1 Samuel (1989)

1 Samuel 14
April 9, 1989

This was Pastor Dave’s first message, given on April 9, 1989, recorded at Calvary Chapel of Mira Mesa, San Diego, California.

And nobody noticed, and you never got recognized for it, and you wish that everybody in the world had seen it and came up and slapped you on the back and said what a good job you’ve done. How many of you have ever experienced that in life? Good. This message is about that very thing: about a man who did something very great, and his name isn’t even mentioned. No one knows anything about him. All we know about him is he’s young and he’s got a position, and he did something very great.

Also, how many of you have ever done rock climbing? Yeah, a few. I know Steve. [Indiscernible]. I’ve done some rock climbing – uh, a very dangerous sport. And we’re going to find that our lives, today, in the way we live, is like climbing rocks. Let’s pray.

Father, in Jesus’ name, we thank You and praise You for Your love. We thank You for Your strength. We thank You because You help us to accomplish the things in life without the recognition, without the notice. I would just ask, Lord, that You would let Your Words come forth now and help me to deliver this the way You would have it delivered, in Jesus’ name.

We’re going to turn to I Samuel 14. It says, “Now, a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash. One day, Jonathan, son of Saul, said to the young man bearing his armor, ‘Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side,’ but he did not tell his father.

Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about 600 men, among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother, Ahitub son of Phineas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh.”

That whole thing is simply saying that he was a priest.

“On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff. One was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.

“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 said. ‘Go ahead. I am with you, heart and soul.’

“Jonathan said, ‘Come, then. We will cross over toward the men and let them see us. If they say to us, “Wait there until we come to you,” we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, “Come up to us,” we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.

“So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. ‘Look,’ said the Philistines, ‘the Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.’ The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor bearer, ‘Come up to us, and we’ll teach you a lesson.’

“So Jonathan said to his armor bearer, ‘Climb up after me. The Lord has given them into our hands.’

“Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer followed and killed behind him. In the first attack, Jonathan and his armor bearer killed some 20 men in an area of about a half an acre.

“Then panic struck the whole army – those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties – and the ground shook. There was a panic sent by God.”

First, you’ve got to understand, there’s a little background here. Jonathan was a son of Saul, who was a king of Israel, the very first king. Right after Saul had become king, Jonathan was allotted 1,000 men, and he went out and he attacked a Philistine garrison. This made the Philistines mad, so they came out after Saul and Jonathan and the army of Israel. At that point, there were 3,000 men. Saul had 2,000; Jonathan had 1,000. At this point, we hear, there’s only 600 men left. In the chapters before, it says that when the Philistines came out, there were thousands and thousands of them, and Israel – Israel’s legs quaked with fear, and the men just sort of slumped away, went into the rocks, went into holes in hiding, and many of them just went across the river back into Israel. They were terrified of what was happening to them. Many times in our lives, we come across situations that we’re terrified of. God will bring something to us, and we start quaking, and we want to run.

Jonathan is a troublemaker. I like troublemakers; I’m sort of a troublemaker, myself. I’m – I like stirring up trouble. Well, you’d think after Jonathan had gone out and started all this trouble, that he would’ve learned his lesson. The Philistines are already mad at him. But now, just the next chapter, Jonathan’s at it again. But he doesn’t have his thousand men this time. He doesn’t have a great army backing him up.

And it says that he asked his armor bearer to come with him. He and his armor bearer, “We’re going to just go out and check out these Philistines.” Didn’t tell his armor bearer anything about, “Well, we’re going to go and slaughter thousands of men. We’re going to go out and do a great ministry for God.” “We’re going to go out and just check them out.”

They didn’t tell his father. There’s a few reasons why Jonathan didn’t tell his father. One thing, he’s already got himself into a lot of trouble by stirring up a hornet’s nest, and it says that Saul was in hiding. I look at this, and I see that Saul, in this situation, represents, today, religiousness. The church in general. People who go to church, who never get involved, who, when they hear – when someone asks them, “Hey, let’s go out witnessing on Friday night,” “Oh no, wait, we can’t do that. I’ve got this to do,” or, “I’ve go that to do,” and they run into hiding. Saul was a coward, and it’s shown many times throughout Scripture that he preferred hiding than trusting God and fighting. So Jonathan says to his armor bearer, “Let’s go, and let’s not tell Dad. He would not approve.”

This message is about the armor bearer. It says about him that he was young. Jonathan wasn’t all that old. Saul was 30 when he became king and so, when he became king, he was a king for 40 years – just more than 40 years. So Jonathan was born in that time period. But Jonathan, at this point, is probably in his early 20s. Okay, that makes his armor bearer probably younger than him; maybe his early teens. We’re talking about a young man who has developed a relationship with his leader, that his leader trusted him enough to come to him alone and say, “Follow me. Let’s go out and check out these uncircumcised people.” And the armor bearer followed.

They left the camp. They came to this pass. And I look at this, I imagine this pass, a hundred-foot cliff on either side, and they’re looking inside the pass, and Jonathan stops, and he says, “Do we want to go on from here?” At every point, if you read this passage, Jonathan consulted his armor bearer. He never forced him, he never twisted his arm, he never stuck a sword in his back. He consulted him and said, “Should we go on from here?” and waited for his armor bearer to agree. And his armor bearer, in every circumstances, because he was right there, agreed to be with him.

There’s something else you’ve got to understand, too. I’m going to read another part here, just before 14. It says, “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, ‘Otherwise, the Hebrews will make swords or spears.’ So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares and mattocks and axes and sickles sharpened. The price was 2/3 a shekel for sharpening plowshares and mattocks, and 1/3 of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads. So on the day of the battle, not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or a spear in his hand. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.”

Now we’re finding out that this armor bearer was unarmed! Jonathan alone had the weapon. An armor bearer – at this point, armor that they had with them consisted of a leather shield, probably a leather or a brass helmet, and a thick leather breastplate and backplate. That’s what they used as armor at this particular point in time. And this is what the armor bearer would carry around for whoever he was supporting.

So we know that this man was carrying Jonathan’s armor. Comes out, now he’s presented with these cliffs, and said, “Let’s wait here and see what God will do.” Says, “Let’s show ourselves to the Philistines. If they say, ‘Come up,’ we’ll climb up. If they say, ‘Stay there,’ we’ll stay here and wait and see what the Lord does.” Jonathan was testing to see what the Lord would do. Which is okay sometimes – for us to say, “Lord, what do You want to do? If You do it this way, then I know that You’re in it. If You do it this way, then we’ll have to see where else You’ll direct me.” And that’s what Jonathan was saying in this particular point.

Jonathan stepped out, and his armor bearer stepped out with him. It wasn’t, “Oh, Jonathan, you go do that. You go do it. I’ll wait here for you, and, you know, just in case they have bow and arrows. You know, we don’t want, we don’t want spears coming down on top of us, so you go do that.” No, it wasn’t anything like that. It says, “Jonathan and his armor bearer stepped out together and exposed themselves. The Philistines yelled down and made fun of them and said, ‘Come on up here. We’ll teach you a thing or two.’ And then Jonathan said, ‘Let’s climb up; the Lord’s given them into our hands.’ And they climbed up, and they killed 20 men in about a space of a half an acre. That’s a pretty small space of time.

This armor bearer is much like us. It doesn’t mention his name. It doesn’t give his age. Again, I’m assuming that he is in his mid-teens. Young, has no weapon, but is following a man that he admires. I’ve already said that Saul represents religiousness. Jonathan, to me, right now, represents the Holy Spirit, the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Many times, the Holy Spirit will put something on our heart, and we start quaking, and we want to run and hide. And we say, “No, Lord, we can’t do that. That’s too hard,” or, “Oh, gosh, Lord, I’m not worthy to do that for You. I can’t do that for You.” Let me ask you, how many of you have ever had your mother say, “I would like for you to go clean your room.” Try this with her someday; parents, wait for your kids to say this to you someday: “Oh, Mom, I’m not worthy to clean my room for you.” It doesn’t work! God wants to lead us so that we’ll grow and be strong, just like He gives us small tasks around the home, as we’re growing up, as we’re kids, as we’re teenagers, as we’re young adults. He gives us tasks to do. And when we say we’re not worthy, it’s just like telling our mom we’re not worthy to clean our room. Bologna. We can clean our room, and we can follow the Lord. There’s no task too great that the Holy Spirit cannot lead us through.

It says that Jonathan stepped up on the cliff first, and it indicates he climbed hand and foot. This was not an easy task. This was a tall, hard cliff. He used his hands, he used his feet. Life is not easy for us sometimes. The Lord does not call us always to easy tasks. We have to climb cliffs, we have to climb rocks that sometimes look very dangerous, look very hard. As we were being shared with, going into Russia – Maria and I had a desire to do that one time when we were in YWAM, and they told us of the dangers of smuggling and getting caught and being in Russia. Many people look at it as that. But we’ve heard of Brother Andrew’s ministries, and we’ve heard of a lot of miracles, and we’ve seen how God can work and move in a life.

But the work can be hard. There’s a lot of mundane things, a lot of small task that go along with any big job. You’ve got to walk to the cliff, first. You’ve got to survey the cliff. You’ve got to step out and see what response the enemy’s going to have to you before you even approach him. Jonathan already said, “If they say, ‘Wait there. We’ll come down to you,’” that they would wait and see what the Lord was going to do then. You just don’t jump into things. You pray it through.

This indicates to me that this armor bearer had close relationship with Jonathan, to trust everything that he was doing. Especially for that response. I love this response: “‘Do all that you have in mind,’ his armor bearer said. ‘Go ahead. I am with you, heart and soul.’” How many of us have said that to the Lord this last week? How many of have said this to the Lord in the last year? “Do all that You have in mind, Lord. I am with you, heart and soul.” None of us are excluded. Kids, teenagers, adults, none of us are excluded from saying to the Lord, “Lord, what would You have me to do?” He’ll give us, some, small tasks. And I can guarantee you, if you do small tasks for the Lord, you’re not going to always be recognized for it. People aren’t going to see you. People aren’t going to notice you. Your name may never be mentioned. There’s lots of things the Lord has us do that we’re never recognized for. I know so many people who will not serve the Lord because they do not get the recognition. Their name does not show up in the bulletin. The principal of the school doesn’t say, “Well lookit, there’s Joey. He’s one of our greatest athletes. He’s the one that’s on [indiscernible],” you know? Many of us don’t do things because we’re not recognized for it. We’re not noticed. It’s too mundane. We want to do the great things, or we want to do the things that are noticed.

Here was a man that said, “I don’t care that I may never get mentioned in history.” He’s known as the armor bearer. The young armor bearer. But apparently Jonathan loved him. And apparently Jonathan saw great hope in this man. This guy had great courage. Because it says he climbed up after Jonathan.

Jonathan went first. I think I would’ve tended to say, “Jonathan, let me go first, just in case you fall. I don’t want to get crunched.” But Jonathan said, “I’m going first, so that if we get up to the top, and there’s a sword up there ready to lop off my head, it’ll be me, not you.” You know, we can trust the Holy Spirit that way. We can trust the Lord to go before us, to take the brunt of anything the enemy can throw at us. Sure, we’ll be affected. We’ll be tired. We’ll be hot. You better believe, climbing rocks is hard work, and it can be terrifying sometimes. Steve and I – my good friend that’s here today with me – we climbed some rocks one time. I’m a lot bigger, big hands, I’m heavy. We got up on the side of this rock. I did not think I could make it. I mean, I had about 50 feet below me, and I had about 20 feet above me. And he was finding these little bitty cracks in the side of the rock and he was just going right on up like it was the easiest thing in the world. And here I am stuck, spread out, “Okay, Steve, where do I go next?” And we find ourselves like that, clinging to the side of rocks, when we’ve finally said, “Okay, Lord, I’ll follow You,” and then you think, “Lord, why are You leaving me out here on this rock? It’s too hard!” And we want to quit. Well, believe me, it was easier to go the next 20 feet up than it was to go the 50 feet down. There would have been a lot harder landing at the bottom. And I knew I had to make it. And when we start serving the Lord, it’s better to keep going forward. It’s better to see what the Holy Spirit is going to do than to chicken out and try to climb back down. Many times, we try to climb back down, and we end up falling. You never get the same grips, the same handholds, find the same rocks on the way back down. So it’s better to explore and trust the Lord and go up.

Apparently these Philistines – it was – it must’ve been a hard climb, because they had forgotten about Jonathan and this armor bearer. Because it seems to me that if 20 of them were slaughtered when they got up to the top, that they had been quite surprised. I don’t think they believed that Jonathan and this armor bearer were going to attempt this climb up this cliff to come after them. They were laughing about it, probably sitting in this camp talking about these two young jerks down here at the bottom of the cliff thinking they’re going to threaten them.

We can panic the enemy today. Satan is on the run. God is doing a work. This is the End Time, and we need to be prepared. We need to search our hearts and say, “Lord, what would You have me to do? I don’t care if I’m ever recognized. I don’t care if anybody ever notices but You. Because I know You’re watching, and I know You’re leading, and as long as You’re there, I’m willing to be there with You. Do all that You have in mind, Lord. I’ll climb that cliff with You. I’ll get to the top with You. And I’ll be there with You in the battle.” The armor bearer didn’t stop at the top of the cliff, take off the armor, and sit down and watch. He went into the battle, too. Unarmed. He says, “Okay Jonathan, you’ve got the sword. You go kill the first man. I’ll pick up his sword and then I’ll come right behind you.” He was a man that waited on the Lord, he trusted that Jonathan would do his job and not disappoint him, and there was a great, great victory for Israel that day.

It says that after – later on in the chapter – after this panic struck the Philistines, after God came in and panicked them because Jonathan had the guts and this armor bearer had the guts to stand up and do something that no man would’ve ever done. I can see Saul now: “No, Son, don’t go do that. We’re in enough trouble as it is. You’re just going to get them mad at us again. You can’t do that; you’re too young. Wait! You’ve got an unarmed armor bearer! What do you expect to accomplish with that?” We may hear those excuses from people around us when we say, “We want to go out as a missionary. We want to preach the gospel. We want to go help homeless people.” You’ll hear all kinds of things thrown at you why you cannot do it. Sometimes it’s better to not tell anybody, and just trust the Lord and go do it. Get the job done for the Lord and don’t worry about who knows about it.

I think that we need to give this armor bearer a name. I would like to recognize him today. Let’s give him Rocky’s name. Or what about Dean? Chuck – that’s a good name. Maria. Doesn’t say that it has to be a boy. Just says “the armor bearer,” right? How many of us would like to put our name in that slot? I know I do. I know that I would like to serve the Lord. I know that I would like to be usable by God. And I don’t care that anybody ever notices. Let’s pray.

Father, I thank You for Your word. Thank You for what You can share with our hearts. Lord, this message was very special to me, because You spoke to me in so many ways over the last week. You’ve showed me so many things: that even though life seems insignificant, even though our jobs seem so mundane, if we’re serving You, if we’re trusting You, You can bring great victories, no matter where we’re at. No matter how hard the cliff seems to climb, no matter how dangerous it might appear to share the gospel with someone, Lord, You’re there, and if we’ll trust You, You’ll go before us, You’ll lead us, You’ll help us to climb, You’ll be our support, and You’ll bring great victory. I praise You, Lord Jesus. I would just ask that You would touch hearts in this room today, that You would show these men and women that they can trust You. Your children, Lord. They can obey You when You ask them to do things for You. That we don’t have to have the excuses, Lord. We don’t need to run and hide from You. Go with us today. In Jesus name, amen.