1 Samuel 14:7
His armor-bearer replied, "Do all that is in your heart. Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."
Sermons
The Armour Bearer Who Backed JonathanL. A. Banks, D. D.1 Samuel 14:7
The Heroism of JonathanB. Dale 1 Samuel 14:1-15
Jonathan's Exploit At MichmashW. G. Blaikie, D. D.1 Samuel 14:1-23
Room for Services in the ChurchJ. Parker, D. D.1 Samuel 14:1-23
The Battle of MichmashThomas Champness.1 Samuel 14:1-23
The Valiant SoldierHelen Plumptre.1 Samuel 14:1-23
1 Samuel 14:1-15. (GEBA, MICHASH.)
Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised, etc. (ver. 6). The character of Jonathan is one of the bravest, most generous: devout, and blameless in history. Of his earliest years nothing is recorded. When first mentioned he was in command of a thousand soldiers (1 Samuel 13:2), and his overthrow of the Philistine garrison in Geba was the first act of the war of independence;" but (as in the case of Moses - Acts 7:25) it failed to deliver his people from oppression. His attack upon the enemy's camp at Michmash, which is here described, resulted in victory. He inherited the physical strength and courage of Saul; but in other respects presented a contrast to his father; exemplified the best, as the latter exemplified some of the worst features of the age, and set a pattern of true heroism for all time.

"What makes a hero? an heroic mind
Expressed in action, in endurance proved."

I. EXALTED ASPIRATIONS (ver. 1) which -

1. Are cherished in adverse circumstances (1 Samuel 13:22; ver. 2). Instead of being crushed by adversity, "an heroic mind" bears it patiently, rises above it, and aspires to higher things (Acts 21:13). In its midst it shines all the more brightly, like gold purified by the fire.

2. Lead to courageous projects. Jonathan often looks across the ravine between Bozez and Seneh (vers. 4, 5), and revolves in his mind how he can strike a blow at the apparently inaccessible fortress of the enemy; and at length goes forth secretly in the night or at early dawn, attended only by his armour bearer. To communicate his project to others, even if it were as yet clear to himself, would be to hinder or defeat its accomplishment. He feels called to attempt something great, and "confers not with flesh and blood."

3. Are inspired by the Divine Spirit. More of "the mind of the Lord was doubtless made known to Jonathan than to the king, notwithstanding the presence of the priest with him (ver. 3). What appears presumption to others is often to one Divinely taught the simple path of duty.

II. EMINENT FAITH (ver. 6), including -

1. A firm conviction of the covenant relation of God to his people. "These uncircumcised" in opposition to Israel. Jonathan's thought was not of himself, but of his people, and of the promises and purposes of God concerning them.

2. A lofty conception of the unlimited power of God to save them. "There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few" (2 Chronicles 14:11; Micah 2:7). In comparison with his might the strength of man, whether much or little, is nothing. He has often used "the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:27, 28), and he can do so again. Faith is shown in contemplating the power of God, and is thereby greatly increased.

3. Humble reliance on the gracious cooperation of God on their behalf. "It may be that the Lord will work for us." He is ready and able to afford help, but whether it will be given in connection with a particular course of action is, without express direction or promise, uncertain; and the indications of his will should be followed with humility, hopefulness, and confidence. "The measure of faith is the measure of God's help." "All things are possible to him that believeth."

III. PRUDENT WATCHFULNESS (vers. 9, 10).

1. In contrast to reckless adventure. Faith in God gives insight into the hidden principles and tendencies of things, teaches the adoption of appropriate means, and makes men calm as well as fearless when others lose self-control, and adopt foolish and dangerous expedients (Acts 27:25, 30).

2. In ascertaining the prospects of success. If the enemy are on the alert and exhibit courage, it will be vain to expect to take them by surprise (ver. 9); but if they feel themselves secure in their position, are careless and slack, and blinded by self-confidence, "the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel" (ver. 12).

3. In working wisely with a view to that end. God works by means, and not without them, and the wisest means are the most successful.

IV. DARING ENERGY (vers. 11-14) in -

1. Enduring great risk.

2. Putting forth immense effort. "Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees." It is a severe as well as a dangerous climb to reach the point where the conflict begins.

3. Following up every advantage to the utmost. "When he came in full view of the enemy they both discharged such a flight of arrows, stones, and pebbles from their bows, crossbows, and slings that twenty men fell at the first onset, and the garrison fled in a panic."

V. INSPIRING SYMPATHY (vers. 7, 13). A believing and heroic spirit begets the same spirit in others.

1. At first those with whom it comes into closest contact - it may be a single individual.

2. Afterwards a host (vers. 21, 22).

3. And their aid contributes to the general result. "The history of battles should teach us the mighty power of sympathetic relations."

VI. DIVINE APPROVAL.

1. Expressed in the overthrow of the enemy - bringing them into confusion (ver. 15), turning them against one another (ver. 16), and saving Israel from their oppression, as well as in the Providential ordering of all things that contributed to it.

2. In commendation of "the spirit of faith" in which the enterprise was undertaken and carried out.

3. Recognised by all the people. "He hath wrought with God this day" (ver. 45) - wrought effectually through his favour and power. The day was won by Jonathan; still more by God. "So the Lord saved Israel that day" (ver. 23). And to him the glory must be ascribed. - D.







I am with thee.
Jonathan was a brave and generous leader of men. In the picture we are to study we see Jonathan, tired of inaction, and longing to be against the enemy, suddenly determine to do a little skirmishing on his own account; and yet there was a profoundly religious spirit controlling the impulse which led him to make the attempt. Jonathan devoutly believed that God was able to work by the few as well as by the many. He made known his purpose to his armour bearer and no doubt awaited with interest the attitude which that young man would take in the matter. Then the armour bearer replied with a warm-hearted enthusiasm and fidelity that must have made Jonathan's generous blood tingle, "Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart." Who could not win victories backed by such armour bearers as that? Go back through history and you will see that the men who have done the greatest work in the world are the men who have been backed by faithful helpers with staunch and loyal hearts. Moses was chosen to lead Israel out of Egypt, but God gave him Miriam and Aaron for armour bearers. Joshua became the great soldier and leader of his nation, but what a splendid armour bearer he had in Caleb. Daniel stands out gloriously against the dark background of wicked Babylon, but the three brave Hebrew boys that went into the fiery furnace rather than betray their faith in God were worthy armour bearers to such a leader. Paul shines forth from Ephesus, and Rome, and Athens, and Corinth as the great leader and evangelist, but who can ever tell how much Silas, and Barnabas, and Timothy meant to the great apostle as armour bearers to encourage and sustain him? Of course God works through leaders. I do not wish for one moment, to shirk my own responsibility or my own duty with reference to a revival. But feeling in this way, I also feel just as certainly that I cannot win in this church and in this city many souls to Christ, unless the men and women of this church shall be loyal and faithful armour bearers. There are many ways in which the individual members of a church may be helpful armour bearers to. the pastor in a time like this.

1. The first is in their attitude to God and to their fellow Christians in relation to the meetings. Sincere and earnest prayer which takes possession of the heart and life must help to sustain the pastor in leading a campaign for the saving of souls. Do you think that Peter could have won that victory on the day of Pentecost if the hundred and twenty had been going about criticising him; or bad been making outside engagemants to take away their interest from the meeting. So both your attitude to God and your attitude toward your fellow church members are of the most serious importance. Revivals never come easily. A revival of religion is campaign waged against the world, and the flesh, and the devil. Every liquor saloon in this country is dead set against a revival of religion. Not only are these against it, but the greed for money, and the love of ease and self-indulgence, in church members as well as in outsiders, ere all against a revival of religion. Hence a real, genuine revival of religion always comes hard.

2. If you are to be a real armour bearer you, too, must handle the sword of the Spirit; you must not wait for the pastor to hunt out individuals one by one and win them to Christ. You must be faithful in your own place and with self-denial and earnestness seek to win souls yourself. There are many souls who are waiting for but a touch of influence from the outside to turn the balances on the side of righteousness. And what joy it would bring to you if you were to thus feel yourself a real armour bearer in Christ's work. It seems terrible, when the human heart is capable of such marvellous things in the way of loyalty, and zeal, and enthusiasm, that we who profess the name of Jesus Christ, and have been redeemed by His precious blood, should be so lacking here. What glorious deeds have been done through the chivalric earnestness of human souls!

(L. A. Banks, D. D.)

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