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Jeremiah 17:7-8 spells out these blessings reserved for those who put their confidence in God saying, "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
- It does not fear when heat comes;
- its leaves are always green.
- It has no worries in a year of drought
- never fails to bear fruit.
King Saul’s son, Jonathan, had the utmost faith in God. He was fed up with the Philistines continually oppressing his people, the Israelites. Though the Philistines greatly outnumbered the Israelites, and had superior weaponry, Jonathan knew something needed to be done, and the sooner the better. So Jonathan suggested to his armor bearer that they go over to the Philistine camp and attack them.
It was a given that the odds were greatly against them, however, Jonathan reasoned, “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6) Jonathan was confident that God could wipe out the Philistines whether they were attacked by two Israelites or twenty thousand. It didn’t matter that the odds were against Israel. God was bigger than the odds. And because God was for Israel, if anyone was outnumbered it was the Philistines.
Chuck Smith exclaims, “I love this logic. God doesn’t need people at all, so if He is for us, He doesn’t need the whole army to win His battles. It’s no problem for God to work with many or with few. We just need God to work.”1
Notice that Jonathan and his armor bearer went up to the Philistines before they received confirmation from the Lord that they were to fight them. To know for sure if God wanted to use them to take out the Philistines, Jonathan told his armor bearer, "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." (1 Samuel 14:8-10)
As soon as the Philistines called to Jonathan and his armor bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson." Jonathan had no doubt God was going to miraculously give him and his armor bearer the victory. And sure enough, just as Jonathan believed, God used Jonathan and his armor bearer to wipe out an impressive number of Philistines.
Regarding Jonathan stepping out in faith, Chuck Smith goes on to say, “To me that is exciting, and I do it all the time. I step out in faith to see what God might want to do. I love it. Sometimes I find out that God doesn’t want to do something. That’s all right, too. But there are those times when God does want to do something exciting; and I love making myself available, just in case it is one of those times.”
What are you up against today? Are you feeling discouraged by the odds against you? Prayerfully consider taking a step out in faith today, trusting God to do an amazing work in your circumstances. Whether God does a noticeable work or not, by stepping out in faith, you are sure to be blessed (Jer. 17:7-8) Whenever I need a nudge to help me take that first step, I am always encouraged and inspired by those listed in Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith, whose godly examples all began with a single step of faith. Every time I read of all those examples of faith, I am so grateful that each person mentioned in Hebrews 11 chose to take that first, all-important step of faith. Not only did stepping out in faith change their life, but it's changed ours too. That's what faith can do.
P.S. An incredible book on faith that I've read and love is Chuck Smith's, "Faith."
Check it out. You'll love it!
1. Smith, Chuck. The Word For Today Bible, © 2005 Thomas Nelson, pg. 367.
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