1 Samuel Series #6

“Spiritual Battle Plans” — 1 Samuel 14:6-14

i.   introduction

A.  Gulf War

1.     During the Gulf War a few years ago, a name rose to prominence that most people had never heard before = General Norman Schwartzkoff

2.     Each day, as we watched the news, we would see daily briefings from Saudi Arabia, and often Schwartzkoff would do them

3.     He was the commanding general in charge of the entire operation of Desert Shield and then Desert Storm

4.     The reason Schwartzkoff was picked for this position was because a couple years before, the Pentagon had asked for several generals to develop a detailed strategy for how to deal with just such an event in the Middle East

5.     Schwartzkoff’s plan was accepted as the best

6.     When Iraq invaded Kuwait and President Bush began to move for United Nations actions against Kuwait, the Pentagon got out their strategy papers and called for Schwartzkoff

7.     As we look back now, we can see that Desert’s Shield and Storm were brilliant plans

a.      a large and well equipped army was defeated

b.     with a minimal lose of life to the United Nations forces  

c.      as well, with the recent defections of two of Saddam Hussein’s closest advisor’s and military leaders,

d.     it has become clear that at the time of Desert Storm, Iraq was just a couple months away from producing a nuclear bomb

8.     It was part of Schwartzkoff’s strategy to not only defeat Iraq’s military, but to cripple her extensive biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons development industries - WE DID!

B.  Having A Plan

1.     You know, having a plan for battle in warfare is absolutely essential

2.     Without a plan, you are doomed to failure and defeat

3.     Paul is very clear in the book of Ephesians that we are engaged in spiritual warfare

4.     Our adversary is the demonic realm - and you can be sure they have a battle plan

5.     You see, just like a regular war, the spiritual war we are engaged in is comprised of many battles

6.     And our adversary has lots and lots of experience

a.      they have been battling humans for generations; for centuries, even for millennia!

b.     they know what strategy to use at any given point to bring about our downfall

7.     But we are not without help

8.     In fact, let me say this—we are even assured of victory: If we will but follow the strategy for spiritual warfare given us in the Scriptures

9.     In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God and then describes what it is

10. But in the book of Samuel we are given some great insight in how to fight

ii.  text

A.  A Review of the Situation

{1}  Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.

{2} And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men.

{3} Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.

{4} Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.

{5} The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah.

1.     As we saw last week, Jonathan, Saul’s son had led an attack on a Philistine outpost and defeated it

2.     In retaliation, and to put down the Israelite rebellion once and for all, the Philistines assembled their entire army and moved into Israelite territory

3.     Before they attacked, they dug in and set up strong positions from which to launch their armies

4.     Saul only had about 600 men left of his army; the rest had fled and gone into hiding

a.      he moved back from the front lines to the village of Gibeah

b.     and there he waited

5.     But his son Jonathan was on the front lines, just across from the Philistine garrison at Michmash

6.     Michmash was the center of the Philistine line

a.      it lies at the end of a 12 mile long valley that stretches from the Jordan to the central highlands of Israel

b.     it ends in a very narrow slit

c.      with sharp cliffs on the north and the south

d.     these cliffs are separated by only a few yards

e.      on the north cliff lay the village of Michmash and the Philistines

f.       while on the south cliff was the little burg of Geba and Jonathan with his armorbearer

7.     One day, while the Philistines were finishing their preparations for attacking Israel, Jonathan looked over at Michmash and got an idea . . .

B.  Vs. 6-7

{6} 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.”

1.     This was not some whim on Jonathan’s part!

2.     As he sat at Geba and looked across to Michmash he waited and wondered what the Lord was gong to do in helping His people

3.     He pondered how God would bring deliverance to his people

4.     And no doubt as he sat there and meditated on God, a promise from Joshua came to mind

5.   {Josh 23:10}  “One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.”

6.   He remembered how last time the Philistines had attacked Israel, God had fought them from heaven with thunder and lightening while Israel was worshipping Him

7.As he sat there and thought about all these things, he realized that God doesn’t really need an army—

8.     He just needs one or two who will believe Him, and trust in Him for the victory

9.     Truly friends, God can save by many—or by few

10. It is not the number that hinders the hand of God

11. What hinders God is a lack of faith

12. Whether there is a thousand or one, it doesn’t matter

13. What matters is in what they each put their confidence

14. God can as easily work through one as through a thousand

15. What He is looking for is not the quantity of people, but the quality of their faith

 

16. We face tremendous challenges today

a.      whether we’re talking about resisting the decay of morality in our nation

b.     or battling corrupt officials

c.      or dealing with unjust situations at work

d.     or simply that daily battle we all face as we seek to walk with the Lord in the midst of a fallen world

17. We don’t need vast numbers to be victorious—We simply need to put our trust in God!

18. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few;

19. IF, as Jonathan demonstrated here, there is confident faith in the power of God to work

{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.”

20. In ancient warfare, major warriors had attendants who carried their extra weapons into battle

21. Jonathan was second in command to his father Saul, and so he would have one of these armor bearers

22. Wherever Jonathan went, the armor bearer went with him

23. When Jonathan expressed his thoughts to his armor bearer, he encouraged him and said he would stay by his side

24. People of faith like Jonathan need the encouragement of others who are like minded

25. And God will often bring such people together to accomplish His work

a.      he births in them a common vision and gives them the ability to see it unfolding before it ever does

b.     He unites their hearts and forms them into a tight knit group

c.      and from their common vision, He brings His plan to fulfillment

26. We need to encourage each other as we share with each other the direction the Lord is leading us in our individual lives

27. Our culture is so obsessed with individualism that the idea of community and unity round a single vision is all but extinct

28. But one of the most powerful distinctives of Christianity is the idea of the community of faith—

a.      of people submerging their own selfish interests in the more noble pursuit of the things of the Kingdom of God

b.     of people working together for things which are eternal

29. I must tell you that I am so excited when I think about what God is doing here at Calvary Chapel in Oxnard

a.      He has given us a vision for what He wants to do in the Oxnard Plain

b.     He has assembled a group of people who have a mind to work together to see that vision unfold

c.      we come from different backgrounds, ages, cities

d.     but we know this bond of unity that overcomes all our differences and moves us to encourage one another to keep on following the Lord together

C.  Vs. 8-10

{8} Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them.

{9} “If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them.

{10} “But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.”

1.     Jonathan came to the decision of attacking Michmash after meditating on the Lord

2.     He believed it was the leading of the Lord and was encouraged by the support of his armor bearer

3.     But here we see him taking an important step of confirming the leading of the Lord

4.     He sets a test

a.      the two would drop down from their cliff to the south and cross the narrow gully to the base of the northern cliff

b.     when the lookouts saw them, Jonathan and his friend would wait to see what they said

c.      if the Philistines said, “We’re coming to get ya’,” they would know that they should just stand their ground and wait

d.     but if the Philistines said, “Hey boys, come on up here,” then they would know God intended to deliver them into their hands

5.     Now, there something very important revealed here

6.     While Jonathan believed he was being led by the Lord, he wisely sought confirmation from God

a.      I realize some people might see this as a lack of faith

b.     I don’t - I see it as a wise move

c.      it still would take a tremendous amount of faith to climb up that cliff and attack the Philistines

d.     the wisdom in this comes from the fact that Jonathan knew that there is a  difference between faith and presumption

e.      how could he know for certain that the idea to attack Michmash was really the leading of the Lord and not merely his own desire to be brave or to attain fame in Israel?

f.       it isn’t always easy sorting out the motivations of our hearts; easy to deceive ourselves

g.      so Jonathan asks the Lord for a sign to confirm His leading

h.      we can, and I believe should do the same

i.        very simply, if we believe the Lord is leading us in some new direction, we can ask Him to work in the circumstances to confirm His will

j.       this doesn’t take away from faith; we will still have to step out and trust God

k.     but we will be safeguarded from mistaking faith and mere presumption

D.  Vs. 11-14

{11} So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden.”

{12} Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.” Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the LORD has delivered them into the hand of Israel.”

{13} And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them.

1.     When they got over to the foot of the northern cliff, the lookouts saw them and called to them —

2.     Literally, they said, “Come up here so we can teach you a thing or two.”

3.     Meaning of course that they would kill them

4.     But Jonathan just turned to his friend and said, “Let’s go. The victory is already ours!”

5.     Now, notice that!

a.      on the surface, the words of the Philistines were intimidating

b.     they were even insulting

c.      “Look, they Hebrews are climbing out of their holes, the worthless cowards.”

d.     and of course their invitation to come up was backed by iron weapons which Israel did not have

e.      on the surface, the words of the Philistines were intimidating in the extreme

f.       but Jonathan didn’t take them that way

g.      why? Because he saw them as confirmation of the Lord’s will to deliver them into Jonathan’s hand

6.     Friends, we must not become disheartened by the threats and mockery of this world

a.      it may seem like the modern day Philistines are well dug in and are armed with formidable weapons

b.     it may seem like we are horribly outnumbered and our gunned

c.      but let’s never forget that one, with God, is always the majority

d.     and one, who trusts in God can chase a thousand while two can put 10,000 to flight

e.      let them mock / let them scorn / let them taunt / let them rattle their swords & spears

f.       the poor buggers - because of the faithfulness and of God to His people, the enemies of God don’t have a chance

7.     So Jonathan climbed up the hill and began to swing away

8.     As he did, the enemy fell

9.     Then along came the armor bearer who finished them off as they lay on the field

{14} That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.

10. The next verses tell us that this threw the Philistines into confusion and disarray so that they panicked and ran

11. And once again, Israel was delivered from her enemies!

iii.conclusion

A.  The Journey

1.     I used to live and work  up in the Bay Area

2.     Once a month I drove from my home in San Jose to Monterey for work

3.     On the way I passed a place that was a nationally protected site where the Monarch butterfly hatches 

4.     Each year millions of these butterflies make an annual migration from Monterey to a remote mountain in central Mexico.

5.     No one knows how the Monarchs find their way to this mountain

6.     Each new generation that migrates has never been there before. 

7.     Something programmed into their tiny bodies directs them to a place they have never seen, but which they somehow know they must find.

8.     These butterflies are one more example of God's creatures being drawn along by the mind of their Creator. 

9.     They also illustrate how the Christian life is a journey that we each must make without having been there before

10. We are all learning as we go

11. But like the Monarch, the Holy Spirit reveals to us the mind of God if we will but listen

12. As we listen, and as we hear His direction and counsel, we step out in faith and trust in Him

B.  The Battle

1.     Sometimes the journey of faith means entering in to battle against apparently unbeatable foes

2.     At such times, we need the faith of Jonathan

3.     Nothing restrains the Lord from moving by many or by few!