Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

Jonathanís faith

1 Samuel 14:6

Jonathan did not, of course, imagine that he himself could defeat Israelís enemies. That would be a very foolish and dangerous idea. However, Jonathan did trust God to rescue Israel. That was the reason for Jonathanís extraordinary actions at the start of this battle.

Jonathan could see that his father, King Saul, was not trusting God. Jonathan knew how afraid Saul and all his soldiers were (13:7). Saul had a very small army; his enemies (the Philistines) had a vast army (13:5).

Saul was acting boldly because his situation was very desperate. He seemed to be pretending that really he was leading a much larger army. Jonathan knew that the most likely result of Saulís actions would be a terrible defeat for Israel. Only God could save Israel now, but Saul had no faith in God. God acts when people have faith (active belief and trust in God) - Hebrews 11:6.

Saul had no faith, but Jonathan was trusting God. Jonathan could not act in faith while he remained in Saulís camp. When Jonathan left the camp, Saulís army could not still protect him. However, Jonathan knew that Saulís army was much too weak to protect anyone. If Jonathan remained with them, he could only expect to die. It seemed much safer for Jonathan to trust God (Psalm 62:1-2). God can save his people, and he does not need a vast army to do it.

Jonathan believed that God would save Israel because of Godís covenant (special relationship) with Israel. That was why Jonathan described his enemies as Ďuncircumcisedí. That word describes a man who has not received the operation called circumcision. Circumcision is a medical operation where someone cuts a small piece of skin from the sex part of a man or boy. Israelís men and boys accepted this operation because of Godís covenant with Abraham (in other words, Godís promises to Abraham) in Genesis chapter 17. The mark showed that they belonged to God.

Next part: Evidence that Jonathanís faith was genuine (1 Samuel 14:7)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.