1 Samuel 14:4–15 (ESV)
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 the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.
Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.” And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.” Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre of land. And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic.
Jonathan is counting on the LORD to give him victory. He even sets up a test to “read” God’s will in this.
And the Lord confirms Jonathan’s plan and blesses it greatly. The end of today’s passage, which the ESV translates as, “and it became a very great panic,” in Hebrew is literally, “and it was a terror of God.”
That’s how a raid by two guys turned the tide for the entire battlefield.
This is a beautiful example of faith growing through practice. Jonathan’s heart’s desire is to smack the Philistines, but he knows that’s only going to happen with immense blessing from the LORD.
So he jumps into action. He doesn’t sit on his hands, like his dad is doing.
And notice how he isn’t reckless. He has a plan, but he doesn’t know if his bright idea conforms to the LORD’s will. Emotions can mislead, and this is a time of very high emotions for Jonathan. So, he sets up a test; what the Philistines say will determine whether he has a green light to attack.
The result is impressive, and Jonathan is sure to be impressed—more so than everyone else. He saw it all.
Nothing strengthens faith like seeing God in action.
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ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.