SYNOPSIS: What if today you prayed that God would infuse you with indomitable courage and ruthless trust so that like Jonathan and his armor-bearer, you might overcome the Philistines in your life — fear, inadequacy, mean and manipulative people, the lack of resources preventing the vision that God has put in your heart, or even your own sinfulness? God is looking to grant Jonathan-like boldness to those who will ask, and who will then step out in courage and trust to risk faith in the One who is generous with His favor and help.
Going Deep // Focus: 1 Samuel 14:6
“Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor-bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”
This is my favorite story of confidence and victory in the Bible: Jonathan and his armor-bearer boldly talking on a Philistine garrison against overwhelming odds—and routing the enemy in a victory as stunning as they come. The raw boldness, ruthless trust, and risky faith of Jonathan—and his armor-bearer, let’s not forget him—is at an industrial-strength level.
Now there is a fine line between faith and presumption in this story. What if the two warriors would have gotten killed right off the bat? We might still be talking about their boldness, but certainly not their intelligence. Sometimes, as they say, discretion is the better part of valor. When you are taking a risky step of faith at the level that Jonathan took, you really need to make sure you have heard from God. By the way, that requires a moment-by-moment walk with the Lord and not just a “hail Mary”, on-again, off-again spirituality.
Assuming Jonathan walked intimately with God, we can now say that his declaration was an amazing statement of not just high-level faith, but incredible submission to the will of God—something that is even rarer than risky faith. Jonathan was willing not only to take on an enemy that was far better equipped, but he was willing to die for the cause, should God choose that for him. Of course, God honored his faith and enabled him to not only rout the enemy but inspire the rest of the Israelite army to take on and defeat the entire Philistine war machine.
No statement in Scripture is more endearing to me than this faithful declaration by Jonathan: “Let’s go take on these Philistines. Who knows, maybe the Lord might even help us!” Jonathan had such a courageous heart, based on a deep belief in the sovereignty of God, that he was willing to put his life on the line to secure a great victory for the people of God.
Obviously, Jonathan had done a lot of thinking about God before he acted—but act he did when the time came. And out of his heroic effort comes one of the great stories of the Bible. Oh, how we wish for more Jonathan’s in our day—and desperately need them. And how I wish I had more of Jonathan’s boldness.
Perhaps you and I should begin to pray for a Jonathan spirit. What if we prayed that God would infuse us with deep courage and a higher degree of trust so that we might tackle the Philistines in our lives—fear, inadequacy, manipulative people, the lack of resources that stand opposed to the vision God has put in our heart, our own sinfulness?
You know, I have a feeling that God is looking to grant that kind of Jonathan-like boldness to those who will ask—and who will then step out in bold, daring faith to put God to the test:
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
May God grant us the kind of courage we read about in Jonathan—faith, hope, and such deep trust in his sovereignty that leads us to live heroic lives of risky obedience that inspires others to greater faith and risky obedience.