Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 13:1-22, 1 Samuel 14:1-52, Numbers 18:7, Acts 13:21-23
If I had my druthers, I would stick to what’s safe and comfortable.
When God put it on my heart to homeschool, I gave a thousand reasons why it wouldn’t work. Mostly I doubted my ability to do the job well—and our kids were only in first grade and pre-K. But despite my initial doubts, those early years turned out to be fruitful in numerous ways, not only for them, but for our family as a whole.
Still, imagine my angst when high school neared. Yes, God had been faithful, but this was the big leagues now. The stakes were higher, and my own inadequacies might hamper their options for the future. Yet, as I write, our youngest has graduated from our homeschool and will be joining her brother at a wonderful university. Once again, God showed Himself faithful throughout the high school journey.
My propensity to stick with safety and comfort has reached well beyond homeschooling. Whenever I’ve sensed God’s call to embrace a new challenge, I’m never short on reasons why it won’t work. Or why I can’t do it. Or why I might be hearing God wrong altogether. In truth, I can identify with the King Saul we see in 1 Samuel 13 and 14.
Though Saul had been given the Spirit of God, and had once called men valiantly to battle, his courage was diminished. The Philistines were an ever-present threat, occupying territory in Israel, and Saul seemed content to lay low. Perhaps if the Israelites didn’t kick up any dust and cause trouble, the Philistines would leave them be. Despite the power God had made available to him, Saul took to playing it safe.
In stark contrast, his son Jonathan embraced the challenge. Though the Philistines were superior in number and in weaponry, Jonathan went after them with just one other man. He said, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6).
Who puts themselves in a position to see God fight for them? Whose trust is that deep? God rewarded Jonathan’s faith, causing several Philistine men to fall and sending an earthquake that caused trembling in the camp.
What stops us from trusting like that? As believers in Christ, we are indwelled by the Spirit of God, His infinite power and might. We are armed with the promises of God, among them being His promise to be with us, His promise to establish His purposes in our lives, and His promise to be faithful, always. We are assured that we have nothing to fear—and indeed, no matter what we may endure, it can’t compare to the “eternal weight of glory” to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Biblical accounts such as Jonathan’s serve to stir up our faith and courage in Christ. Like Jonathan, we can believe God. We can embrace the challenges to which we are called. And we can witness God’s powerful hand at work.
Kim Cash Tate is the author of several books, including Though I Stumble (2016) and Cling: Choosing a Lifestyle of Intimacy with God (2017). A former practicing attorney, she has a passion for studying and teaching the Word of God. Kim lives in St. Louis with her husband and their two young adult children.