“Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few’” (I Samuel 14:6).
These words were spoken by Jonathan, the son of King Saul of Israel. Israel had been oppressed by their enemies, the Philistines. So great was the oppression that Israel had no blacksmiths in the land to make them weapons. There were few swords and spears to be found in all of Israel (1 Samuel 13:19-22). Furthermore, the Philistines had created such fear among Israel that people were literally hiding in caves, rocks, and thickets (1 Samuel 13:6).
Even Jonathan’s own father, King Saul, had allowed the fear of the Philistines to lead him to violate God’s command to wait for Samuel to come and offer sacrifices to God (1 Samuel 10:8). Because he feared the people would be scattered from him for fear of the Philistines, Saul forsook God’s command and “felt compelled” to offer the sacrifices himself (1 Samuel 13:10-12). Because of this, Saul’s kingdom would be taken away from him (1 Samuel 13:13-14).
It is with this background in mind that Jonathan makes this great statement of faith in God as is seen in the opening verse above. It appeared everything was stacked against Israel being able to be delivered from the oppression of the Philistines. All around, in every direction things appeared hopeless. Israel did not have enough weapons. The morale of the army was so bad that people were hiding in caves. Their new leader, King Saul, was beginning to panic under pressure.
However, Jonathan chose not to look around him at the fearfulness of the people, the inadequacy of materials for the army, or the weaknesses of its leader. Instead, he looked up in faith to God and God’s ability to deliver. He believed God was not restrained in any way by all these circumstances in His ability to save Israel. God could save by many or by few!
Do you ever find yourself dwelling upon the apparent hopeless circumstances in which you may find yourself? So many times, we look around at the problems we face and become full of fear and anxiety. We panic and try to solve our problems all by ourselves which leads us to say and do things we regret. Like King Saul, we usually get ourselves into more problems when we focus upon our inadequate ability to deliver ourselves from our trying circumstances.
It is during these trying times, that we need to have the faith of Jonathan. God used Jonathan to accomplish a great victory for Israel. Jonathan defeated the Philistine garrison he faced (1 Samuel 14:7-14). This encouraged the Israelites to rise up out of their caves and join in the battle and defeat their enemies (1 Samuel 14:15-23). This great victory all began because of one man’s great faith in God!
Today, I will strive to place my faith fully in God. I rejoice that “nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few”. The Lord will work for us!
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).