Last night, I was blissfully oblivious to my surroundings until my mom burst in, “There’s a police helicopter circling. They are announcing over the PA system that there was an armed robbery at Circle K and the thief is loose in this area!”
I peeked through my closed blinds and spotted two police cars right on our corner. There were more police cars with flashing lights at the end of the street. According to our online neighborhood forum, the police were patrolling the alleys with search dogs.
Our backyard is a cache of hiding places, so we sent our Doberman outside to stand guard. If this crook were to jump our fence, she could surely handle it, right?
Dobermans are notorious for being vicious guard dogs, but our dog missed that memo. We were expecting her to patrol the perimeter of our fence, growling fiercely. Instead, she stood lazily on our patio with a sleepy, confused expression on her face. Instead of protecting her home, she was thinking about going back to bed. Sleepy dog won over patrol dog that night. The moment we let her back inside, she tried to climb into bed with me.
Bella is 65 pounds of pure muscle and teeth. She was born to be a protector, but when thrown into the action, she missed her opportunity. This reminds me of the average Christian today. We may not be pure muscle and teeth, but we have been outfitted with an impressive suit of armor.
Ephesians 6:14-17 says, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”
Friends, we are in a war. Not the cacophony of strife and anger in the political and social realms, but a much deeper spiritual one. The strife and anger is only a result of a deep battle and divide. Our actions as individuals are a direct result of what we believe about God. 1 John 3:10 says, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”
As children of God, do our actions show our identity in Christ? Or do we, like Bella, cower when the battle arrives at our door?
While most believers scatter at the sight of danger, there are exceptions. In fact, some of God’s kids are proactive in searching for the battle!
One example would be Jonathan and his armor bearer. In 1 Samuel 14, the Israelites were faced with the looming Philistine army. Besides being outnumbered, Jonathan was the only Israelite who had a weapon. 1 Samuel 13:22 says, “So it came about, on the day of the battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.”
Despite the obvious problems, Jonathan was unconcerned by these seemingly impossible to overcome obstacles. He knew who his God was. 1 Samuel 14:6 says, “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 they struck out for the enemy camp and soon encountered opposition. Twenty Philistines rushed Jonathan and his armor bearer, and they killed all twenty of them in succession.
This was only the start of the miracle. 1 Samuel 14:15 recounts what happened next, “And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling.”
When the Israelite army finally appeared at the place of battle, they found a fight already ensuing. The befuddled Philistines were locked in full on war with each other!
No man could take credit for this victory, as verse 23 says, “So the Lord saved Israel that day,”
These two men set the victory in motion by their confidence in God. In order to see God work in our lives, we have to take the first step of faith. Jonathan knew how powerful his God was, and then he took definitive action on that belief. If God had not come through, Jonathan and his armor bearer would have died. Standing on faith, they took a risk, and God loves risk-taking faith.
When the terror comes, stand boldly. We are never alone. The same God who saved Israel is constantly with us. And because of that, we can live out our destiny, showing courage rather than cowardice.