Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: People of courage go first, have faith and inspire others


A young writer with a very uncertain income went into a quiet park to contemplate a serious problem. For four years he had been engaged but felt he did not have enough money to get married. He wanted to live and write in Paris, Rome, Vienna, London -- everywhere. However, without the security of money his plan seemed hopeless. As he thought about his situation he looked up and at that moment saw a squirrel jump from one high tree to another. He appeared to be aiming for a limb so far out of reach that the leap looked like suicide. He missed that limb -- but landed, safe and unconcerned, on a branch several feet lower. Then he climbed to his goal, and all was well. An old man sitting on the bench next to him said, "Funny, I’ve seen hundreds of them jump like that, especially when there are dogs around and they can’t come down to the ground. A lot of them miss the branch, but I’ve never seen any miss the tree or get hurt in trying." Then he chuckled. "I guess they’ve got to risk it if they don’t want to spend their whole lives in one tree." Suddenly the writer thought, a squirrel takes a chance -- have I less nerve than a squirrel? They were married two weeks later and scraped up enough money to go to Europe. They jumped off into space, not sure what branch they would land on. He began to write twice as fast and twice as hard as ever before and soon they were living comfortably.

How about you? When you have to choose between risking a new venture or hanging back, do you have the courage of that squirrel. Remember as the old man on the park bench said, "They’ve got to risk it if they don’t want to spend their lives in one tree." Today I want to talk about being a courageous Christian. Let me tell you the story of the two swords:

1 Sam 14:1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, "Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side." But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3 among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. 4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba. 6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few." 7 "Do all that you have in mind," his armor-bearer said. "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."

The background of this story is important. The Philistines had taken or killed all the blacksmiths in Israel. This meant that Israel did not have any weapons. They could not even sharpen a farming tool without the Philistines knowing about it.

1 Sam 13:19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, "Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!" 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened.

This meant that there were only two swords left in Israel.

This was an effective strategy of the enemy then, and spiritually it is an effective plan of the devil today. If you can take out the blacksmiths – the keepers and preachers of truth – then you can keep God’s army weak and defeated. This was the call of the reformation – to get the Bible back into the hands of the people. It is still the call today. We need to be in God’s word and sharpening our understanding of truth daily.

1 Sam 13:22 So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

There were still 2 swords left in Israel. One was held by Saul and one by Jonathan. It is interesting to see how each of these swords was used. Saul had his sword with him as he sat in comfort under the shade of the pomegranate tree along with his army. He was there because of fear. Because of fear he had failed to wait for Samuel at Gilgal and had foolishly offered the burnt offering himself. Now he and his 600 men were hiding in defeat, trying to avoid the Philistine raiding parties.

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Kenny Rogers

commented on Jul 26, 2010

This is a great sermon! It touched me way down deep. One of my favorites! Thanks for sharing.

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