded the land of Israel. The scripture says that the Philistine force was made up of 30,000 chariots, and 6000 cavalry, and infantry soldiers that were as numerous as the sands of the seashore. Nothing could stand before them. All that Saul could do was to fight a series of delaying actions and hope that the Philistines would eventually give up and go home, but that just didn’t happen.
After a series of unsuccessful attempts to drive away the Philistines, Saul’s army is now down to only 600 men against the might of this powerful invading army. It’s no surprise that we see King Saul hiding in the farthest place that he could find to get away from the enemy. He was camped out, probably in a fortified position on the opposite side of his kingdom than where the Philistines were.
Saul had taken matters into his own hands, doing what he thought was necessary. He knew that he needed an answer from God, and even though Samuel had said that he would be at Gilgal in seven days, Saul just couldn’t wait that long.
So he did what most of us would do in a situation where we think that God is just taking a little too long to answer our need. Saul decided to try to force God to give him the answers he needed.
Saul knew that God would require a sacrifice of worship, so Saul assumed the position of a priest of Israel and made a burnt offering unto the Lord. He thought that he had it all figured out. He could wait no longer. He had to have an answer right now.
No sooner had the burnt sacrifice been offered and here came Samuel walking into the camp to discover that Saul had sinned against God. Now, Saul’s disobedience and disregard for God’s laws, and his impatience and mistrust of the God of Israel, would be his downfall.
Samuel relayed God’s message to Saul – your kingdom is coming to an end and your throne will belong to another. God had found a man after His own heart, a man called David.
1 Samuel chapter 13 tells us that the Philistines sent three companies of soldiers. Each group of soldier went in a different direction and invaded the towns and villages of the Israelites, not to kill them, but to capture and stop the work of every blacksmith in Israel.
Why would they do such a thing – to stop the manufacturing and distribution of weapons of war, especially swords? Without swords and spears, the army of Israel would be no threat to the Philistines. Their tactics were so effective that the Bible says that only King Saul, and his son Jonathan, had a sword, in the whole camp of Israel.
When you consider the fact the Philistines had 30,000 chariots (the equivalent of modern day tanks and armored vehicles) and Israel only had two swords (the equivalent of two rifles), there just wasn’t much chance for King Saul to defeat the Philistines.
If you can’t run from the enemy and let him have everything, and you don’t have the power to stop him, what else can you do but hide out somewhere. That’s just what Saul was doing. He was camped out, under the shade of a pomegranate tree, holding the only sword in the army, surrounded by 600 unarmed soldiers, and every one of them was terrified of what would happen next.
There was no faith in an Almighty God in that camp. There was no trust in the miracle working power of God. And now, they even presumed to make burnt sacrifices when only the prophet or the priests of Israel were allowed to do so according to the Law of Moses.
I want to tell you that this scenario, of King Saul, who was supposed to be God’s chosen man for the hour, hiding out in fear, along with all of the helpless army of Israel, reminds me of the condition of the modern church.
I look around and I don’t see any real spiritual warfare being won. Most Christians just cower in fear in their own little world and try to follow the leading of a man who has lost touch with God. The modern church is powerless to resist the devil so he just walks right into the church, takes away the desire and the ability of most of God’s people to pray, and steals their knowledge of the Word of God, and then leaves them with no weapons to fight the spiritual warfare. Most of the church is afraid to stand up to the devil so they just fight a place to “play church”.
Saul’s army appeared to be a fighting force, but there was no fight in them. They tried to act the part of soldiers but they were unarmed and powerless. That’s just the way that most of the church is today – The church is nothing more than a toothless tiger, appearing to be soldiers in the Lord’s Army but with no weapons to use because the enemy has stolen them. We are busy building programs and not faith. We are busy teaching seminars and not the truth of the God’s Word. We are busy reading the works of church leaders, but not reading the Bible and learning its precepts. We are busy being busy, but we aren’t doing much to defeat the devil.
2 Corinthians 10:4, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)"
What are those weapons? Where are they right now? The weapons are our shield of faith in God, knowledge and wisdom of how to resist the devil using the Word of God, which is our only sword used as an offensive weapon against the devil, the preparation of the gospel of peace that is our combat boots, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, an ammo belt filled with the Truth, meaning the presence of the Truth as well as the knowledge of the Truth, and prayer this effectual and fervently prayed to our Commander in Chief. (The Truth is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life)
How many in the church don’t have on their armor? How many have laid down the sword, taken off the helmet, cast aside the Truth, taken off their running shoes and decided to play house with the devil and the world instead?
Thank God that God didn’t turn His back on Israel that day and just allow them to be utterly destroyed by the enemy. God always has a few good faithful men who will stay true, even when the whole Army of God, is cowering in fear and defeat.
God looks for that one man, that one woman, that one young person, who will stand up and be counted in spite of it all. God is looking for that one person who will still trust Him. He is looking for that one person who will hold on to the Word of God and not be afraid to use it. He is looking for one person who will say, “Here I am, send me, use me, mold me and make me, after YOUR will and not my own will.”
1 Samuel 14:1-6, "Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his Armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father. And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men; And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD’S priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone. And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah. And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few."
Here was a man of faith at last! Jonathan,
God’s man of faith and power for the hour!
He wasn’t a king, but he was a prince, the son of the king, and he was a prince with God as well.
Jonathan was a man torn between his allegiances. On one side, he was the son of King Saul and he loved his father and wanted to be on his side. But, on the other side, Jonathan was a man of faith and principles. He hated compromise and so he continued to love David even when Saul was trying to kill David. He tried to keep peace but it was a hard thing to do. By his actions in serving the Lord, and by his faithfulness to God’s will and to God’s choice in David, Jonathan’s name has forever been mentioned with reverence, honor, and integrity.
Out of all of the 600 men of Israel in the camp, only two names really stand out from the crowd; King Saul for his disobedience and Jonathan for his faithfulness to God.
Jonathan secretly made a plan with his armor bearer to do what he could to defeat the Philistines.
Nothing had changed of the outward appearance of the impossible odds and the circumstances of the invasion. In fact, it appeared that the Philistines were planning one final thrust into the army of Israel to finish it once and for all. To the outward appearance it seemed that there was no hope for victory in Israel and all was lost. There would be no quarter shown to the soldiers of Israel and Saul would be either killed or made a slave for the rest of his life, and all of Israel would become a part of the land of the Philistines.
I wonder if that’s what the devil has in store for the modern church? Does he think that he has us backed into a corner? When he looks at Christians who have no real commitment to Christ, and when he sees the Bible gathering dust on the table, or stuck into a drawer and forgotten, and when he sees the people of God never seek the face of God, and when he sees us making church into a social club, I wonder if he thinks, “The world is finally mine. I’ve won. Nobody can stop me now!” I believe that Satan is working in overdrive right now because He believes that he has almost won. He is deceived, yes, but it’s the weak-kneed and emaciated church that allows him to think like that.
I don’t want to be numbered with Saul and his 600 cowards waiting for the enemy to just walk in and destroy them. I want to be a Jonathan, or at least to be like Jonathan’s armor bearer.
Jonathan had faith in God. He didn’t have anything but one sword. The armor bearer had no weapon except his trust in God, his love for Jonathan, and his loyalty to his leadership. I have to admire that armor bearer. I pray for God to give us a few more armor bearers. There is no telling what God can do with a church filled with armor bearers. These folks will go wherever God leads, do whatever God says, and trust in their leadership and go forth to fight without even a sword. That’s what I call loyalty, faith and trust!
Jonathan had faith to believe God for a miracle. It does not take a lot of people to accomplish the Work of the Lord. It just takes a few good faithful people who will believe God, trust in God and go forth with hope in their hearts. God will do the rest. He will fight the battles just like He did for Jonathan.
Jonathan and his armor bearer walked into the enemy’s camp, waited for God to give them the sign, then attacked. Two men, surrounded by an innumerable host, but with God on their side. The armor bearer soon got a sword – from the defeated enemy. Together, Jonathan, the armor bearer, and Almighty God, routed the Philistines.
I’ve said if before, and I’ll repeat it here – “It remains to be seen what God will do with only one man, one woman, or one young person, who will fully dedicated and commit their lives to the Lord without compromise.”
Saul heard the fight, but when he arrived the battle was already won and Philistines had turned on one another and then began to run for their lives.
He was quick to claim victory and quick to try to appear so righteous, but in his haste he almost caused Jonathan to be put to death.
But God knew who the faithful one was! He knew who deserved the best that God could give, and God protected Jonathan and blessed him.
We need a few more Jonathans. We need a few more armor bearers. We need a few faithful people who will stand up and be counted and let God fight through