1 Samuel 14:11-23/ So Jonathan and his helper let the Philistines see them. The Philistine guards said, “Look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The Philistines in the fort shouted to Jonathan and his helper, “Come up here. We’ll teach you a lesson.” Jonathan said to his helper, “Follow me up the hill. The Lord is letting Israel defeat the Philistines.” 13-14 So Jonathan climbed up the hill with his hands and feet, and his helper was right behind him. Jonathan and his helper attacked them. In the first attack, they killed 20 Philistines in an area about one-half acre in size. Jonathan fought the men who attacked from the front. His helper came behind him and killed the men who were only wounded. 15 Great fear spread among the Philistine soldiers—those in the field, in the camp, and at the fort. Even the bravest soldiers were afraid. The ground began to shake, and they were completely overcome with fear. 16 Saul’s guards at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin saw the Philistine soldiers running away in different ways. 17 Saul said to the army with him, “Count the men. I want to know who left camp.” They counted the men. Jonathan and his helper were gone. 18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring God’s Holy Box!” (At that time God’s Holy Box was there with the Israelites.)[d] 19 Saul was talking to Ahijah the priest waiting for advice from God. But the noise and confusion in the Philistine camp was growing and growing. Saul was becoming impatient. Finally, he said to Ahijah the priest, “That’s enough. Put your hand down and stop praying.” 20 Saul gathered his army together and went to the battle. The Philistine soldiers were very confused. They were even fighting each other with their swords. 21 There were Hebrews who served the Philistines in the past and who stayed in the Philistine camp. But now these Hebrews joined the Israelites with Saul and Jonathan. 22 All the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard the Philistine soldiers were running away. So these Israelites also joined in the battle and began chasing the Philistines. 23 So the Lord saved the Israelites that day. The battle moved on past Beth Aven. The whole army was with Saul—he now had about 10,000 men. The battle spread to every city in the hill country of Ephraim.
Back in this story today of Jonathan and the faithful action he took in the face of some huge obstacles. This lesson has been so big for me because as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been in a place lately where I know what God is calling me to do but the how and where on what to do next aren’t quite as obvious. I could easily get upset and say, “God why can’t you just open some doors up already, I know you can, why do I have to go through this period of unknown?” I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t had those thoughts but thank the Lord for showing me why I’ve been going through this time in my life because in it it’s brought me closer to Him and taught me so many huge faith building lessons to learn from in future circumstances. I never thought I’d say this but isn’t it awesome how God allows situations in our lives that are way too difficult and uncomfortable for us to handle on our own bring us closer to lean on Him. I may not have all the answers and this situation may have not gone how I would’ve wanted it but the through all the fear, doubt, and failure, it’s easier than ever to see how much better His power and His will is above my own. It may be tough to see it that way when all the circumstances in your life aren’t looking up but the good thing is, those are the circumstances that teaches us to look up.
Jonathan’s example here is perfect for the unknown, scary, and often uncomfortable positions we find ourselves in throughout our life. I look at how Saul was handling things, looking at the situation in the horizontal, basing his confidence and actions off of numbers, resources, and the size of his enemy which brought him to be stagnated in his fear of defeat. He was so scared to lose that he was already losing by staying still. He even had the resources, a priest with an ephod to discern God’s will, 600 Israelite soldiers by his side, but instead he looked at it from his own perspective, put his trust in his own will and operated out of his own power. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve related to Saul’s example. I have all the resources I could ever need, a relationship with Christ, His Holy Spirit living inside me as an aid and guidance, and God’s literal Word to look to. How do we constantly overlook the ONLY resources we need and look at other “resources” like money, things, or ourselves to find the true solution. If we are looking to those other “resources” then it makes sense why we become so afraid and caught up in doubt because only through Him and living in His will can provide the answers and victory we constantly seek after. What’s been the worst part for me during this process is putting everything on horizontal resources and myself instead of the Lord, then the fear that comes with taking steps of action into the uncomfortable and unknown become even scarier. The bad thing about fear is that it brings doubt, insecurities and worries and with all that fear running your actions, it can be paralyzing. Just like with Saul being paralyzed to move at all against the Philistines. Paralyzed to even want to come to God and see what His will is for our situation because we already know we’ll have to face that big giant of the unknown and probably have to face that uncomfortable fear.
Back to Jonathan’s example, he shows us the good news about handling this giant of the unknown. We don’t have to rely on our resources or face it alone, or even be afraid because God is with us. Jonathan didn’t have anywhere close to the resources Saul had and he didn’t have the authority to lead the army against the Philistines but he used the resources that God had given Him and moved with God, out of his faith that God had his back the whole time. He had every reason and excuse to stay still with the rest of the army but he knew that following God’s will above His own was going to take some movement to discern what or how God wanted him to do. He trusted in the power and bigness of God over what himself, and I’m sure he was still afraid but it’s cool seeing all his responses throughout the story are filled with confidence. After seeking and lowering himself under God’s will and power, that’s where his confidence was, in God. He moved faithfully, one step at a time, seeking God’s plan and purpose with each step. When the moment came and God answered him, showed him the open door, since he had already taken one step a time in faith, believing that no matter what happened or how bad his circumstances got God would bring the victory. Saul was scared to move because he was calculating the risk and didn’t have his faith in the Lord of victory so he was already defeated before the battle even happened. Jonathan on the other hand, wasn’t trying to figure it out or waiting on all the stars to align perfectly before he started stepping, he trusted in God and His victory, because of that he had won before he even started fighting. When God finally opened up the door to show him where to go he was already half way through it and didn’t hesitate, he just faithfully stepped.
As you can see the Philistines saw him and his armor-bearer, called him out and that was the sign that God was bringing defeat to the Philistines through Jonathan and his helper. After Jonathan and his armor-bearer started putting work in on the huge army of Philistines, the ground began to shake. God was literally fighting with these two faithful men and when that happened it brought a panic among the Philistines. They had no idea it was their whole army verses two guys. Once again, because Jonathan started taking one step at time in faith even though the odds were far from his favor and he didn’t have a clue how or what God was going to bring victory, God honored their faith and brought victory to all of Israel. I’ve heard it put this way before and it’s a phrase I try to keep close by, “Lord I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m going to show up and I know you’re going to show out.
Looking at Saul when all this craziness starts going down, he was clueless on what to tell his troops to do and finally he started seeking for God’s plan but he was too late because His plan was already taking place. Because he decided to trust in himself and play the odds instead of trusting in God’s victory, when the battle came and victory was there for the taking he wasn’t ready to walk through the door God opened up. Saul was paralyzed in fear and almost cost the nation of Israel because his lack of faith and lack of faith in action.
There’s so many lessons to this story but the main one is all in Jonathan’s example. We don’t have what it takes to start taking steps towards the unknown, fear will paralyze us every time. By simply stepping and trusting that God is with us, fighting for us and most of all always bringing the victory, why be afraid? Why hesitate? Why question it? It may be hard to see what God’s will is sometimes and He doesn’t always make it super easy for us but just know He’s doing that to bring you closer to Him, leaning on Him, and stepping with Him. Sometimes it’s good to step back and wait on God to show you what to do next but a lot of the time moving one step at a time trusting Him and seeking Him, you may fall a few times and go the wrong direction but just remember that He’s stepping with you. He’ll pick you up and put you back on the path He has for you, delivering you in His victory. The unknown may be scary and uncomfortable but trust in who God is and what He’s capable of, only with Him can we walk in confidence and victory into the unknown. “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing Lord but I’m going to show up and I know you’re going to show out.” 1 step at a time. VICTORY STEPPING!!!!!!