Jonathan And His Armor Bearer

1 Samuel 14:1-5

“Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men. 3 Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.

4 Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a SHARP ROCK on one side and a SHARP ROCK on the other side. And the name of one was BOZEZ, and the name of the other SENEH. 5 The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah.”

(Jonathan and his armor bearer take on the Philistines.)

Ever feel like nothing is going right and God has forgotten you?  Is the grass looking a little greener on the other side of the fence?  You’re not alone.  The army of Israel was feeling just like that at this point in time. Those troublesome Philistines were at it again.

Jonathan Took Action.

Jonathan and his young armor bearer, however, were not satisfied with just sittin’ around and moping about it.  They left his father, King Saul, and the other troops, unbeknownst to the king.  They determined to go over to the Philistine garrison and defeat them in the name of The LORD!
If you go to Israel today, you can stand at Michmash and look down toward the deep wadi that Jonathan and his armor bearer crossed.  The picture below shoes just how steep and rocky the terrain was.  Not easy to negotiate.
(Wadi at Mickmash.)
Jonathan Trusted God.
Jonathan expressed his faith by declaring it to his armor bearer.  He recognized that the LORD is never limited by the lack of His people’s abilities, powers, or resources.  He didn’t look at the size of their problems; He saw the Problem Solver!

“SENEH,” one of the two sharp rocks mentioned above, means  “Thorn bush.”  The same word used here is used of Moses’ burning bush.  Thorns are a typology of the curse.  The Israelites were sure feeling like they were under the curse.  Bozezmeans “shining.”  To them, things were looking brighter on the other side.

It sure seems that way when circumstances are against you.  But God is NEVER against His people. He is always for us!

The two sharp rocks depict the Law, which is like a two-edged sword.  Jesus was judged by it and fulfilled all the Law in our place.

You’ll notice that Jonathan had with him his armor bearer.  He is unnamed. He is a picture of the Holy Spirit!

(Samuel tells Saul that his kingly line will end.)

King Saul.

Israel was under the leadership of King Saul who had just been told that his kingly line would end with him and be given to another. Well, he was sulking about it, of course.  More importantly, the Spirit of The LORD was no longer with him and he knew it.

In those days, because their sins were only covered, the Holy Spirit had to come and go.  These days, we are so blessed because He comes to live in us.  He never has to leave because our spirit man has been forever cleansed of sin.

Little Progress.

Not much headway was made against their enemies, the Philistines, as a result because of the sulking and the absence of the Holy Spirit.  He was just lazing around on the outskirts of his capital, Gibeah.

Covenant With God.

Jonathan, on the other hand, saw the Philistines for who they were:  Uncircumcised and having no covenant with God like they did.  Just like Israel, you and I have a covenant with God today.  Theirs was sealed by circumcision of their flesh, ours by circumcision of the heart.  Our enemies, who do not fear The Lord and are uncircumcised, DO NOT HAVE GOD ON THEIR SIDE.

Jonathan was not depending on the might of armies. He did not put any faith the flesh like his father. He had faith in God.

1 Sam 14:6
“6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

Many people see The Lord God as the holy and righteous One Who only judges sin.  He is all of that, yes.  But the revelation of The LORD that Jonathan had was of God as Savior:  As Y’shua!   That’s what The Name means-Savior!  He came to save. He came to give us victory over our enemies.

Amazing Grace

The LORD Gave The Victory!

1 Sam 14:9-10
“9 If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.”

Enemies never want to humble themselves. They always think they are better, smarter, higher…..whatever.  But we have something, or rather, Someone they don’t: The LORD of Hosts!

Come Up Higher!
Vs. 11-12
“11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden.” 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.”
Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.”

The Lord always wants us to go up higher. The best defense is offense.  Go. Attack your enemies.  The Lord is always with you.  Jonathan and his armor bearer went up on their hands and knees , a picture of prayer.  We are never taller than when we are on our knees.

One With God Is A Majority.

Vs. 14
“14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.”

Whoa!  There was 2 against 20!  But with God, that is a majority!  The gates of hell cannot prevail against us.  When we step out in faith, God will save us every day:  Salvation in our physical body, from depression, from worry, from stress or whatever we are facing.  No matter who or what our enemy, our God will save us from them all. Amen!

Great Earthquake.

Vs. 15-16
“15 And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. 16 Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there.”

Remember what happened the moment Jesus bowed His head and gave up His Spirit?  THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE!

Though the battle is the LORD’s, THE VICTORY IS OURS!

Because of their faith, all Israel was saved and had GREAT victory.

Flesh Vs. Spirit.
Saul, however, wanted to know disobeyed his orders and won this victory.  He, like all men of the flesh, do not understand men of the the spirit.  One trusts his own efforts; the other trusts in God.  People of the flesh will always persecute people of the spirit.  It is still happening today.

One of the big ways you can spot those of the flesh is that they are jealous and contentious toward those who are of the spirit.  They come against grace, which some refer to as “Easy believism.”  They do not know that they are really going against Jesus and the real gospel.
(King Saul foolishly wanted to punish his son.)

Legalism Causes Licentiousness.

Saul made up this ridiculous law that the people ended up transgressing at the end of the battle because they were so hungry.  That’s what legalism does:  IT CAUSES LICENTIOUSNESS.  Rather than doing what it’s proponents intend–to restrain the flesh–IT DOES THE EXACT OPPOSITE.  The strength of sin is the Law.

Discerning Vs, Knowing.

Grace, on the other hand, swallows all our sin.  It alone can produce holiness and teach us to live holy lives.  The Spirit does a much better job of helping of us to discern what is good and right for us.  “Discerning” is 180% different from “Knowing” good and evil.  Knowing presupposes an ability in ourselves to know the difference.  “Discernment” comes from The Lord.

After all that Jonathan and his armor bearer had done for the people and the great victory they had won, foolish old Saul wanted to kill his son for transgressing the dumb law he had made.  But the people rescued him.  They at least had the sense to know he had worked with God.


This entire story depicts our wonderful Jesus.  He, the “Shining One,” went down into the narrow, rocky valley where no one else could go.  By the way of the cross and the crown of “Seneh: Thorns,” He defeated all our enemies and won for us the GREATEST VICTORY OF ALL TIME!  He saved us all!

This story also tells a tale of the state of the end-time Church.  As it was in Jonathan’s day, so it is today.  We still see the flesly “Sauls” are coming against the Spirit-lead “Jonathan’s: Those who trust God.”  They don’t trust God and they don’t trust grace.

But those of us who do are like Jonathan and his Armor Bearer.

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