1 Samuel 13:16-22; 14:1-23; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 616-626
God gives me the victory.
“Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving” (1 Samuel 14:6).
I can’t! I can’t! I just can’t do it!” Have you ever felt that way? When things are too hard, whom do you ask for help? Jonathan knew who to ask. Here’s his story . . .
King Saul’s army was camped under a tree near Gibeah. The Philistines were camped nearby in a narrow pass in the mountains. Every day the Philistines sent out soldiers to harm the Israelites and steal from them.
The Philistines had hundreds of chariots and thousands of well-armed soldiers. The Israelite army of 600 men was small and afraid.
None of the Israelite soldiers had swords or spears. Only Saul and Jonathan had them. The Israelite soldiers had plows, hoes, axes, and sickles for weapons. But you don’t win wars with farm tools! Because of this, many of the Israelite soldiers were afraid, so they hid in holes and behind rocks. But not Jonathan, the son of King Saul. He alone thought that God could win the battle.
One day Jonathan whispered to the soldier who carried his heavy shield, “Come with me.”
The armor bearer knew at once that Jonathan had a secret plan. He quickly dressed and followed Jonathan out of the camp. Nobody heard them leave.
“We can get to the Philistine lookout if we take the pass between the mountains,” Jonathan explained. “God will get us past the guards and give us victory. Nothing can stop God from saving us.”
“You lead the way,” the armor bearer said. “I’ll be right behind you.”
“Let’s go,” Jonathan said, starting toward the pass. “If, when they see us, they tell us to wait for them to come down, we will wait. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will know that this is the sign that the Lord will give us a victory.”
After a slow, hard hike, Jonathan and his armor bearer reached the pass. Boldly they stepped forward in full view of the Philistine guards.
“Look!” one of the guards cried out. “The Israelites are crawling out of their holes!”
“Come on up so we can teach you a lesson!” another shouted.
“That’s our sign!” Jonathan whispered. “God has given them into our hands.” So the two began climbing up that steep cliff. When they got to the top, Jonathan walked forward. His armor bearer was right behind him. Twenty Philistine guards suddenly attacked in just a small space. But Jonathan and his armor bearer knew God would help them. The Philistines were quickly defeated.
Other guards watching from the tops of the cliffs panicked and became confused when they saw what happened. They shouted down to tell the soldiers in the Philistine camp. And those soldiers panicked. Even the chariot drivers panicked. In their confusion they began to push and fight one another as they ran in every direction. The ground shook as if a great army with horsemen and chariots were coming. Jonathan, his armor bearer, and the Philistines knew that God was helping Israel.
When King Saul and his 600 soldiers came upon the scene, Jonathan and his armor bearer stood quietly watching the Philistines run away. The soldiers of Israel knew they had won because God had won the battle for them. “This day the Lord has rescued us,” they said.
Jonathan and his armor bearer agreed. The Lord had won a great victory. Nothing had stopped God from saving them.