God can accomplish his purposes through many or just a few. Jonathan speaks this truth in 1 Samuel 14:6 when he says, “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” Jonathan knows this to be true because he is one of God’s few.
First Samuel 14:1-15 records how God took action through two faithful believers, Jonathan and his armor-bearer, when Israel’s established leaders sat and did nothing.
Consider the following excerpts from 1 Samuel 14:1-15.
First Samuel 14:1-2: One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men.
In an act of provocation toward Israel, the Philistines set up a military outpost near Israel’s camp. The only response to this from Israel’s leader, King Saul, was to sit under a pomegranate tree with his six hundred men.
Saul had become a weak leader. He did nothing in the face of this enemy threat, but God did something. God raised up Saul’s son, Jonathan, who summoned his armor bearer and they took immediate action.
First Samuel 14:6: Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”
Saul and Jonathan were facing the same crisis. But, Saul sat while Jonathan moved in faith—faith moves while unbelief sits.
There will be times in your life when God calls you to take action in a particular situation. He is always ready to use a faithful believer who will do his will. God can accomplish more with one or two who are faithful; e.g., Jonathan and his armor bearer, than with a king and six hundred men who are not.
Jonathan approached the enemy camp while asking God for a sign.
First Samuel 14:8-9: Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.’”
God gave Jonathan the sign he asked for.
First Samuel 14:11-12: So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
The Philistines’ mocking of Israel was the very sign that initiated their destruction.
First Samuel 14:13: Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him.
God prevailed over his enemies through the hands of one faithful leader and his single follower. Long odds don’t matter when you are fighting God’s battles. God’s paths to victory go beyond the natural.
First Samuel 14:15: Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.
Jonathan’s faith made the difference, and his actions opened the door to God’s intervention. There is no limit to the things God can do to advance his will and purpose.
Remember Jonathan. He and his armor bearer did more than a king and his six hundred men.
When threatened by an enemy: remain faithful to God and keep moving forward with his help.