(1 Samuel 13:2-14:23 NIV)
Do we not all face fear at times in our lives? How we handle that fear is important. We need to know where to go for strength so that we can defeat that fear – one of the strongest weapons in the arsenal of our enemy.
You can read in the book of Samuel that at some point after Saul was made the king of Israel, he chose 3000 men to serve with him. After an outpost of the Philistines was attacked, the Philistines assembled to do battle with Saul and his army. They had “3000 chariots, 6000 charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore.” (1 Samuel 13:5) Saul’s men understandably became fearful and they “began to scatter” (1 Samuel 13:8b) Soon he was left with only about 600 faithful, fearless men. To make matters even worse, Saul and his son Jonathan were the only ones that even had weapons!
Chapter 14 starts off telling the story of Jonathan calling his young armor-bearer to leave camp with him secretly, in order to go to the Philistine outpost. Verses 6b-7 say “…’Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’ ‘Do all that you have in mind,’ his armor-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.’” [Emphasis mine] Those are bold statements of faith spoken by Jonathan!
Jonathan came up with a plan to determine what action he should take, based on the Philistine’s reaction to seeing them. When they appeared, the Philistines called out to them to come forward. This to Jonathan was the signal from God that He would give victory to him over the enemy. So without hesitation, Jonathan and his armor-bearer began to climb up the cliff to where the Philistines were. Verse 13b says “The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him.” They killed about twenty men. This caused panic to strike the Philistines, and making matters more ominous, the earth shook. “It was a panic sent by God.” (14:15c)
Meanwhile, back in Saul’s camp, his lookouts saw the Philistines fleeing as their panic continued to increase. By the time Saul had gathered his men and advanced to attack, the Philistines were in full-blown confusion and were killing each other.
All of the Israelites that had deserted Saul and hidden heard that the Philistines were on the run, so they returned to help chase them down. Chapter 14:23 says “So the Lord rescued Israel that day…”
I would like to believe that when facing an enemy (problem), that rather than being so fearful I try to hide from my problems as the majority of Saul’s soldiers did, that I would remain strong and full of faith. It is easy to let issues weigh us down and create fear and doubt. But if we stand in faith, believing as Jonathan did, that nothing can prevent God from saving us, we can face our problems head-on. Better yet, we can come out the other side as the victor!
Our enemies – Satan and all the demons in hell – know that they can flex their muscles and cause havoc in our lives. But they are also very well acquainted with our God and know the strength of our God – AND, that they are already defeated by Him. We just need to stand with our God and bear with Him heart and soul (just as Jonathan’s armor-bearer did for him) to see victory in our battles. It may not be easy. We may have cliffs to climb with our bare hands, but when we get to the top and face those enemies head-on, they will flee. Remember – there were only two swords in the camp of the Israelites, one each with Saul and Jonathan. When Jonathan and his armor-bearer left and went to the Philistine camp it was with one sword; but, it was used to slay twenty men which then resulted in thousands fleeing.
In 1 Samuel 17:47 David says “’All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.’” Then we are reminded again in 2 Chronicles 20:15b when the Lord spoke to the people of Judah after they sought His help in the face of defeat – “’…This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” [Emphasis mine]
Stand with God with all your heart and soul and watch your enemies flee!
Written by Karran Martin – March 27, 2019