As the events in Boston unfolded last week, I was amazed at how much chaos one individual on the run could do to a city. There was a 19 year old hiding somewhere in or around Boston causing an unprecedented manhunt. It was one man verses the city of Boston. We all knew it was just a matter of time before he was caught.
Can you imagine the despair in that situation? What do you think about while hiding from a massive police force after committing such horrific crimes? Would he really have thought that he might actually escape? I certainly don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that when there is such a show of force demonstrated, I would not want to be on the receiving end of it. We don’t willingly jump into battles where we are outnumbered or under-resourced. It makes no sense rationally to do that.
In 1 Samuel 14 there is a story about Jonathan’s faith against a formidable foe. Now, the scenario is different because Jonathan, while on the weaker army side, was on God’s side. He had no reason to lose, unlike the terrorists who had no reason to win.
Jonathan was King Saul’s son. We know that Saul was already on his way out as king because he was someone who did not honor God. This story is interesting because it hits on a couple of important points for all of us today. We are not likely going to be running into literal battle, but we do have personal battles all the time. Here are a few things to consider as you face your own battles today, no matter how big they are.
It was Saul and his servant verses an army. I love the way he approaches this because he obviously had faith in God. He looks at his armor-bearer and says, “let’s go and perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf.” I don’t know about you, but if the leader said something like ‘perhaps’ I would be saying ‘no thanks.’ We don’t see that here because Jonathan qualifies that with this: “Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many of few.” He recognized that it made no difference how many people stood in his way because God was more than able to save.
I think this has a real application for many people right now. God is not limited by your circumstances, no matter how grave they might seem. We are to take a position of faith that says, “God you are able to save me from this in your way and time. I trust you.” We are safe there because we are with God and not out trying to make things happen on our own.
God’s Ways Are Not Ours
I don’t know exactly what Jonathan thought would happen. I do know that God’s method was rather interesting. It says that after they killed about 20 men, that panic struck the army. Does that even make sense? Can you imagine in any of the world wars that an army would panic after losing only a small fraction of their troops? God sent panic and they ended up fighting each other. It just shows in dramatic fashion what an all-sufficient God is to those who have faith in Him.
This encourages us to not just look at the scenario as impossible, but to look at our God as the doer of impossible things. Whatever it is that you are facing might not seem possible to resolve. God is able to resolve it in unexpected ways. Look for God in both the expected and the unexpected.
Your Response Encourages Others
Saul was the king even if there was no reason to think it. In this case he was late to the party. After he saw the Lord at work, Saul went ahead and sent his army to battle. The Lord got all the credit as the one who rescued them.
It is important to note that even thought Jonathan acted without his father’s permission, Saul was encouraged to respond because of his son’s faith. It does show us how much people watch and will respond to a genuine life of faith. Live it!
I recognize that there are seasons of life that are more difficult than others. We need a posture of faith that encourages us to stay on God’s side and trust Him for everything because He has no limits.