Two ‘UNITED’ people plus GOD is a MAJORITY: 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." So his armorbearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart." (1 Sam. 14:6-7)
The battle of Israel against the Philistines was definitely stacked up in favor of the Philistines going by the sheer strength of the two armed forces. The Philistines had 30,000 chariots, 6000 horsemen, and people as numerous as the sand on the seashore (13:5). On the other side, the Israelites had a total army of 600 men (13:15) after many of the Israeli soldiers were distressed, fearful of the enemy attack, in hiding (13:6), and some had even deserted the battlefield (13:7). Added to Israel’s misery, only Saul and Jonathan had weapons of war to fight the battle (13:22).
In clarifying the concept of ‘counting the cost’, our Lord Jesus Christ has made the following observation: "...What king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace" (Luke 14:31-32). So, as a practical solution, the people of Israel under Saul and Jonathan should have surrendered to the mighty Philistine army!
Against such a backdrop, what Jonathan achieved with his armorbearer was truly remarkable! Jonathan’s name means ‘the Lord has given’ (13:22), and he was a true gift to both his father Saul and to the land of Israel. In fact, he was a brave fighter who along with his armorbearer won a resounding victory over Israel’s chief enemy, the Philistines.
When Jonathan saw that his father Saul was afraid to attack the Philistines, he slipped away with his armorbearer to attack the Philistines (14:1-3). This was not a foolish suicide mission, but actually Jonathan was looking to God to provide them a great victory. It also did not matter that there were only two of them against the mighty enemy forces as Jonathan’s confidence was: “…for nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few” (14:6). Bigger was not necessarily better, and more was not necessarily more significant. As Jonathan told his armorbearer, God does not depend on large numbers to accomplish His will…!!!
Jonathan’s combat strategy was formulated in terms of waiting for the proper sign of divine approval as his faith was based upon his knowledge that Jehovah as the ‘Lord of hosts’ was a saving God. He knew that his God would save His people, for He had done it in the past. The faith evidenced by Jonathan (v. 6) and his armorbearer (v. 7) was all God needed to deal with the Philistines. This same kind of faith in God as being able to save is required of us today as well. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).
Jonathan’s faith in God was soon rewarded. As soon as the Philistines said “come up to us…” (14:12), Jonathan and his armorbearer climbed up to their garrison, and killed twenty Philistines on the first round of battle (14:13-14). As the Philistine survivors fled, God sent an earthquake which caused great confusion in the Philistine camp (14:15). When Saul and his small army arrived, the Philistines were killing each other due to the confusion that God had created among them (14:20). Saul’s army was soon joined by the Hebrews dwelling among the Philistines (14:21) along with the remaining Israeli army in hiding (14:22), and these combined forces won a huge victory for Israel (14:23).
That should come as an encouragement to us if we are few in our community or family who are serving God. As God has revealed to us through Jonathan’s exploits that He can and will accomplish significant things through any person who trusts Him, is committed wholeheartedly to honoring Him, and is willing to be used by Him. Let us never overvalue size, but always remember that God accomplishes great things through a small number of people who put their hope and trust in Him. Two united people plus God is a majority for any spiritual battle!