I Samuel Jonathan

July 14, 2013   I Samuel 13:16 – 14:23   Faith and a Mighty God   

    Someone submitted this illustration which is titled our thinking vs. God’s promises.   . We say- It’s impossible. God says- All things are possible with Me.    I can’t do it.    God says you can do all things through Christ.     I’m too tired. God says come to Me, I will give you rest.      I’m always worried and frustrated.   God says cast all your cares on Me.      I can’t go on.    God- says my grace is sufficient for you.       I can’t figure things out.   God says I will direct your steps.     I’m not able. God says I am able.     It’s not worth it   . God says it will be worth it.     I can’t manage.   God says I will supply all your needs.    I’m afraid.    God says I have not given you a spirit of fear.     I don’t have enough faith.     God says I’ve given everyone a measure of faith.    I’m not smart enough.    God says I give you wisdom.   I feel all alone.    God says I will never leave you or forsake you.

    This is a very powerful passage.   I was sitting in church a couple of weeks ago and this passage came to me as I was thinking about church.  It is a story of God doing great things for his people.   God can do the impossible with just one person.    God’s people are just in an impossible situation in this passage.   The enemy is controlling them and the men are beat down with no faith.   Jonathan attacks an outpost of the Philistines in verse 3 of chapter 13 so the Philistines assemble for war.   In verse 6 of chapter 13 we read the Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven.    When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns.   Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.   Most of the men are faint hearted and on the run.

     Saul waits 7 days for Samuel and his men keep scattering and leaving so Saul takes it upon himself to offer sacrifices on the 7th day.   Only the priest was supposed to do that and Saul is not a priest.  Saul takes things into his own hands and just as Saul finishes sacrificing Samuel shows up and Samuel rebukes him for doing it.    Patience is a very important trait for leaders.   It is very important for Christians to be patient.   Longsuffering or patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life.   When I get impatient I am not walking in the Holy Spirit.    God’s timing seems late to us. God’s time is not our time.    God waits and waits and sometimes we boil and boil.   God tries us.   Saul takes things in his own hands.   Saul tells Samuel I felt compelled to offer burnt offerings.   Samuel tells him it is a foolish thing to do. 

     Then we see that there was not 1 blacksmith in all of Israel.  The Philistines would not allow the Hebrews to have a blacksmith because they did not want Israel to be able to make weapons.   They had no way to defend themselves.     That is a tough place to be in.   It is tough to be defenseless especially when the enemy is armed to the full and the enemy has gathered in force against you.   The Philistines are armed to the teeth and have 3,000 chariots and most men would be quite afraid.   Most men would run.   To not run would seem like certain death.  Jesus talked about counting the cost and if you had 10,000 men and could you win by going against 20,000 men.  Verse 22 of chapter 13 tells us that there are only 2 swords in all the land.  Saul and Jonathan each have a sword but none of the men have a sword.  That reminds me in WWII in Russia that they had more men than guns.   The men would wait for their fellow soldier to be shot so that they could get his gun to shoot.    I just have a hard time wrapping my arms around the idea of soldiers with no weapons and no armor.   That is really tough.   Soldier where is your sword?   I do not have one but I am here to fight.  Wow.   How do you think that Saul felt here?   How would you like to be king in this situation?   This is really tough stuff.    It can be cool to be the top guy but it has its challenges.   

    I think they had been in this situation for quite a while.  Chapter 12 is Samuel’s departing speech and so Saul is not mentioned there and in chapter 11 Saul musters 330,000 men and saves Jabesh from the Ammonites.   I think they have been under the control of the Philistines for some time probably years and things are bad.   Things are really bad and Jonathan is probably thinking someone has to do something.  He is saying I need to do something.   We are being oppressed but what can I do I am only 1 person.  God can open something up. 

     In verse 3 Jonathan attacks the Philistines.   Jonathan attacks the outpost of the Philistines with one thousand men.   That is pretty gutsy if you ask me.   Jonathan puts all of his fellow citizens in jeopardy. The Jews are basically defenseless and Jonathan goes out stirs up the enemy.   If you take God out of the equation it is certain death.  If Jonathan beat a couple of Philistines then those with him could be armed but it hinges on Jonathan.  .    I am really impressed with Jonathan in these 2 chapters.    I think Jonathan would have made a great king.    I wonder why he was not made king but Saul may not have been married when he was made king.    Saul reigned 40 years.   This may have been in his last years as king.    Later why did Jonathan have to die?    His life was cut short.   Jonathan fulfilled what God gave him to do.   David and Jonathan loved each other deeply.   The beginning of chapter 18 Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.   These young men had 1 spirit.   Jonathan had a great spirit and he out shined his father.   You have to love young men like Jonathan.  He is an unsung hero in my mind.    There are not many around like David and Jonathan today.   It would be neat to be around a bunch of guys like David and Jonathan. 

      I am reminded by this passage that you and I have an enemy and he is well armed.   He is well armored.   He is battle ready and he hits in an unfair fashion.   Satan is smart and he has lots of experience.  Satan is impossible for  you beat without God.   Jonathan is in an impossible situation without God.   Satan has lots of power but only the power that God allows him to have in our life.  I am reminded that God has not left us without weapons to fight him.  We have the bible and Jesus used that against Satan.   We have prayer and we have faith.    We have the blood of Jesus and God’s Spirit in us.   God is for us and who can be against us?   We do not have to feel alone.   We do not have to be afraid.   We do not have consider all that we do not have.   We need to remember what we do have.   We have all the resources of heaven.   We have victory in Jesus and even if we die we win.  We may feel like we are surrounded by the enemy sometimes but there are more with us than those against us. 

     READ   I Samuel 14:6 – 17 Jonathan goes over to the Philistines.   I do not know what is in his heart.   He does not tell his dad or anyone else.   He is going to go and face his giant.  He is going to go and face his Goliath.  He has a mountain in front of him and he is going to face and deal with it.  He does not know exactly what is going to happen.  It is estimated that an outpost of soldiers is over 200 men.   The last time he did it he had 1,000 unarmed men with him.   This time it is him and his armor bearer.  It seems like it is impossible.  It is almost like suicide but Jonathan is not going to sit around anymore.  It is time to move out.   In life if it is a sure thing then in a sense it is not faith.  Jonathan is trusting God but he does not know exactly how things will turn out.  He does believe God for a victory.   God gave Gideon 3 signs that Gideon would be successful but Gideon still had to go and I think there was still some concern in his heart.   Jonathan steps out.   God can save by many or by few.  God can do great miracles by and though 1 person. 

      We think it is the big church that makes all the difference.   God loves small churches.   God does not love us less than a big church.   It was OK that it was just Jonathan and his armor bearer.  God told Gideon you have too many men.  Gideon had 32,000 men and 22,000 of them left at one time.   God got him down to 300 men instead of the thousands that he had.   John 3 tells us that a man con only receive what is given to him from heaven.   What you have has been granted to you from heaven.   The size of this church has been granted, allowed, ordained and given by God.   That does not mean that we do not seek to grow.   We need to be praying for the lost and reaching out to others.   Sometimes you may feel like you have failed or that this church has failed but whenever you are worshipping and thinking about God you are not a failure.  Perhaps Jonathan thought wow we have failed as God’s people.   We are controlled by the Philistines.   That was not Jonathans focus.   He focused on his victory.  He focused on God.  He focused on what the felt that God wanted him to do.   I do not think it was easy for him to go out and attack the Philistines with just his armor bearer but he did it.  He said God you are my help and you are my strength and you can save and do great things through me.  I think Walt Disney had a similar spirit.  I read this article about him. 

     Walt Disney was a remarkable man of vision. He never gave up. Early in his career a newspaper fired him because they thought he had "no good ideas".   That just made Disney try harder.    When he was starting out in Kansas City he couldn't sell his cartoons. Some hinted that he had no talent but Walt Disney had a dream so he set out to conquer his foes. He found a minister who paid him a small amount to draw advertising pictures for his church.  Disney had no place to stay, so that the church let him sleep in the mouse-infested garage.  One of those mice which Disney nicknamed Mickey, became famous -- as the world knows.  

     The early days were tough; but that remarkable, creative visionary refused to give up.   Walt would occasionally present some unbelievable, extensive dream to his board about an idea he was entertaining.   Almost without exception, the members of his board would gulp, blink, and stare back at him in disbelief, resisting even the thought of such a thing. But unless every member resisted the idea, Disney usually didn't pursue it.   Yes, you heard me correctly.   Unless everyone RESISTED the idea he would not take it.   The challenge wasn't big enough to merit his time and creative energy unless they were unanimously in disagreement!   Is it any wonder that Disneyland and Disney World are now realities?   This type of faith is required for visionaries in business -- but also for us as Christians.   Like Disney we need to dream big and trust in God for the impossible.  When Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. opened in 1974, Mrs. Disney was sitting beside Walter Cronkite.  Walt Disney has passed away a few years earlier. Walter Cronkite wanted to say just the right thing to Mrs. Disney, so he leaned over to her and said, "Wouldn't it be great if Walt were here to see this today." Mrs. Disney wisely replied, "If Walt had not first seen this you would not be seeing it today."  What are you and I seeing today?   When others were running and hiding Jonathan saw something and he felt something and he stepped out and he did something.  It has been said:    

Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.

No man has ever tested the resources of God until he tries what is humanly impossible.   Jonathan was in an impossible situation – he did not have to go and look for one.