Jonathan’s statement in 1 Samuel 14:6 has always been an encouragement:
Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.
Jonathan had biblical support for his faith, for God told Israel that one man would put a thousand to flight. Now, keep the historical context of 1 Samuel 14 in view here: Israel’s army numbered about 600 men (14:2), whereas the Philistines’ army had 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen (13:5). No mention is made of just your plain old foot soldier like Israel had!
Jonathan’s faith in God’s promise–one man will defeat a thousand–helped Jonathan to focus on the Lord, not the material circumstances. From Jonathan’s perspective, because the Lord was on their side, their measly 600 men could be used of the Lord to defeat an army of 600,000! So Jonathan by faith was able to look at the 36,000 that the Philistines assembled as a measly number that was no match for the Lord.
In light of what I’ve been teaching during our Wednesday Bible Study (Knowing God), particularly the fact that as God is spirit he is personal, incorporeal (non-material) and invisible, I have a greater theological appreciation for what Jonathan has said here.
God is the infinite and perfect spirit, in whom all things have their source, support, and end. All God had to do was remove his “support” from the Philistines, work on behalf of Israel, and the end result should not be surprising: “the multitude melted away” (14:6), “the commotion in the camp of the Philistines continued and increased” (14:19), “every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion” (14:20), and “the Lord delivered Israel that day” (14:23).
The Philistines, their horses, and chariots were no match for the infinite and perfect Spirit, who is all-powerful and present everywhere. As David would later say,
Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God (Ps 20:7).
Rarely is anything taught about Jonathan. I don’t think I had heard this verse before, or, at least don’t remember it. Thanks for the mini sermon. It’s a good reminder of a common lesson in shown in a new light! Gives it renewed meaning for me.