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Brave Hearts

Key References: 1 Samuel 14:1-23; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 60, pp. 616-626; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 3, pp. 177-181; Our Beliefs, nos. 17, 22, 11

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“Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few’ ” (1 Samuel 14:6).

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We praise God, who calls us to make a difference for others.

Have you ever been frustrated because “bad guys” seemed to be in charge and “good guys” just stood around and did nothing? Have you ever wondered what God wanted you to do about it? Sometimes God asks us to wait, but sometimes He asks us to act in faith. In this story, two young men felt God called them to action.

How much longer do we need to sit around this camp and do nothing?” Jonathan, the king’s son, was frustrated. His father and 600 men were camped out here under this pomegranate tree. They were depressed, bored, and the king certainly didn’t seem able to motivate anybody. Some of the soldiers had even sneaked off to hide in nearby bushes and caves. Worst of all, the heathen Philistines, their enemies, were just laughing at these people who claimed to worship a powerful God.

The men in this pitiful little band were armed with slings and bows and arrows. No one but the king and his son had swords or spears. The bothersome, arrogant Philistines even had the weapons under their control.

Jonathan, the king’s son, felt he should do something. He said to his faithful young armor-bearer: “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. 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 faithful friend replied, “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul” (1 Samuel 14:6, 7).

Very early the next morning, after committing their way to God, the two young men tiptoed past the dozing guards and made their way out of camp and down the gorge separating the two camps. As they came to the base of the thorny cliff on the other side, Jonathan had a strange idea: “We will cross over toward them and let them see us,” he said. “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.”

His armor-bearer agreed. And the two young men started clamoring about at the bottom of the gorge in full view of the enemy lookout. A Philistine sentry spotted them almost immediately.

“Look!” the Philistines said. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” They yelled down to the Hebrew boys, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.” Little did they know that was exactly what Jonathan planned to do!

Jonathan and his armor-bearer smiled as they heard the sign they were waiting for. “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel” (verses 8-12), Jonathan said.

The two young men dropped out of sight again and took a secret and difficult path up the cliff face.

They took the Philistines by surprise. There was lots of yelling and sword wielding. Then the earth started to tremble, rock, and shake. God made His presence felt in a mighty way in the battle.

The whole Philistine camp was in a panic, with soldiers waking to the ground rocking and the sounds of battle. They didn’t wait to see what was happening. All they wanted to do was run. And run they did—in all directions— away from the camp.

The noise and confusion in the Philistine camp caught the attention of the Hebrew lookouts. They ran to Saul and reported what they were hearing. Saul called out to Ahijah the priest, ”Bring the ark of God,” for he wanted to inquire what the Lord would have them do.

Saul should have done that days ago. Now he was too impatient to wait for the answer. He said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” Instead of waiting for an answer from God, he assembled the Israelites and went to battle.

Saul and his band were able to chase the already-confused Philistines away from the area. Even some of the Hebrews who had been hiding in the hills and caves came out when they smelled the victory, and joined in the hot pursuit.

As the day ended, Jonathan and his armor-bearer praised God for the privilege they had had to fight the Lord’s battles. Never could they have dreamt of such an amazing victory. These two young men attempted great things for God and He honored their faithfulness.

That day God used two brave Hebrew boys to give His people victory over their enemies.

God can do great things through you as well if you trust in Him and seek to honor Him in everything you do!