Unquestionably, one of my favorite moments in the Bible is found in 1 Samuel 14.
Let me describe the situation.
King Saul was camped under a pomegranate tree with 600 men while a garrison of the Philistine army secured a nearby pass. It was a tense moment; but unexpectedly, Saul’s son, Jonathan, turned to his young armor bearer and said, ““Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf.”
Now here’s why this is such a crazy moment: They were outnumbered, outmaneuvered, out-positioned and outgunned. Well…it was actually swords not guns, but you get the picture.
Despite all of that, they end up going anyway.
Ask any military leader, tactician or strategist and they will all tell you this was a bad idea from start to finish for a number of reasons.
:: First, a defending force always has the advantage.
:: Second, a battle on varied terrain always gives the force on higher elevation a distinct advantage.
:: Third, attacking a larger force is always a disadvantage. In fact, military strategists say attackers should generally outnumber defenders at least 3 to 1, but Jonathan & his servant were outnumbered at least 10 to 1. Ludicrous!
:: Finally, if you read the previous chapter, you’ll see there were only two swords among the entire Israelite army. Saul had one and Jonathan had the other. Everyone else had tools like plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles.
Well, needless to say from a human perspective, what Jonathan sought to do was at best unrealistic and more likely absurd. It was an inevitable and pointless loss, and anyone with common sense would have expected Jonathan and his armor bearer to die on that hillside.
But God isn’t limited to our expectations, and…they didn’t die!
They attacked a larger, defending force uphill with one sword; and they defeated 20 Philistine warriors.
I love a number of things about this story.
I love the faith and courage of Jonathan. I love the loyalty and trust of the armor bearer, but what I love most is the absolute impossibility of it. It was an impractical endeavor that would certainly fail unless God showed up, and that is exactly what He did! As a result, it mobilized the Israelite army, produced a great victory and even led to a cool reconciliation among God’s people. [ref. 1 Samuel 14:21]
Far too often we, limit ourselves to the possible.
We work toward things that we can accomplish…even things for God. That often then leads us to lower expectations, modify goals and shrink from opportunity…especially the God-sized ones. T.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
What is God waiting for you to do? What impossible task awaits your willingness to say, “Let’s go…perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf.”
What does GOD want to do in or through YOU that most people would say is impossible?
We really can do all things through Him who give us strength. [ref. Philippians 4:13] We serve the God of the Impossible. So let’s seek to live life with eyes of faith….where the impossible is not only possible…but probable.
We may think we honor God with cautious “stewardship,” but that is not always true. Which means…we can inadvertently end up waiting under the pomegranate tree and miss the miraculous.
Take a few moments right now and approach the God of the Impossible in prayer. Ask Him what “impossible” things he wants to do in and through you. Then ask Him to equip you to do it.
June 30, 2014
Wow. Stewardship as an excuse, missing God’s best! Reminds me of how we can also use busy-ness (even doing church / Christian things) as a substitute for actual spiritual growth, or even to feed our pride. It would definitely be worth examining our lives to see where we might be hiding behind stewardship…
June 30, 2014
This is so applicable to me Shawn, as I embark on this new adventure and seek to establish my new normal after Gerry’s death. A new career, a new residence, and probably even a new church family. I have decided to “Live Sent” and God has sent me to Dubuque, IA and East Dubuque, IL. To God be the glory; great things He has done and will do all because I am willing to be His servant leader. Heritage Church has helped me grow so much this past year. It is with deep gratitude that I thank you! I look forward to visiting Heritage whenever. I can. Thank you again for your kindness!
July 8, 2014
I love this idea Shawn. Nothing pumps me up more than believing God for the impossible (according to human standards). I too love the stories surrounding David because so often they go against “common sense” and prove God MOVES when He sees faith in His people. You got me thinking and praying… Thank you!