We ask the question, “What difference can one person make,” as we study another profile in courage in the person of Jonathan.
When 1 Samuel 14 opens, the Philistine army had the Israeli army on the run and under their feet. In response to Jonathan’s earlier attack on a Philistine outpost, they massed a huge retaliatory force of 3,000 chariots, six thousand charioteers and soldiers “as numerous as the sand on the seashore.”
Quaking with fear, the outnumbered and unarmed army of Saul is paralyzed into inactivity. The church is often like this. We look at impossible odds and see a recipe for disaster not realizing that God is cooking up ingredients for a miracle!
Instead of counting troops, they should have been counting on God! Instead of doing the math they should have been proclaiming the Word. God is never outnumbered, and if you count on Him instead of counting on your resources, you will always come out on top!
Rewind to 1 Samuel 14:1. Jonathan decides enough is enough and says to his armor bearer, “come, let’s go over the Philistine outpost on the other side.” If an enemy is to be defeated, someone has to take the initiative. At some point, somebody’s got to do something besides sit in committee meetings and offer thoughts and prayers. And Jonathan was that somebody.
So, while Jonathan was crossing enemy lines, where was Saul and his band of 600? Verse 2 says they were sheltering under a pomegranate tree. Saul had 600 men and a priest and was doing nothing while Jonathan had a young armor bearer and was engaging the enemy.
Saul had “fruit-tree religion.” It’s a religion of fear, of stagnation, of indecision and appearances.
What’s your pomegranate tree? Where are you sitting on the sidelines instead of getting into the game? Where are you halting and hesitating instead of taking a step of faith and flying over the Pomegranate tree? “Those who make no decided effort, but simply wait for the Holy Spirit to compel them to action, will perish in darkness. You are not to sit still and do nothing in the work of God.—Christian Service, 228
“Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” (Vs. 6) Jonathan’s armor bearer was with his commander “heart and soul.” (vs. 7) Why? Because of the truth of Jonathan’s words, “Nothing can hinder the Lord!”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “One of these days some simple soul will pick up the book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.” When are we going to get out from under our pomegranate tree and believe God?
When God’s purposes are clear, obedience means action. Jonathan’s action was inspired by a total conviction of God’s power. He didn’t know for sure that God would use him to save Israel, but he was sure that God could and would save and if Jonathan didn’t try, he would never know whether it might have been through him.
Who knows, but God may want to start a revival through you! If you will act in obedience when His purposes are clear, you could be a catalyst for change.
God responded to the faith of these two courageous men and served up the miracle He’d been preparing. In the panic, the Philistines started killing each other off. The Hebrew defectors returned to Saul and Jonathan and the deserters came out of hiding once they heard the Philistines were on the run.
“So the Lord rescued Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.” (Vs. 23) Jonathan took the initiative, but God won the battle. Jonathan knew that the only way to win it is if God is in it. And the same is true for us. When there is great faith in our great God in the face of great odds, God does great things!” He is honored when we honor Him in unshaken trust despite unfavorable circumstances. (See Psalm 50:15.)
Yet too often we talk ourselves right out of the blessing. We stay under the Pomegranate tree. Each time that you say No to God, other people are impacted by your disobedience. On the flip side, each time one of God’s children says “yes” and obeys Him, people are impacted in a positive way. God can use you to change the course of the church. He can use you to have an impact on your home. You can be the one to reach your family for Jesus. One obedient servant could have an impact on this entire nation!
How is this possible? It starts with your availability. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ’Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ’Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
Are you ready to break out from under the Pomegranate tree and be used of God? Then join me in saying to Jesus, “Here am I! Send me.”
Pastor Randy Maxwell