Thursday, June 16, 2022
Ten-year old boys ask a lot of questions. Many times the questions are deep in their mind, and they find their answers in a variety of places. They have questions about identity and value. “Why do I look this way? Why do I act this way? What can I do to make other kids like me? Who do I want to be like when I grow up? Who is my hero?”
One such boy was fortunate to grow up in a family that loved Jesus. He had lots of influence from Godly role models. He was protected from the influence of evil through media because he grew up in a time when television shows were wholesome, and movies were family-oriented. He was given a great opportunity to find the answers to his questions in the right places.
One day, while at school, he decided who his hero was. He knew who he wanted to imitate with his life. He knew what kind of a man he wanted to become, and what kind of a friend he wanted to be to others. He was so enamored by this “hero” that he actually changed his own name. His name was already related to this new hero, so it seemed like an easy transition. He started signing his school papers with the new name. His teacher wondered what was going on. She thought he was having a major identity crisis, when in reality he was determining values that would last the rest of his life. She called his parents. They met at the school and asked the boy what he was doing. He told them that he had been listening to his Sunday School teacher tell the story of this hero from the Bible. Every part of his life fascinated the boy. He admitted that he wanted to be just like him and have those same values and qualities. His parents were very proud of him but refused to let him continue to use the wrong name. They had specifically chosen his name after another Bible character and a relative. To honor his family, the boy agreed. He decided that the name wasn’t as important as the characteristics, and it wouldn’t stop him from being like his hero even if he wasn’t named the same. So he went back to being John instead of Jonathon.
The story of Jonathon still fascinates me, and the story of his life really did influence me. Especially the one we read in today’s Scripture in 1 Samuel 14.
1 Samuel 14:6-7 “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.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
The nation of Israel is being threatened by their enemy the Philistines. They are severely outnumbered. In fact, the only two people in the entire army that have swords are King Saul and his son Jonathon. The nation is hiding in terror. The army scatters, looking for caves, thickets, or even cisterns in which to hide. The soldiers have no weapons and no clear leadership, even from their King.
It’s easy to get discouraged when we look outnumbered and overpowered. It’s typical to withdraw and go into hiding. Our first impulse is to protect what we have left. Not my hero. Not Jonathon. Hopefully not me either. Ever. Jonathon calls his armor-bearer from the rocks, and they alone proceed up the mountain to the Philistine outpost. In the face of overwhelming odds, certain ridicule, and possible death, they step out in faith. WOW!
Do you understand the incredible statement that Jonathon makes, and the equally incredible one his armor-bearer makes? Jonathon knows the LORD and what He stands for. He has identified the enemy. He has made his choice to stand for the LORD. He has full confidence in what the LORD can and will do. He says, “Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” Oh how we need this lesson today. The many may be against us, but the few win when God is with them. Especially when those few have the faith of Jonathon and the commitment of the armor-bearer, who said, “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
Those of you who know me well now have an explanation for my “bull-in-the-china-shop” leadership style. I rarely look at odds. I see the Bible filled with courageous men and women who stepped out in faith and took on a whole outpost of soldiers with only one weapon. I see giant-slayers. I see faith in the LORD when others see fear of the world. I still wish my name was Jonathon. But more than that, I still want to have his courage and his faith. I want to be a friend like he was to King David. I want my life to be remembered for one thing – no matter what the odds, I not only stood for God, but advanced when others went into hiding. Who is with me heart and soul?