“So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.
Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash. 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.
On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff;…. Jonathan said to his young armor bearer, “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”
“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” (I Samuel 13:23-14:7)
“Outgunned” and outmanned, the Israelite army waits for a plan of attack. Meanwhile, the king’s son, Jonathan, comes up with a daring idea and sneaks off to implement it. He has a sword and a loyal sidekick. The two young men scale cliffs, goad the enemy into attacking and kill twenty men. What results is a rout – the enemy panics and “melts away in all directions” (verse 16).
This amazing story possesses all the elements of a great action movie and has within it all we need to empower us to take risks in our own lives.
What is the risky idea that God has stirred up in your heart? Often, we clearly see something, but hold back for fear of failure or others’ negative reactions.
We need God’s reassurance that our particular risky idea lines up with God’s heart and purpose. Todd Beamer asked the 911 responder to recite the Lord’s Prayer with him before he and the other passengers on Flight 93 tried to take back control of the airplane from the terrorists: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
New strength comes from realizing that often God’s design is for us to take the risk with others. We are not alone because God provides those faithful ones who say like Jonathan’s armor-bearer: “Do all that you have in mind. I am with you heart and soul.”(verse 7)
The most important element in taking any risk is the unshakeable trust that God will act in our behalf. Jonathan declares this truth before he starts climbing the cliff: “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” (verse 6)
It is not all about us – our abilities, our efforts. The stupid move on the part of the Philistine lookouts to come over to Jonathan, the panic that routed the larger army – all were sent from God who was fighting for Israel.
So what do we have to lose? Let’s go scale some cliffs!