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After Saul disobeyed by making the sacrifice all by himself, Samuel left.
It seems as if Saul didn’t know what to do then. Saul counted his fighting men to see how many he had left. But other than that, from what the Bible says, it seems like they were just hanging around waiting for the enemy to attack them. Could it be Saul was afraid to do anything with so few men? Or could it be that he was sulking and feeling sorry for himself because he got in trouble? (When prideful people get in trouble, sometimes they sit and sulk about it, thinking, “I was just trying to help. But, since I got in trouble, I won’t do anything at all. Humph.”)
Whatever the reason was, the Israelites knew where the enemy was, but the army was just sitting.
But Prince Jonathan, Saul’s son, was ready to take some action. He said to his friend, his armor bearer, “Hey! Let’s go sneak over to the enemy camp and see what’s happening.”
So Prince Jonathan and his armor bearer left to go over to the enemy’s camp, but they didn’t tell anyone else they were leaving.
Sneak. Sneak. Sneak. They could see the enemy up on a high cliff. Jonathan said, “Let’s climb up that cliff and attack! Just you and me. Nothing can stop God from saving his people who trust Him. By many or by few… two men or thousands… it doesn’t make a difference!”
“Do it!” his friend said. “My heart and mind and everything in me is right there with you! Let’s go!”
What do you think the difference is between Saul’s “I can do it myself” attitude, and Jonathan’s “we can do this, even though it’s just you and me” attitude? Their words might sound similar, but their attitudes were VERY different.
Saul’s attitude came out of pride: “I can do this just as well as Samuel. I don’t need anyone to help me.”
But Jonathan’s attitude came out of a deep-rooted Trust in God: “We CAN do this, because God is on our side!”
See the difference? That’s a big difference, isn’t it?
Remember: Trusting yourself or NOT trusting yourself is pride — because in both cases you should be trusting God. Jonathan is putting his trust in God.
Jonathan came up with a plan. ”Let’s let the enemies see us! If the enemies on the cliff say ‘Stay there!’ then we’ll stay here, but if they say ‘Come on up here!’ then that will be a sign that God is with us and will do the fighting for us!”
Doesn’t that sound like a crazy plan to let the enemy see them coming?! But, that was how they were going to know if God was going to help them.
Well, their enemies did see them coming. The enemies were laughing and making fun of them.
The enemy counted, “Look, one… two. It’s a two-man army! Come on up here!” the enemies said. “We’ll teach you a lesson.”
That was all Jonathan needed to hear. He knew that God was going to help them win. Up, up, up, the big cliff Jonathan climbed using just his feet and hands. Up, up, up came his armor bearer right behind him.
When they reached the top, bunches of the enemy were there. But the enemies weren’t laughing any more. Jonathan and his armor bearer started fighting them, and suddenly God made the enemies panic. They were running away. They were so afraid and shaking so badly that the ground shook like an earthquake!
Jonathan was right, wasn’t he? God can save with many soldiers or with just 2!
When Saul and the rest of his army saw that the enemies were running scared in all directions, Saul said, “Who’s fighting the enemy? Find out who’s missing from our army!”
They gathered the whole army and found out Jonathan and the armor bearer were the ones missing.
Saul called for the priest, “Find out what God wants us to do! Should we fight?”
Meanwhile the enemies continued to get more and more scattered and confused. Finally Saul just shouted, “Forget it! There’s no time to ask God what He thinks!” (Yuck! Saul is starting to show how yucky his heart is, isn’t he?)
Saul and his men rushed into battle, only to find that the enemies were already fighting, against themselves! Then all God’s people — the ones who’d run away, or were hiding, and even the ones that were hanging out with the enemy — they all came back to God’s side to help finish up the fight.
On that day, God saved His people. But everyone was very grateful to Jonathan and his friend for their bravery and trust in God. Jonathan and his armor bearer were winners, not because they had a big army, and not because they had a perfect plan… but because they took a step of Faith and trusted Who their God was. And God liked that!