According To Our Heart

 

The grace of God and the unmerited favor of God become manifest when we believe in Him.His grace does not come to us because of some triumph of ours or because of some struggle we have achieved.God works when we work by faith.When we, as believers, believe and obey by faith; God honors our trust in him.Below is a lesson that shows a manís simple faith honored by God.Although the interpretation is straightforward, there is one aspect of faith I want to emphasize because I believe special attention is warranted.I hope this interpretation helps you understand how God desires to work in the midst of our faith.

 

At this time in history, the Israel army was about to be routed by the Philistine army.The Israelites did not even have weapons to fight back (1 Samuel 13:19-22).The Philistines were in a holding pattern and were getting ready to attack.The only weapons found in the camp of the Israelites were with King Saul and with his son Jonathan.

 

1 Samuel 14:1-15

 

Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistinesí garrison, this is on the other side, But he told not his father.And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men; And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabodís brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lordís priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod.And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistinesí garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.The forfront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, 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 few.And his armour-barer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these man, and we will discover ourselves unto them.If they say unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armour-bearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.And Jonathan said unto his armour-bearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armour-bearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armour-bearer slew after him.And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armour-bearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.And there was a trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.

 

This initial slaughter eventually led to the slaughter of the entire Philistine army.The Philistine army was given to confusion (1 Samuel 14: 16,20) and they ended up turning their swords against each other.Israel got the victory that day because God honored Jonathanís initial faith (1 Samuel 14:23).††

 

There are a few things I would like to specify about this victory.It is obvious that God honored Jonathanís faith.Jonathan did ask for a sign (1 Samuel 14:10) but God worked within Jonathanís request.Notice what is said here:

 

ÖAnd his armour-barer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heartÖ

 

This is pretty impressive.It took incredible boldness and faith to believe that God would deliver 20 Philistines into Jonathanís hand, but the armour-bearer stuck by Jonathanís side.Jonathanís armour-bearer symbolizes the Holy Spirit.Notice what happens when Jonathan obeys according to his faith:

 

ÖAnd Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armour-bearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armour-bearer slew after him.

 

As soon as Jonathan proceeded by faith, then the armour-bearer proceeded to back him.He not only backed Jonathan, but the armour-bearer is the one who actually killed everyone.Jonathan did not even lift a finger.As soon as Jonathan obeyed by faith the Philistines miraculously fell down in front of him.This allowed the armour-bearer following Jonathan to do all the work.This is the way God wants to work in our lives.God says to us:

 

ÖDo all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

 

God takes a look at our faith and as soon as we have made a plan, as long as it is in the will of God (Romans 8:27), God backs us, and when He does, we do not even have to lift a finger.

 

I truly believe that in this example, Jonathanís armour-bearer directly symbolizes the Holy Spirit living inside of all believers.We can easily look at the example from the text and say, well, Jonathan had faith and God backed him.This is true.But what is truly important is to know and understand just how close and personal the Holy Spirit is to us.In this example the armour-bearer (Holy Spirit) was the man who carried Jonathanís armour (Ephesians 6:10-18).He is basically his right hand man.This is as personal as you can get on the battlefield.God is saying to us, hey, I will back you, I will be there for you and I will deliver you.And not only that, but I am so close to you that even if I were to show you, you still would not believe me or even understand.God is reaching out to us and as soon as He does, He is closer than we think.This understanding is not complex.It is quite simple to see.Sometimes it is impossible to believe that God could be so close, or so personal, but He is.We need to remember this example and trust God to be this close to us in our daily lives.He is with us ďaccording to our heartĒ, and He wants to back us and fight our battles for us.All He asks of us is faith, and not even that really, He only asks that we believe that He could be that close. Once we believe and act, then God will ďbe with us according to our heart.Ē