Reflections: Courage of Jonathan

I heard a radio preacher speaking the other day about Jonathan, son of Saul and friend of David.  Specifically, it was 1Sa 14, where Jonathan and his armor bearer went into the garrison of the Philistines.  I suspected that I might blog about this today.  After yesterday’s sermon, I knew I had to blog about it.

You see, the radio preacher seemed somewhat critical of Jonathan initially.  Jonathan “up and decided” that he would go to the Philistines.  Granted, Jonathan went without anyone knowing, and perhaps that wasn’t the best or smartest thing to do, but I believe the end of the story justifies Jonathan’s decision.  He decided to take positive action in the face of adversity.

Sometimes, people sit around and wait on God.  That’s not always a bad idea, mind you.  It is helpful to study, to fast and to pray.  It is vital to ask God for direction.  But, you know what?  Once God gives you a direction, you really need to get up off your duff and start walking in that direction!

Notice that Jonathan wasn’t even 100% sure he would be blessed by God.  “It may be that the LORD will work for us,” he said in v6.  However, he had faith in God’s ability, for he continues, “For there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.”

Much like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (or, if you prefer, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah), Jonathan had faith in God’s ability.  What he did not know for sure was the result.  Isn’t that true in each of our lives?  How many times do we know the outcome?

However, Jonathan also shows his trust in God’s goodness to give them a sign.  It should be noted that nothing is recorded about what they would do if the sign did not come to pass, so Jonathan must have been pretty confident that God was with him and for him to begin with.  However, just to make sure, if the Philistines invited them up, then they would know that God would hand them over the victory.

How many times do we miss an opportunity?  How many times do we ask God to show us something, but we don’t tell Him how we will know?  Do we even ask for how we will know?  Abram certainly did!  We need to ask for faith, just as the young father did in Jesus’ day when he said, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!”

It is important to realize where Jonathan’s courage and hope resides.  He doesn’t tell his armor bearer, “Maybe we can beat them.”  No, he says, “It may be the LORD” that will give them the victory.

God is all-powerful.  Who else can we rely upon with so great a trust?

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