When you're surrounded by an armed enemy with chariots, two swords seem inadequate for defending yourself. They’re certainly not enough for ensuring a victory. But among the oppressed Israelites, there were only two swords available when the Philistines showed up to fight. One belonged to the newly established King Saul, the other to his son Jonathan, but only Jonathan’s was put to proper use. While Saul looked at the sword in his hand through the eyes of flesh…thus his own fears…Jonathan looked at the sword in his hand as a tool of God…an extension of God’s will and power more glorious than the metal glinting in the sun. Each held the same possibilities, but they did not handle the potential the same way.
Soon after his God-appointed and God-equipped rulership had been established, Saul shifted his focus from the spiritual to the natural. This mindset would direct his attitude toward his sword. Choosing 2,000 troops for himself, he moved to one providence and sent Jonathan with 1,000 other men to a different location. Midway between them was a Philistine outpost. Saul chose immobility, settling in to his camp, but Jonathan and his men took the garrison and stirred the anger of the surrounding Philistines.
For a moment, it appeared Saul would grab his sword and slay his fear. Sounding an alarm throughout the region, he proclaimed, “Saul has smitten a garrison of the Philistines. Gather in readiness for military attack.” The Israelite men showed up with their axes and sickles, but when they saw sunlight reflecting off of chariots and javelins, they threw aside their willingness to fight and went into hiding instead. Watching the response of his men, Saul decided to offer sacrifices to the Lord--breaking a direct command he’d been given by Samuel, the spiritual leader of Israel. Saul’s offering wasn’t worship, it was a fear-driven attempt to call his men back to war and to call a favor down from heaven. Rather than wait on the Lord as Samuel had instructed, Saul let fear take the lead, and he acted with impatience and self-will, elevating his opinion above God’s instructions.
Fear continued to govern Saul’s decision-making because he kept his eyes on himself and on others. While he sat under a pomegranate tree with 600 men and a priest, Jonathan again showed willingness to put his sword to use. Sneaking away with his armor bearer, he said, “Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few,” (1 Samuel 14:6). Because his trust was in the Lord, Jonathan had no self-serving fear. With his armor bearer and his sword, he killed 20 warriors. Then, God stepped in to fight for Israel, causing the earth to quake and confusion to spread throughout the Philistine army, and the Israelites came out of hiding to join the battle.
Scripture says we have been given a sword. “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (Ephesians 6:17). We can use the Word much like Saul or Jonathan managed their swords. Our sword can remain uselessly sheathed to our side if we view our world through carnal eyes that focus on what we’ve got to lose, how we’ll save face, what others are doing, what we’ve lost in the past, or how overwhelming our circumstances may be. Fear rises and we can swing between making bad decisions, taking insincere action, or doing nothing in apathy. Conversely, we can turn our hearts toward God and step away from the fear stemming from self-centered faith. Assured that God’s Word is more than ink on paper, we can grasp it as an extension of God Himself, pick up our weapon, and wield it against the adversary, expecting the supernatural to back us up. And as we put the enemy to flight, we discover that one sword is enough to win the victory.
Tip/Tidbit: Find one Bible verse that speaks to a present difficult situation in your life. Speak that verse until you see God make a change in you or in the circumstance you are facing.