- BY MANY OR BY FEW
Picture King Saul and his band of six hundred men, with only two swords among them (the rest have only farm implements) as they face the Philistine army, which boasts thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen. A narrow pass between two rocky crags separates the armies. So far no one has made a move.
While Saul’s army rests in their camp, Jonathan, Saul’s son, who has one of the two swords, decides to do something about the situation. He says to his young armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to the garrison of these pagans; it may be that the Lord will work for us; for there is nothing to prevent the Lord from saving by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6 AB).
The Philistines see the two Israelites coming and shout, “Come on up here and we’ll show you a thing or two!”
Jonathan, having the Lord’s assurance that he is with them, accepts the invitation, climbs up to meet the enemy and slaughters about twenty men. The Philistines panic. The earth quakes and it becomes a terror from God. The Philistines turn their swords on one another in wild confusion.
When Saul and his napping army wake up and look across the pass into the enemy camp, they finally realize what is happening and join the battle.
Then the Israelites who have joined the Philistines turn back to fight for Israel. Even the Israelites who have hidden in the hills come out to fight when they hear that the Philistines are fleeing. So God delivers Israel (see 1 Samuel 13:16-14:23). Victory begins with only two brave men.
Since in Old Testament typology, Israel is a model of the Church, we can picture from this story what can happen if a few Christians full of faith begin to attack the enemy.
(Note that we called Israel a model, or type, of the Church. We are not implying that the Church has in any way replaced Israel in God’s scheme of things. Israel, in Scripture, means Israel. The Church is the Church.)
• There will be casualties in the enemy’s camp and panic in his ranks as he reacts in confusion to the unexpected attack.
• Many in God’s sleeping army will wake up, see what is happening and join in the battle.
• Christians who have joined the enemy’s camp will renew their allegiance to God’s cause as it goes from victory to victory.
• Those who have been fearful and have hidden from the warfare will take heart and join in pursuit of the enemy.
Many people today are waiting for someone to step out and lead the way. You might find it easier than ever now to find willing warriors, because this is a movement borne on Spirit-wings.
More and more believers are hearing the call to prayer and action as the Holy Spirit lifts up a standard rallying the Church to battle. Once you and a few “armor-bearers” have begun the work, share your vision with churches and pastors other than your own.
As pastors call their people to united intercession with others, you can stand together, an army of light raised up against the onslaught of darkness.
You don’t have to let the devil devour your family or your community. Don’t lose the war by default. Stand up! Put on the armor! Pick up your weapons—and fight the spiritual fight!
Whether we’re many or few, let us, in the words of John Chrysostom, “wage war on the devil as though we’re performing a dance,”—with confidence and joy. God is listening—and it is not too late!