Jonathan’s Faith 1 Sam. 14: 1-15 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Before we talk about Jonathan’s faith in 1 Sam 14, we need to see what was going on in 1 Sam 13. This chapter “sets the stage” for what we are going to discuss in 1 Sam 14.
1 Sam 13:2 – there are 2,000 troops with Saul in Michmash and 1,000 with Jonathan in Gibeah.
1 Sam 13:3 – Jonathan and his men destroyed the garrison of Philistines at Geba.
1 Sam 13:5 – afterwards, the Philistines substantially reinforced their position at Michmash.
1 Sam 13:6-7 – Israel, out of fear, went into hiding and exile and Saul retreated to Gilgal where he was scheduled to meet Samuel.
1 Sam 13:8 – while Saul waited for Samuel, his forces dwindled. This is when he sinned by offering his own sacrifice.
1 Sam 13:15 – Saul went to Gibeah, where Jonathan had garrisoned, with 600 men. So, his total force had been reduced by 80% [down from 3,000 troops].
1 Sam 13:16 – the Philistines now occupied Michmash, where Saul had been.
1 Sam 14:1 Jonathan told his armor bearer to come with him to attack a small group of Philistines garrisoned between Gibeah and Michmash. This took great faith. 1 Sam 14:4-5 the Philistines were in secure high ground, with narrow access, between Michmash and Gibeah.
Jonathan’s faith was:
A faith that led to action – 1 Sam 14:6 – Jonathan recognized that if Israel was going to engage and defeat the enemy, they had to attack somewhere. And he also knew that God could use just 2 of them against a garrison of the Philistines to get things going. His father wasn’t going to move [1 Sam 14:2]. His was a faith that works [1 Thes 1:3 work of faith].
A faith that inspired another – 1 Sam 14:7 – Jonathan didn’t rally the troops. They were scared stiff and so was their commander. He just rallied one other man. But that was enough. It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And notice that his faith stirred up the right man. He had a good man with him. A man with the same heart, the same faith, the same courage and the same zeal. A man that wasn’t afraid to follow him.
A faith that yielded to God – 1 Sam 14:8-10 – Jonathan had to be sure that God was “in” his plan. So, he instructed his armor bearer on how they were going to look for the hand of God in their plan. “Come up” was the sign that God was going to deliver the Philistines into their hand. We must leave our plans in the hand of God so that we can be sure we are doing his will and not our own. We must receive confirmation from God so that we are assured that we’re heading in the right way. This is what Gideon did with the fleece and the dream about the barley cake.
A faith that instilled strength and courage – 1 Sam 14:12-13 – once Jonathan was sure that God was in this, there was nothing that was going to stop him. This is like the strength and courage that Joshua was given to lead the Jews into the land of Canaan [Jos 1:6, 7, 9, 18]. When you believe God, you know that he is capable of doing the impossible.
A faith that resulted in victory – 1 Sam 14:13-15 – they were at a disadvantage. They were only 2 against at least 20. They had to climb up. Fortunately, the garrison were cocky “we will show you a thing,” [v.12]. And so with God’s help, Jonathan and his armor bearer got the job done. “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” [1 Jn 5:4].
Conclusion: Once God gave Jonathan and his armor bearer the victory, v.20 he even got Saul moving, v.21 the defectors returned, v.22 those in hiding returned, and v.23 the Lord saved Israel that day. God just needed one man with the right kind of faith, and one willing helper to support him, to get things moving.