That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Restraint

This Scripture passage was a great encouragement to me when I read it a few days ago.

I Samuel 14:6-7
And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncirumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.  And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with the according to thy heart.

The chapter goes on to describe the amazing victory that Jonathan and the armourbearer had.  Jonathan's statement in verse 6 was what encouraged me "... for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few."  

When I read that the first thing I thought of was, I am part of that few.  When you're out in the world trying to live like a Christian, you realize just how much a part of the "few" you really are!  Sometimes even amongst other so-called Christians I still feel like the "few."  Two things struck me about this verse.  First, was the faith of Jonathan.  His faith was completely in the Lord.  The circumstances around him were completely hopeless.  There were just two guys against an army of thousands.  The same army that Goliath came out of!  But God is bigger than the circumstances.  Second, was the fact that there is NO restraint with God.  He really can save how He chooses.  God is not limited by earthly circumstances.   God is bigger than the Philistines, bigger than Jonathan, bigger than the armourbearer, and bigger than the armies of Israel.  God could have saved Israel through the whole army, but he chose to use Jonathan and his armourbearer.  

Then I thought, why did God choose to use Jonathan and the armourbearer?   He used Jonathan because of his unreserved and complete faith in God.  Doubt, fear, and hesitation were not words that were part of Jonathan's vocabulary.  God used the armourbearer because of his faith as well, but also because of his unquestioning support and loyalty to Jonathan.  God uses people of faith and people who are submitted and surrendered not only to Him, but also to the godly leaders He puts in their lives.

It's interesting to note where Saul (the one who should have been out fighting the Philistines because after all, he was the king!) was during this time.  In verse 2 we find him sitting under a pomegranate tree.  Because of his inaction he lost credit for the victory.  Later on he even tries to kill Jonathan, but the army of Israel comes to his rescue because he had won the victory over the Philistines.  Saul had the same God Jonathan did, but he didn't have the same faith in God.  Saul's lack of faith resulted in inaction during a time he should have been taking action.  Because of that he lost the honour and the blessing of winning the victory.  The credit for the defeat of the Philistines was rightfully his because he was the king, but God doesn't use people who sit around waiting for something to happen.  I wonder how many blessings we have lost because our lack of faith resulted in inaction?

If you are part of the few then this Scripture passage is for you too :).  I love the promise that God CAN save how He chooses, and how this story shows He WILL save!  Sometimes being the few can be discouraging, but just remember "... there is no restraint with the Lord!"  Two people defeated a mighty army that day.  Just think of what God could do today with a few people who have faith like Jonathan and someone to support them like the armourbearer.  I know I want to be part of that victory!

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