When we think of a person with great faith in the early days of the Kingdom of Israel, we often think of David. We know of his relationship with God through the Psalms he wrote. We see this faith in action very early when he was willing to fight against Goliath. What he said to Goliath should inspire us all.
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied … All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV)
David had a strong faith in God. But the man who was to be his close friend, Jonathan, also had a faith in God that could rival that of David.
One day, early in Saul’s reign, Jonathan and his armour-bearer went up against an outpost of Philistine soldiers that was located on top of a cliff. You might be thinking: what good would two soldiers be against an outpost? But notice Jonathan’s reasoning.
“Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’” (1 Samuel 14:6 NIV)
Isn’t that a great faith in God? There were only two of them but Jonathan knew with God on their side nothing could stop them. It didn’t matter if he had many or a few men, God made the difference.
Jonathan and his armour-bearer revealed themselves to the Philistines who invited them to come up to the outpost. They took this as the sign that God was with them. They ascended the cliff and attacked the outpost, killing about twenty men.
The Philistine army then panicked. But this panic was also sent by God. When the Israelite army led by King Saul arrived they found the Philistines in total confusion, attacking each other.
“When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.” (1 Samuel 14:22-23)
Do we have this type of faith? When the odds are against us do we realise that if God is with us it matters not what the odds are? This is not saying that whatever we want God will give us – far from it. But we are promised, as God’s people today, that if we ask according to his will he hears us.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
Do we have the kind of faith that David had when facing Goliath? Do we have the kind of faith that Jonathan had when facing the Philistines? Do we have enough faith to approach God and ask as they did? If we ask according to his will – not our will, but his – we can know God hears us and has already answered that prayer.
If only we could learn what it means to totally rely on God!
Photo of David statue by Jon Galloway, The Citadel, Jerusalem.
Readings for next week: 1 Samuel 14-18