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1 Samuel 14

June 4, 2023

Groundworks Ministries Daily Bible Challenge

“Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, 'Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us.'”

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1 Samuel 14

“Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, ‘Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’ His armor-bearer responded, ‘Do what is right in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.’” 1 Samuel 14:6-7 (HCSB)

One could hardly make the case that Jonathan’s faith was a product of his environment. His circumstances were not those that foster optimism. Consider the leaders: Sitting Saul, whose kingship has been rejected, assisted by Ahijah, whose priestly line has been rejected. Since Samuel has left, Saul has no prophetic direction. So, what help can such a king and priest provide?

Still, Jonathan decides it’s time for action. To understand the depth of Jonathan’s faith, it helps to understand the images surrounding the path he took to victory.

“Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other was Seneh. The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.” 1 Samuel 14:4-5 (ESV)

The Hebrew names of these rocks are roughly equivalent to “Slippery” (Bozez) and “Thorny” (Seneh). This was hardly a scenic leisurely hike. Most folks would consider the point impassable. Basically, nothing on Jonathan’s circumstantial “radar screen” encouraged optimism. But Jonathan’s response to his conditions was not to be optimistic. It was to be faithful. Some people are naturally optimistic – they don’t know better. But faith can arise even when no reason for optimism exists.

Faith arises in such situations because faith looks not to circumstances but to God. Jonathan is not trusting in his own daring scheme. He does not say, “Perhaps the Lord will act for us because we are clever.” If anything, his daring expresses his trust in the Lord. Yet the beauty of Jonathan’s faith is its IMAGINATION (“Come on, let’s cross over…), and the beauty of that imagination is its BALANCE (“perhaps”).

Many believers in our day think that to say “perhaps” cuts the nerve of faith, that faith must be certain, dogmatic, and absolutely positive. Faith, therefore, has become confused with arrogance. “Perhaps” confesses the power of the Lord yet acknowledges our ignorance of His plan. It retains the freedom of the Lord to act according to His will, not ours. It enables us to step out in faith but not sprint in pride.

Are you facing a difficult season? Is the Enemy taunting you as an army of “Philistines,” so to speak? Salvation does not wait until you can amass an overwhelming optimistic opposition. It begins with imaginative faith-in-action that is willing to say, “Perhaps, the Lord will act for us.”

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©Steve Wiggins 2021

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