Posted by: rcottrill | November 8, 2009

Lord’s Day Meditation – Power for the Weak

Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armour, “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 armour bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.” (I Sam. 14:6-7)

Nothing…by many or by few! What a tremendous statement of faith from Jonathan. Only one sword between them (I Sam. 13:33), climbing up toward the enemy (and thus exposed and vulnerable), and outnumbered at least ten to one, they were about to attack a garrison of the Philistines (I Sam. 14:4-15). But Jonathan showed great courage, because his confidence was in God. I wonder, did he have in mind Gideon’s great victory with 300 men against 135,000 Midianites (Jud. 7:1-25; cf. 8:10)?

Through most of my 40 years of ministry, with a couple of exceptions, I have worked with smaller congregations, smaller ministries. But the encouragement of this verse is that numbers are, in one sense at least, irrelevant! If we are doing the will of Almighty God, He can work through us to accomplish great things, whether we be many or few. Power-wise, we are in the majority, no matter what (cf. Rom. 8:31).

Jonathan’s victory that day was a gracious lesson to fearful Israel, and to us: That God delights to work through the smallest grain of daring faith in Him. Since Christians will always be in the minority, until the end of time, we need that kind of bold confidence in the Lord. Take courage from another passage: “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isa. 40:29).

This chapter in Isaiah contrasts God and man. The Lord is everything we are not. His power is infinite (vs. 8, 10, 22-24, 26, 28), while ours is feeble and inadequate. And this great God stands ready to help those who meet but two qualifications:

  • They are weak, and they know it (vs. 29)
  • They are waiting, looking up to God in faith (vs. 31).

Jonathan’s exploit, through faith in God, reminds me of Kitty Suffield’s challenging gospel song, Little Is Much When God Is in It.

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.

Little is much when God is in it!
Labour not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.

Does the place you’re called to labour
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.


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