1 Samuel 14.1-23.
The Bible is filled with underdog stories, including this one of Jonathan and his armor-bearer taking on a Philistine garrison, killing twenty soldiers, and causing the outnumbered Israelites to conquer the Philistine army. The Lord used acts of one man – Jonathan – to save his people that day. Who would have ever guessed that Jonathan’s plan would cause Israel to be victorious? Jonathan's strategy seemed foolish and ridiculous. It would have been rejected by any army general.
Yet, that is how the Lord operates in salvation. God’s plan of salvation is rejected as foolishness by the world. God becoming a man in order to die the death of a criminal? That doesn’t make any sense. A resurrection on the third day? That seems impossible! This is why Paul calls the gospel as foolishness to the world. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God...But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord'" (1 Cor 1.18, 27-31).
You see, in doing what seems to us to be impossible, even foolish, God gets all the glory. We cannot boast in ourselves, for we cannot save ourselves. Rather, it is by “one act of righteousness” that we have justification and life, “by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5.18-19).
You see, the point of this story is NOT, “Jonathan was an underdog, now YOU go and be an underdog,” but rather, “Put your trust in the same Savior that Jonathan did – the God who cannot be hindered to save by many or by few.”
Again and again, throughout Redemptive History, the Lord showed that the battle belongs to him, that victory comes not by our might or by our power, but by the Spirit of the Lord. The world looks for what seems powerful and glamorous. But God operates differently, so that our faith will rest not in the power of men, but in the power of God, who triumphed through the One who fought for us in his life, death, and resurrection.
As we sing in the hymn, “Sin’s bonds severed, we’re delivered; Christ has bruised the serpent’s head; Death no longer is the stronger; Hell itself is captive led. Christ has risen from death’s prison; O’er the tomb He light has shed.”
Do you believe that? Do you have faith in the One who has fought for his people? Like the Israelites who were hiding in caves and holes, we often doubt the promises of the Lord. We doubt that the Lord can save us, or save others. We look at our own sin and suppose it to be too great for the Lord to forgive and overlook. We tend to think of our sin as being greater than the Lord’s grace. We tend to think of them as too strong to resist, and the gospel too weak to conquer sin’s power.
We look at death and think, “Can God really raise my body from the dead? Will he really do it?” And we doubt.
Likewise, we often doubt the Lord’s ability to save others with the gospel. We tend to think of the gospel as being too weak to convert the hard hearts of others. We are too discouraged, too overwhelmed by the hardness of the human heart.
But can anything hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few? God’s grace to us in Christ is greater than all our sin. He has promised to forgive the sins of anyone who comes to him through Jesus Christ. And he has promised to raise their bodies from the dead.
Likewise, he has promised to save through the Gospel, for his gospel is his power to salvation. Those are God’s promises to us! Do we believe them?
Like Jonathan who faced the Philistines, do not fear as you face sin, death, and unbelievers! Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving - by many or by few!
Taken from Pastor Brown's sermon on 1 Samuel 14.1-23. You can listen to the whole thing by clicking here.