“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!” (1 Samuel 14:6)
Relate: If I have my information right, this is the valley between the two cliffs called Bozez and Senah. Jonathan and his guard would have had to come from the hill to the left, Seneh. His original plan was probably to get a view of the Philistine outpost from the top of that hill. He saw them and apparently decided to make his presence known. This would still have been no big risk since there was still a cliff down, and then back up that no army could easily cross. This is why The Philistines have always been raiding to the north, east, and west. Crossing to the south was no easy matter.
What happens next is where I am most impressed with Jonathan’s bodyguard. Jonathan is young, rich, and powerful. He is a prince and knowing Saul’s character as well as the interactions we have between the two, it is safe to say Jonathan was probably a bit spoiled. It would be natural for him to think he is invincible. I doubt the armor bearer was someone his age. I would think he was probably one of Saul’s best fighters but also one of his older and wiser ones as well. You would think half his duty was to protect Jonathan from himself. If that is the case, in this instance he failed… miserably. Either that or he was won over by the faith and confidence Jonathan has in God.
The Philistines call out and the two men strap the armor on and climb up that cliff “using both hands and feet.” (14:13a) Most likely there were just a few guys guarding the pass but more were drawn in by the spectacle. I’ve done some climbing… it is an incredibly exhausting workout, but these two immediately start hacking away at those few guards that were there and then started killing those who were drawn to the fight, those who “came behind them” (14:13b) Before they had progressed more than a few hundred yards, they had already killed over twenty trained soldiers. (14:14) At some point, some of the men who were running to join the fight now started running the other way. God got a kick out of the two men’s exploits and that set the ground shaking. What started as a minor panic turned into a full-fledged route. Two men came running in and thousands scattered in every direction.
React: God has blessed different people in the church with different gifts. I’m not Jonathan. I have faith in the power of God, but I’m not the type to scale a cliff and attack an army just to see what God will do. I know some others who are wired that way (cough cough, Pastor Will, cough cough) but my gifts tend to flow in other directions. I find myself empathizing more with the armor bearer. The question is, will I be the type of bodyguard that Saul wanted me to be or the one that Jonathan and God need me to be? We all have differing gifts. Instead of being proprietary in their use, squashing the gifts of others why not work together, strengthening each other. Even if only one got the glory, both won the victory. If we stop worrying about what is comfortable and who gets the credit, it is amazing the armies we, together can put to flight.
You lead, I will follow. You lead, we will follow. The way I follow and the way of another might not be the same, but when we follow You together, we can both go so much further than I could ever go on my own. Help me, help us to put aside our differences and follow You. Help me not to critique the way another walks. Let me not worry about their speed or lack of it. Let me instead be an encouragement, a companion for those pursuing You. Let me be about winning battles for You, even if nobody ever learns my name.