This is How I Fight My Battles (1 Samuel 14:1-14)
– Saul had an army of 3000. Johnathan, Saul’s son, took 1,000 soldiers and attacked and defeated a Philistine garrison. Saul took the credit for it before all of Israel, he wasn’t even there.
– The Philistines got angry and sent a large army of soldiers “as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude.” (This is the overwhelming power of the enemy, fighting against God’s people.)
– “When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger… they fled and hid in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, and pits.” (This is the humiliating retreat of God’s people, hiding in fear.)
– Pressed-in on all sides, only 600 of Saul’s soldiers remained with Saul. Everyone else bailed!
– As we heard in Pastor Matt’s sermon, instead of trusting God’s plan, Saul “felt compelled” to trust his own judgement, further dooming his people’s future. (Saul bailed on God.)
– The Philistines now have control, and don’t allow Israel to have blacksmiths, meaning they can’t make weapons for battle, or even sharpen the tools they need for farming. (They’re neutralized.)
– Only Saul and Jonathan had swords or weapons, or the means to lead the people into battle. If Saul won’t obey the Lord and carry out His plan, God will choose someone else to lead the people.
– Now in Chapter 14, Jonathan shows courage in overcoming great obstacles, and with God as his guide, and his armor bearer by his side, he takes the fight to the enemy.
– Read 1 Samuel 14:1-6
– Jonathan knows the power of the God he serves, even after the setback under Saul’s command.
– God made a promise to his people in ch. 12, “For the Lord will not forsake his people…”
– And 1 Samuel 12:24, Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.
– Jonathan does not know for sure yet what the outcome will be of his current battle, but he knows that by the Lord’s strength that the victory is possible. “It may be… Nothing restrains the Lord!”
– Exodus 15:2, The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
- A leader is only a leader if they have someone willing to follow them.
– Verse 7, So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”
– Jonathan’s armor bearer gives him blanket permission to lead him, even into battle, for 2 reasons:
- Positional authority. Jonathan is his boss. It’s his job to follow. It’s also biblical to do so.
– Romans 13:1-2, Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
– You can’t honestly say that you are serving and following God if you are rejecting the leaders that He has appointed over you. Your rebellion is against Jesus himself.
– But, Rank only gets you 100% of the minimum.
- Relationship. He trusts Jonathan because he knows his heart and has seen his example.
– He has worked beside him and knows him authentically. He cares. He is like family.
– Ultimately, he’s seen Jonathan’s selfless service to God, and the armor bearer trusts God.
– If you know your leader truly cares about you, then you will do anything you can to support their God given vision and mission, because it has become your vision and mission too.
– Imagine if YOU had a spiritual leader who was authentic and vulnerable with you, who sacrificed on your behalf, who gave of them self to make you better. Would you find it difficult to trust and submit to their leadership? I hope not.
– At work it is easy for you to submit to you boss (at least to their face, right) because you have to.
– At church we get to choose if we will submit to the body of believers and its leadership. The church and the pastors only have the authority over you that you are willing to give to them.
– Let me say it differently. How many times did you show up late for work last month? How about Church? Why do you think that is?
– Let me recommend a book for anyone serving in ministry: God’s Armor Bearer, by Terry Nance.
– This book will further illustrate what it looks like to be a follower after God’s own heart.
– God made us all different, so sometimes the leader will do things differently than you’d do it, but if the end result is building the Kingdom and souls being saved by Jesus, be willing to follow the plan.
– 1 Peter 5:6, Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
– James 4:6, “…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
– Did you notice that we don’t even know the armor bearer’s name? He fought the enemy too, right? He risked his life too. Why doesn’t he get any name recognition?
– The devil’s trap is getting us to focus on OUR own position, or receiving recognition for OUR work.
– Example: “Clutching hand trap”, used to catch raccoons. Something shiny that they really want in a hole too small for their clutched hand. They won’t let go, so they remain trapped.
– You have to be willing to let that thing go, or you will remain “trapped in the woods” forever.
– This brings division to the body, and it leaves our Leader’s back exposed to the enemy.
– Col. 3:23, And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
– You shouldn’t expect special recognition for doing your part for the body. This is your reasonable service, your mere obligation. It is the expectation. There is a reward waiting for you in heaven.
- This is what real leadership looks like. Read 1 Samuel 14:8-12
- Jonathan shares his vision and gets buy-in from his armor bearer. (verses 6-8) WE, not I.
- Jonathan first waits for confirmation from God BEFORE carrying out his plan. (verse 10)
- Then he boldly led the way, giving credit to the Lord and Israel, not himself.
– Verse 12 says, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hands of Israel.”
– This is contrasting with what we saw before, when Saul took credit for Jonathan’s victory.
– Of course Johnathan’s armor bearer recognized his rank and positional authority, but EVERY soldier recognized the rank of King Saul. It didn’t stop them from running when the battle came!
– King Saul was their highest earthly authority, but he was self-serving, so when the enemy approached, he received from his troops exactly what he gave them… nothing. They can’t trust him!
– If you want people to walk through fire with you, against all odds, for a transcendent cause that is greater than yourselves, you need more than a title, you need trust.
– Spiritually speaking, this isn’t any different than what we should be doing here in the army of God. We should stand shoulder to shoulder because we trust and serve the same God. (like vets do)
– THIS is the key to spiritual leadership: 1 Cor. 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Read John 13:3-8
– “knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands…” means that Jesus is the boss of everything, and he knows it.
– Washing their feet was literally the lowliest, most humble job He, or anyone, could do.
– Peter won’t let Jesus wash his feet, it seems like humility, but it’s really prideful and lacks trust.
– It’s not something Peter would ever do, and if he lets Jesus, his leader do this lowly thing, then that means that he might have to do it too someday, and that doesn’t fit with his vision of leadership.
– There is a quote I saw at Fire Station 18, “If service is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.”
– If you think “servant leadership” is an oxymoron, you should ask yourself how you really view those who serve you. Are they beneath you, or beside you?
Read John 13:12-15
– Jesus sets the example of true servant leadership. Leading IS serving.
- This is how I fight my battles. Read 1 Samuel 14:13-14
– Picture this: Jonathan shares his weapons with his armor bearer, climbing up and over the sharp rocks, and they fight across the land together, back to back.
– Jonathan cuts the enemy down, and as they pass, the armor bearer finishes them off.
– They are fulfilling the mission and vision together, giving the glory to God. Even if they are surrounded, they can protect each other’s blind spot!
– THIS is how WE fight our spiritual battles as a church! Not pushing ahead of our leader to receive the glory, but covering their back in service and humility. We need each other!
– We fight our battles by humbly being ready to serve, because lives depend on it!
– My last Example is this: 9 FF/PM to work a cardiac arrest. 9 warriors to save 1 life. What happens if only 2 or 3 show up when the call goes out? What will their chances be to save a life?
– What if the people in our church are not genuinely welcoming? Will anyone stay to hear the gospel message about our Savior?
– What if a mom can’t sit in service to here the gospel because there is not enough child care?
– What if a person walks up to give their life to Jesus, but I can’t find a deacon up here to pray with them? What does that tell this new believer about the body of Christ they are joining?
– Leaders need followers who will go into battle WITH them! Spiritual lives are hanging in the balance.
– If we are all following the same spirit and vision, then we can do great things for God as the body of Christ. We are all of “one heart” when we are born again, because we belong to Jesus. Our soul’s purpose must be united in the bride of Christ to fulfill the mission God has for us as a church.
– We fight our battles with PRAISE and THANKSGIVING to the one who shed His blood for us!
– Jesus Christ is the one who brings the victory. Without Him, nothing else matters.
– Jesus death on the cross forgave sins. His resurrection brings his children eternal life.
– Give your life to Jesus today, and join the battle!