Well, we've had an interesting week. Not only here at the home office, but there's been an interesting week in the news. Lots and lots of things going on, it seems, between PED's, performance enhancing drugs, big arguments over guns in the news, all kinds of things it seems that people are talking about lately. Perhaps you've had some discussions about some of these things, as well.
As I was listening to one of the debates over what Congress is going to do about that I was reminded of a story about this lady who was in her kitchen and her house, she didn't know it, but her house was being burglarized. And as the crook was trying to get away he came through the kitchen and there she's standing, right there, and he's got a whole boatload of all her goods, and she didn't know what to do. She didn't know what to do. The only thing she could think of was to quote scripture. So she just yelled out, "Acts:2:38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. ", and she thought to herself, repent and be baptized – that's really stupid, why did I say that? Well, here the burglar just froze right there and he just couldn't move for whatever reason. She just kind of slipped to the side, she calls 911, the cops are there almost instantly, and it was…they were shocked. Here was this little, old lady catching this big, burly burglar, and they said, "Well, how did you do this?" And the woman said, "Well, all I did was quote scripture." And the burglar said, "Scripture? Scripture? Are you kidding me? I thought she said she had an ax and two 38's!" No wonder he stopped in his tracks, right?
Well, guns have certainly been in the news, haven't they? – with everybody having an opinion about it. The President announced that he's got a whole, bold series of new gun control regulations. And he said that it's probably the most sweeping reform in gun control policy for generations. And with that, not only was he encouraging Congress to enact legislation, but he also authorized twenty-three Executive Orders. And in these Executive Orders he has the power to be able to mandate certain things.
And so some people were very excited about that, others were annoyed by the whole process that he would take this power unto himself. And so he instituted stronger background checks that would be more detailed, expanded checks. He also mandated some things about assault weapons trying to close some of the loopholes that are out there so that they won't go into the hands of, hopefully, the criminals.
Now it's also interesting, one of the things that he's also talking a lot about is not only gun control, but bullet control. Have you heard a little bit about that? Bullet control, that you can't buy a magazine that holds more than ten bullets. That's one of the things that he's proposing as well.
And so, some of these things are pretty far reaching. Some of them seem like, well, what's wrong with having more police? That seems like that would be a good thing. Perhaps some of the tragedies that we've seen in our country lately wouldn't have a possibility of starting if we've got more police officers that are on duty.
Now one of the other things that people are arguing a lot about is the cost, have you heard what some of the costs for implementing these proposals are? Could be upwards of five hundred million dollars. And we all know what great shape our economy is in already.
So, no wonder people have a lot of different opinions on it. So the White House has called on Congress to act, even pass stricter gun control legislation.
So it doesn't take too much to see how our country is divided when it comes to this particular issue. The Second Amendment. Don't we have the right to bear arms? Where do you stand on the issue? Do we have the right to bear arms? Well, the Constitution says we do. What about us? Do we?
Now before you answer that question, let's step back for just a moment and consider it. In some ways if someone were to ask you about that, do you have the right to bear arms, you might want to think for a minute, it depends what you mean. Doesn't it? Does it depend what you mean?
How about if we think about it on a little bit different level for a moment. Think about the right to bear arms. Does the Bible talk much about that? Well, let's think about it for a minute.
2 Corinthians:10:3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: is a section of scripture where the apostle Paul talks about bearing arms. Bearing arms. And he gives some very specific instructions.
Okay, this might not be about your two 38's, but isn't this about bearing arms? Let's see what it says here. 2 Corinthians:10:3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: . We walk in the flesh, yet we do not war according to the flesh. He says, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal . So, we do bear arms.
But wait a second, we're not talking about the physical things here. He says, mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. Casting down arguments in every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
So when we talk about the gun control issue perhaps this a good time to step back and try to take a spiritual perspective on the whole issue. Because Paul says, yes we are in a war. We're in a battle. There are weapons that we'd better be taking with us. In fact if you go back to verse 3 for a moment, Philips says this. The truth is, of course we lead a normal human life, the battle we're fighting is on the spiritual level. That's our battle, isn't it?
Verse 4 . Philips translation says, the very weapons we use are not those of human warfare, but powerful in God's warfare, for the destruction of the enemy's strongholds . Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy, and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. He says we even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ. There's a real battle. There's a real fight.
Do we have a right to bear arms? Yes we do. We have a spiritual conflict that's going, in fact it's not a right, Paul says it's more like a command, doesn't he? He says we'd better be doing this. That there is a command that we'd better get out the spiritual equipment that we need to fight the conflict that we've been called to.
And it's amazing when you really begin to look at it, how many times throughout the Bible, gun control, well, maybe not gun control, but war, and battles, and fighting, and conflict are mentioned.
Now, if you wanted to find an example in the Old Testament you probably could just whip open your Bible just about anywhere and you'd probably be in the middle of a conflict somewhere in Israel or Judah. And so oftentimes throughout the Old Testament we can't discount these lessons that are there for us, because we know, Paul said, that all of those things are there for us. They're for our examples. That there's certain lessons that we can learn, well even about the right to bear arms, in the Bible, in the Old Testament. We can learn from the situations, from the people, from the circumstances that are back there to give us insight into what Paul's describing here in 2 Corinthians . Give us insight into the spiritual fight that God has called us to.
And you know, back in the Old Testament, there was a certain individual that had special responsibilities, especially when it came to battle. This individual had specific responsibilities, specific duties, in fact there's no doubt that he had the right to bear arms. Now do you know who that individual was? He's called the spiritual armor bearer. Well, at least that's what I'll call him today. The armor bearer. And, in fact, as we look through the Old Testament, there's a number of armor bearers that are specifically mentioned. Now there are probably many, many more that aren't mentioned, but we're told about armor bearers for Abimilech, there's armor bearers for Joab, there are armor bearers for Jonathan, for Saul, in fact Saul had King David as one of his armor bearers. And then we're told about the dastardly giant that also had an armor bearer. Remember the story of Goliath.
And so as we begin to think about this concept of our Second Amendment rights, why don't we turn that around and think about our spiritual responsibilities when it comes to bearing arms.
And look at the examples of the Old Testament armor bearers to glean some spiritual lessons that we can begin to think about in our calling. In what God has called us to engage in the conflict that is all around us.
Now it's interesting as you look at the Old Testament, the term armor bearer was originally translated from a Hebrew word that was nasa. It's really hard to spell, N-A-S-A, nasa. And it means to either figuratively or even literally, to support. Or help, or hold up, or lift up. And so the bearer, the armor bearer, would lift up all the things that his that his master would need.
There's a great example of this over in the book of Judges. I'd like to start there today, Judges:9:50Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. , begins to give us a situation that we can glean some spiritual lessons from. So when you turn over to the Judges:9:50Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. is the story of King Abimelech. Now he wasn't king of Israel. That hadn't happened yet by this time in the Bible, that was still down the line. But Abimelech was trying to rule over Manasseh. He wanted rulership over one of the tribes. His claim to fame? Well he was Gideon's son. He was one of Gideon's sons. So everybody knows the story of Gideon, mighty warrior, remember the guys that were drinking by the water, and how many guys were going to have, we'll have a million guys come out, no, get rid of them, make them go home till we whittle it, that was Gideon. Well, this was one of his sons. There was a big difference between these guys. Abimelech was a very bad man. Terrible man. He wanted to take rulership to himself. I don't think you can find anything good about Abimelech.
And, in fact, in his passion for power, he even went to the depths of killing seventy of his own brothers so that he could take power. This was an evil person. He was an evil person. Alright, so what are we turning to him for then to read about this guy?
Well, the situation came up as he's trying to fight for power, he's fighting some of the same enemies that God's people had fought for a long time already, and as you get to verse 50 you get to see a little bit of insight. He has pushed back the enemy into a corner. Let's read a little bit. It says, Abimelech went to Thebez and he camped against Thebez and he took it . So he takes this city, but, verse 51 , there was a strong tower in the city and all the men and the women and all the people of the city fled there. And so we start to get the picture of what's happening here. Trying to take the people, they're forced into a tower. They're cornered. They've got nowhere to go. Everybody that's left is right there. So now Abimelech is going to call on them and pardon them, right? No. Definitely not. Definitely not. It says all the people fled there, they shut themselves in, then they went to the top of the tower. Probably looking to see, alright, now what's going to happen. Abimelech comes, verse 52 . He came as far as the tower, fought against it, he drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
So it wasn't just that he wants to kill them, he's going to torture them in the meantime. If they're all the way up to the top of the tower imagine this fire's going to start, it's going to wipe out the whole building and eventually burn these people to death. Just a terrible, terrible way to go. But in the meantime, as he comes in, verse 53 , a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull. So he walks in the door, this woman drops a grindstone, the thing that they use to make, to, you know, to make, to get the grain off the heads of the plant, and it falls right on his head. So you've got to be careful what doors you walk through, right?
So, this is a fatal wound. He is going to die. He knows he's going to die, right? He knows it. So what does he do? Verse 54 , he calls quickly to the young man, his armor bearer. Calls him and he says, draw your sword, kill me, lest men say of me, a woman killed him . It's bad enough I'm dying, but really bad that a woman dropped it on my head. Can you imagine that? But you see, back in the day, that was terrible to die in battle, but to have a woman get the credit for killing you, that was unbelievably dishonorable. He would have been the laughing stock if that were allowed to happen. And so he asked his armor bearer to kill him. And the amazing thing about it, he does. He does. He kills him. And so that's exactly what he did at the end of verse 54 . So his young man thrust him through and he died .
So, this evil, wicked man is dead, and yet through the armor bearer there is a couple of things I think we can glean. Where was he? Where was this armor bearer? You know, this was a big battle going on. You go back just a little bit you can trace the story. They were chasing these guys, there were strongholds, they were fighting the enemy, they take the city, they drive them into this tower, who is right there, every step of the way with the king? His armor bearer. I think that's a valuable lesson for all of us. The armor bearer stays close to the king. When he got hit with this millstone, he could still call out, the armor bearer had to be right there. He heard him. He heard him calling out, is immediately there, before the woman could get credit for his death, he kills him.
And for us, do we have a responsibility to stay close to our King, our Lord, our Master. Are we close to our King? You see, he was right beside his king, wherever the king went, that's where the armor bearer was. And that's easy to do when everything's going great. But that's not the armor bearer's job. The armor bearer had to tough it out and be right there in the heat of the battle. When things were tough, when things looked difficult, that armor bearer was that much closer to the king. Protecting him, supplying him with the weapons that he needed to conquer.
And so for us, we go through trials. We go through trials and difficulties, challenges, we go through the difficulties of the fiery trials of life, and as we face those things how close are we to God? How close are we in the heat of the battle? You see we've got to stay, if we're going to accomplish what God has in mind for our life, God's will in our life, don't we need to stay close to the King? We need to stay close to Jesus Christ. I think Abimelech's example here gives no doubt in that.
And, in fact, it's also interesting the behavior of the armor bearer. Because when the king said kill me, why did he want him to kill him? Yes, he's dying, but he didn't want to be dishonored by a woman getting the credit. To die at the hands of a woman was a disgrace.
So what did the armor bearer have to have in mind? To honor the king. The king had to be honored so one of his biggest concerns was to honor the king. And it's no different for you and I. Isn't that a second lesson that we can glean from this? The King's honor is our concern. So he says, kill me. He doesn't want to die by the hand of a woman. Who wants to dishonor our King? I mean, we stand before God we want to please Him, we want to do what's right, but you know we can be influenced. And who's the one that ultimately wants to dishonor our King? Not a woman. Satan the devil, right? Satan loves to dishonor God. He would love nothing more than to use you and I as evidence of dishonor for Christ. If he can influence us, if he can manipulate us, if we respond to his influence, doesn't that bring dishonor to God? I mean he's going to try to do everything and anything he can to hinder us from being more like Christ, from staying close to Christ. He doesn't want us to put on His mind. He doesn't want us to have that thinking. He wants to bring dishonor to God so he can say, you see, these humans that you're working with, give it up. Give it up. Your plan will never work. And yet, we have to bring honor to God. That's part of our calling, isn't it? To honor Him in everything that we do. Well you might think, honor, it's not that big a deal, it's not that big of an issue is it really?
But there's an interesting example in the life of Christ. You go to the New Testament. Mark:6:4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. brings this point home in maybe just a little bit different way. As an armor bearer bringing honor to his king, he was at the king's command and was to what would most bring his king honor. If things were getting in the way, that couldn't phase him. Whether it was a battle, whether it was an enemy, whether there were flying arrows, chariots, those things could not get in the way, not even a woman, for bringing honor.
Now, in Mark:6:4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. we begin to see even in the life of Christ, in the ministry of Christ, honor becomes a big issue here. Because in this section of scripture we're given some insight into a specific event that happened to Jesus Christ Himself and how honor plays a part in the whole story.
So, He goes home. He goes to His home town and in this particular story what do they say, verse 3 . Isn't this the carpenter? The son of Mary? Aren't His sisters here with us? It says they were offended at Him. They were offended at Him. They could only see things on a physical level.
What does Jesus say? How does He respond to that? It says, Jesus said to them, a prophet is not without honor , except in his own country, among his own relatives and in his own house. So He's pointing out the fact His own home town people, you could say His homies, they discounted Christ. They dishonored Christ. What was the result? This is the amazing part. Because of their dishonor, verse 5 , He could do no mighty work there. Perhaps Christ intended to do some great things, but just a few people being healed was all that could happen there. You see, that dishonor to Christ affected His ministry. It impacted the gospel, didn't it? The preaching of the gospel was impacted because of dishonor.
Now, when we think about our part to play in that, I mean certainly Satan wanted to dishonor Christ, no doubt, he certainly, probably impacted these people here in the way that they looked at things from only a physical perspective. Certainly the devil wants to hurt, and harm, not only the ministry of Christ, but Christ Himself who was tempted, but he wants to hurt us. He wants to hurt the people of God. And he doesn't want to just stay on a physical level, he wants our spiritual heart. And so I think with this example, we can't help but think for a minute, as I bear spiritual weapons, do they really honor the leader of our church? That's not Mr. Luker. That's Jesus Christ. Or do we hold back, in a sense, the things that could really be accomplished. The things that God has in mind. Do we really honor the authority that's over us? Because even back in Abimelech's case, that armor bearer honored him, and brought honor. Defended his honor. And of course today in our world there's not much honor anywhere anymore.
And so we've got to make sure that we're seeing the big picture, that Christ must be honored. And as our leader, we honor Christ by following Him. We're never a part of anything that would bring disgrace to our King.
In fact, Paul wrote about this as well to the young minister, Timothy. Over in 1 Timothy:1:17Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. we have an example, perhaps Paul had some of these things in mind, because he makes a reference to this whole concept of what Christ went through and maybe perhaps he thought of Abimelech and the armor bearers, I'll have to ask him, in the future, if that was the case.
But, in 1 Timothy:1:17Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. , Paul, writing to this young man, gives him some instructions. It's interesting what he refers to here. He says, now to the King Eternal. Who are we following? Who are we honoring? Who are we to have first and foremost in our life? God's got to be in first place. We know that. We know we have counted the cost at baptism and we recognize the fact He is ruler and King of my life. And so keep that in mind, Paul says, to the King Eternal , immortal, invisible. To God alone who is wise, the honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. Now, we can read that and say well, God is honorable, God is awesome, He is great, He is powerful, He knows everything, He's omniscient, He is all powerful, He is omnipotent. Well, it's not just talking about that. Yeah, He is, no doubt. But he zeroes in on our part. You know, what are we doing about that fact. That's what he tells Timothy, and I think he's telling us by extension, as well.
Verse 18 , he says, this charge I commit to you, son Timothy. According to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience which some have rejected. You see, yeah, God is going to be honored no matter what. God is going to be glorified, no matter what. What about your part? Is God going to be honored in my life? Is my life going to bring glory to God? Can someone look at Steve and say, "Yeah, God is awesome because I've seen that evidence in his life. I've seen by his behavior, I've seen by the way he acts, by the way he talks, by the way he commits his life in God's hands." Yes, it does that. You see I think that's a great reminder. Great reminder for us that he's telling Timothy here, let's step it up, let's take it to the next level, let's be sure that in every way, not just some parts of our life, but in every part of our life, let's commit it in the hands of God so that we can honor Him and bring Him glory as individuals and collectively as His body. Because it's a little bit scary when you tie that in to what happened back there in Mark. Because in Christ's home town He wasn't honored. You have to say where would Christ be today, right now at this very moment if He were here, if He were present in this world? Well, you know, He'd be at Sabbath services, right? He'd be right here among us. Do we bring Him honor? Do we bring Him glory?
There's another lesson, if we flip back to the Old Testament once again in another armor bearer story. And this armor bearer belonged to Saul. 1 Samuel 31 is where this story is told. 1 Samuel 31 is right at the end of Saul's life. I'm not trying to depress anyone with all the death and destruction here, but you know, there are casualties in war, and certainly that story is borne out here in the end of 1 Samuel . And who is Saul? Saul is, of course, that first king of all of Israel. He was the one that all the people wanted, he was head and shoulders above everyone, but he took too many things into his own hands, he was fighting his own battles, and as he comes to the end of his life, here he is fighting the Philistines once again and he's in a mess. He's in an absolute mess. What happens? 1 Samuel:31:1Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. . Now the Philistines fought against Israel, the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines. They're gaining ground. And fell slain on Mount Gilboa. Then the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. They killed them. They killed Jonathan, they killed his other sons as well. Verse 3 . The battle became fierce against Saul . The archers hit him. He was severely wounded by the archers. Then, similar to the story with Abimelech, what happened? Saul said to his armor bearer, verse 4 , draw your sword, thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me. Sounds kind of familiar to that other story, doesn't it? But it's different. But it's different here, because it doesn't play out the same way. It says, instead of following what he said, it's amazing, his armor bearer would not, would not thrust him through. So at the end of verse 4, oh, it's interesting here, the armor bearer wouldn't do it because he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it. Now, that's kind of weird, because these armor bearers, they shouldn't be afraid. These were the courageous ones, these were the mighty men, these were the ones that were in charge of the king and his protection and his safety. And as I thought about that I wondered if that was the case. Was he the kind that was shaking in his boots because of the fierceness of the battle?
I looked up the word "greatly afraid". And you know, it's the not the word for shaking in your boots kind of fear. You know what it is? It's the word that means reverence, and awe, and respect. The kind of fear that we're supposed to have for God. So it wasn't that he was afraid and couldn't do it and he wimped out and he didn't follow through on his job, it may very well be that unlike Abimelech, remember the millstone fell on Abimelech, crushed his skull, this guy's going to die. We're not told that this was a mortal wound, that Saul was imminently going to die because of the archer's wounds. It's interesting what Saul said to him, he said draw your sword, thrust me through, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.
Now Philistines were known for their abuse. If you head back in time just a little bit, before there were any kings there were lots of judges and there were lots of battles and they were fighting the Philistines all the time. And one of the most famous of the judges had lots of run-ins with the Philistines. He would fight with very interesting weapons, not spiritual weapons, he'd take a jawbone of a donkey and take on the guys. Remember the story of Sampson, ripping out gates and doing these mighty deeds? Do you remember what happened to Sampson at the end, when he was finally taken by the Philistines? When they took Sampson, they didn't just say "Yeah, we got him. Isn't this great?". No, they gouged out his eyes, they abused him, they basically, you know, turned him into a work horse. They had him walk around and around and around and just grind up the grain. Could Saul have had that in mind? That he was going to be abused, get his eyes poked out and be the laughing stock.
And then his armor bearer, instead of killing him, was thinking maybe there's another way out. Maybe there's another way to bring him honor. Put my king first.
And so I wonder if it's really not a question of loyalty instead. That this armor bearer was so loyal to Saul that he wasn't going to allow them to get Saul. To take him and gouge his eyes out. And so, instead, could it be possible that he was showing courage and wasn't afraid? Think maybe we might get a little bit of indication that that might be the case? Because after the Philistines were on the approach, what does Saul do? Since the armor bearer wouldn't kill him at the end of verse 4 , therefore , it says, Saul took a sword and fell on it . So Saul takes on the responsibility himself, for killing himself, then what's the armor bearer going to do? Well, with his master dead, it says, when the armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him. It's hard to say you're a big chicken if you're willing to fall on your sword, isn't it? That doesn't seem to go together. That would take an amazing amount of fortitude to do something like that.
So, I wonder, if, in fact, this armor bearer was loyal. And not just loyal a little bit. He was loyal to the death. Isn't that a good lesson for us today? Don't we have to be loyal to the death. In fact, I think we're called to be loyal to death, aren't we? Because didn't we symbolize that at our baptism? Because when we got in that tank, or walked into that lake or that pool or wherever you were baptized, hot tub, lucky, whatever it was, we said, I have crucified the old man. I have repented of my sins. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, my Lord, my Master, my soon coming King. We placed our devotion and we got in that water and we went under, symbolizing death. We crucified the old man. And we pledged our loyalty, not only that we killed that old man right there, but we got back up out of that water again. And we're to be a new creation in Christ. We're now to be spiritually loyal to our ultimate Master, and how long does that last? Well, till the end of this physical life now. So now we pledged loyalty to our master to the end of our physical life. So no wonder Paul could say that.
Galatians:2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. . He said I'm crucified with Christ . I'm showing reverence and honor and love and respect and my loyalty to Christ. In fact he said, in fact I lived, but I no longer live, it's Christ who lives in me. Christ lives in me. And so, I think it's a good question for us to ask, are we continuing to show that loyalty that is expected of us. That we have killed the old man, we have fallen on the sword, repented, and now we have God's Holy Spirit to help fight the battle.
It's interesting, this soldier, this armor bearer here, once the king was fallen on the sword, did he have a plan B? Did he say, well, I think I'll run away. I mean, he had no other plan. When the king died, he died. He gave himself.
We've been called by God. We have the opportunity. We understand the truth of God. We're learning more and more of God's way. Does He hold us accountable for the truth we know? Does He have expectations? Does He say, well, there's another way you can go, maybe on a, no He says, this is the way, walk in it. This is the way. And so there really isn't a plan B, is there? Either we follow God, we honor the King, we're loyal to Him, or we're not. Or we're not. And that's the amazing thing, part of the lesson in this story as well, is not just the fact that he was loyal, but he obeyed. He obeyed the ultimate calling of an armor bearer. Now that we can learn a little bit clearer over in 1 Samuel 14 . So, if we backtrack just a little bit, in fact, chapter 13, chapter 14 , in 1 Samuel give us some amazing insight to another important lesson that we could learn by being a spiritual armor bearer.
Now, what's happening here, we kind of saw the death of Saul, the end of his rulership.
Now if you've ever saw watched these movies where you go back in time then they say two months earlier and then you're at a different. Well, that's what we're going to do right here. We're going to slip back in time just a little bit.
Some of the circumstances are the same. Fighting the Philistines. Philistines keep showing up on the door. Chapter 13 goes through this amazing account of what the battle was really like. And it wasn't just the fact that, ah, there's just a couple of Philistines and we've got this mighty army of Israel, we're just going to go wipe them out. You read through the story in chapter 15 and we find the Philistines are overpowering in the weapons of warfare that they have. Because back in the day, the Philistines were the ones that controlled the iron. And so they were the ones with the heavy warfare. They were the ones like today would have the heavy artillery. They'd have tanks, chariots in that day, of course. They had chariots, they had weapons made of iron and they withheld that from the Israelites.
So here are God's people coming against a superior force. And they are outnumbered, they are outgunned in every way.
Now, that brings us to chapter 14 , which is an interesting scenario. You think you might have to plan, how are we going to attack these guys. How are we going to be successful?
Well, that's kind of what is happening when we start chapter 14 . As Saul is trying to figure out what to do, as they're looking at how things will work out as they're maybe strategizing, we find his son Jonathan talking about the battle. So at the beginning of chapter 14 it says, it happened one day Jonathan, the son of Saul said to the young man, who bore his armor, so he says to his armor bearer, come, let's go over to the Philistines garrison that's on the other side. What do you think his armor bearer said? Are you crazy? They've got chariots! They've got iron weapons! That would be nuts to do that! Okay, that would be my reaction. I wouldn't make a very good armor bearer in those days. But that's not what he said. You know Jonathan's deciding, alright, Dad's hanging back, I'm going to go take care of these Philistines, I'm going to go whip these guys by myself. And so he talks to the armor bearer and what happens?
Very interesting story here. There's these rocks that they talk about. Bozez and Seneh, and those couple of rocks actually show up in history much later, in fact in World War I there's an interesting story about these rocks that you might want to check out sometime.
But that's a whole nother story so we'll leave that one by itself.
But come back to Jonathan, verse 6 , Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, come let's go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised that it may be that the Lord may work for us, for nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few. And the armor bearer said, yeah, you said that the first time and I heard it. Okay now like, what does he say? Well, verse 7 . His armor bearer said to him, do all that is in your heart. He says go then . Here I am with you according to your heart.
He didn't say are you crazy, they've got chariots, they've got iron, there's two of us, there‘s like, I don't know, a million of those guys, are you kidding me? He didn't say any of that. Armor bearers obey. They obey. He said you're leader. I'm the follower. You're called to lead, I'm called to follow, I'm with you wherever you go, whatever you decide I am completely, wholeheartedly with you. That was his response. He obeyed. He didn't say, well, Jonathan have you thought about this?
You see, when God gives us directions, maybe sometimes we're not quite sure, is this, do we follow it? Do we do it? Boy, this armor bearer had no hesitation. No hesitation. I'm with you. I'm with you, that's what you want. Now it's also interesting, that, as the story goes on, Jonathan maybe hadn't really figured out if this is what God wanted him to do or not. Because, up next, Jonathan says, Okay, let's go. You're with me? We're going to go. Let's do it.
He says, let's show ourselves to them, verse 9 , if they say to us wait until we come to you, then we'll stand still in our place and not go up, but if they say to us, verse 10 , come up, then we'll go up, for the Lord has delivered them into our hand and this will be a sign to us.
So Jonathan takes that issue, he puts it into God's hands right where it needed to be, because he just got done saying a couple of verses ago, hey, God can do this. God can do awesome things. He can do it by a couple of guys like you and me, or he can do it with a whole multitude of people. Let's put it in God's hands and see what He wants.
Well, who's God's army today? Who's in authority today? Well, it's kind of interesting. They do that very thing, they show themselves, and those Philistines, at the end of verse 11 , say, look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they've hidden! And they called to Jonathan, verse 12 , and his armor bearer and said, come up to us and we'll show you something . Now that probably wasn't exactly the type of inflection that they had, right? This wasn't first grade show and tell, hey we got this cool little thing, this is really neat, we like to show you. No, they said, get over here, we'll to take your head off! Right? That's what they're talking about here. We're going to show you, you lousy, rotten, little punks. We'll take care of you, right? That's what they're talking about. Come on over here. You're way up over there. Come on over, you wimps. That's kind of the idea. I don't think they exactly said that, but that's probably a little bit better the idea of what was happening at this point. Well, that was their answer. That was their answer from God to go for it. They knew without a doubt, God was with them.
Now, Jonathan says, verse 12 , at the end of verse 12 , he says to his armor bearer, come up after me for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel. He knew God was with them. The armor bearer obeyed. He was right there with him. No hesitation. I'm with you. You know what's best. God's on our side. We can handle it.
So Jonathan gave the command. He's at his side.
Think about the commands our God has given us. Our commander-in-chief. Jesus Christ is our guiding general and He has the authority to tell us to engage in battle. To do the things that bring Him honor. So do we follow that? Do we follow His lead? Are we ready, and willing to jump in when God says follow. When God gives us the command, are we ready to complete the order? Or do we just kind of, well, I'm right behind you, Jonathan, I'll be there in a minute. You see, we can't do that. God says, no, we've got to support the authority of Almighty God in what we do and in our word, as well.
And so I think it's probably not a bad thing to just look at our life. Do we really submit to God's vision? Do we really submit our lives into His hand, for His direction as He leads us. Because, certainly, Jonathan's armor bearer did just that. It revealed the kind of attitude, the kind of approach that he had to life. He was at his side. He knew he was the last man standing between him and the king's son, his master. He was the last man. He would defend the king, his master Jonathan, with his own very life. There was no turning back. That's quite a heart. That's quite a perspective that he had. And yet, that's the kind of perspective God's looking for in us. Do we have that kind of a heart, that kind of a mind? Because, really, if you boil it all down, that's the real heart of a servant, isn't it? Because no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how good, how bad, how difficult, how challenging, he was going to defend his king, his master in this case. And he was going to obey him no matter what the odds looked like. No matter what.
And so, we're called to do that same, very thing. We are called to defend, and obey, and protect the honor of our King.
In fact, it's kind of interesting the way that Jonathan instructed him. If you look back when Jonathan, verse 13 , it says he climbed up on his hands and knees with his armor bearer after him. They fell before Jonathan , talking about the Philistines, they were chopping him to bits, in other words. And as he came up after him his armor bearer killed them. The first slaughter with Jonathan and his armor bearer made was about twenty men within a half acre of land . So they were just mowing them down. God was obviously with them.
But it also gives us insight into another lesson about this armor bearer as well. Where was he? Where was this armor bearer? Well, Jonathan said, come after me. So who was it that was protecting Jonathan from attacks that were mounted from behind? You see, the armor bearer. He was protecting Jonathan from the rear attacks. He said, come right behind me, come up after me. In other words, the armor bearer had Jonathan's back. Right? He was protecting what Jonathan couldn't see coming. Jonathan was a leader. He's killing Philistines right and left. Going forward, we're going forward, this is the way. But what about those guys that recognized that? Instead of just standing in front of him getting mowed down, what do they do? Well, they're going to circle back and come around from behind and that armor bearer was going to take them on and protect the king. We must protect our King. We protect the King's possessions, His body, the church. The church can be attacked from behind. Are we standing strong for God as He leads us? See, that's what the armor bearer was doing here. Watching, caring, looking out for Jonathan. We too must be doing that. That we're watching, and we're caring, we're protecting.
Because sometimes it's easy to take on a frontal attack. We can take on what we see very clearly. But you know Satan loves to sneak attack. He loves to come from behind. He loves to circle around. He wants to catch us off guard. And so, in a way, God is leading the assault, but sometimes we've got to watch out what comes from behind. Protect the rear guard and overcome whatever may come from behind.
And so we're told we need to have that kind of perspective. We need to watch in every way. Don't be caught off guard. Don't be caught off guard because in a fierce battle an attack doesn't only come from the front, it can come from just about any direction. And so we're told to be on guard. We're told the battle that we're fighting is not just to garrison the Philistines. That's not what we're fighting.
We know that section of scripture that deals so specifically with that in the New Testament. It's over in Ephesians 6. In Ephesians 6, it reminds us about the battle that we face. And it gives us instructions just like Jonathan gave to his armor bearer, Paul gives to us, as well. Of course by the inspiration of God, he tells us how to succeed. How to be that spiritual armor bearer for God.
Ephesians:6:10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. . It says, finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Then it goes into a very familiar section of scripture where it says, put on the whole armor of God . We are supporting our King. Now is the time for us to put it on. Now is the time for us to be that armor bearer, to be ready for the battle. It gives us the instructions of all the different aspects of things, the weapons of our warfare. And it's not a physical one, is it? We're to stand, it says in verse 11 , against the wiles of the devil . Because it's not some physical fight. Verse 12 . We don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age. Against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places .
You see, aren't we glad that Christ is our King? Do we support Him? Do we stand by Him as He guides us and leads us? Do we bear the weapons of that spiritual warfare? Because He tells us very, very specifically that we are to uphold Him in everything, and it's not just with these weapons that we're to have. It's interesting, it says we're to have all of these different things, and in fact, verse 16 gives an implication of another name for an armor bearer. Even back in the Old Testament some translations say, not an armor bearer, but they call them a shield bearer. And down here in, where is it? Verse 11 , isn't it? Oh no, there it is, verse 16 , take the shield of faith which is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
So we can win in battle by being that shield bearer. By being that armor bearer. By wielding that sword of the spirit of God. Because that's what it's all about. Verse 10 reminds us of that. And it's not our power. It's not our great ability to wield the sword, but that power is the strength in God. The power of His might. So I've got to get my own thinking, my own reasoning out of the way. Just like Jonathan's armor bearer, listen to the master, follow His instructions, listen to His guidance, because He knows the path that leads me to overcome. That leads me to success. That leads me to be able to win the battle.
So that's the kind of weaponry that we've got to be aware of, and got to be using.
In fact, Peter put it a little bit differently over in 1 Peter:4:1Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; . He has kind of a synopsis of the whole section of Ephesians 6 . Peter makes it very precise. Notice the way that Peter phrases what our outlook must be. 1 Peter 4 , right at the beginning of the chapter. It says, therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh , he says, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. That's our ultimate goal, isn't it? Because we are battling sin and the evil forces that would love us to fall to sin. And the only way for victory is to arm ourselves with the mind of Christ. How well armed are we?
We have a great God that's ready to give us every weapon of spiritual warfare that we need. So take it up, he says. Take up those weapons and let's succeed together.
And so when you really get right down to it, do we have a right to bear arms? We have more than a right, we have a command! Yes! Take up those spiritual weapons, because these guys in the Old Testament were hand picked warriors who protected the king. Obeyed the king. Honored the king. They were valiant, they were courageous. And we are no less, because God has hand picked you and I. We have been called to this battle. We have been chosen for this responsibility and God doesn't call us to fail. He calls us to succeed. And so we must defend Him and take the offensive against the enemy. If there's anything that's holding us back from that responsibility, let's identify it. Let's recognize it.
As we hear them talking about gun control this week, and we hear them talking about the Second Amendment, maybe for the next number of weeks, as we hear about those things, let's make sure we're doing something about it. Not the physical guns and the control and the amendments, whatever, not that. Let's remember our spiritual calling. That we're called to lead in fighting that spiritual battle. Am I really continuing to fight? How close am I staying to Christ? How close am I to the Master and the King? Am I allowing God to lead me and guide me? Am I responding to His directions?
As we hear about them talking about our inalienable rights, are we most concerned about our Leader's honor? Am I continuing to recognize those areas in my life that sometimes don't bring honor to God? Am I identifying those things and going to root those out, because, ultimately I want to submit and obey and follow His direction and His guidance. Follow His leadership in my life. And I'm going to follow them always. I'm going to be loyal and obedient unto death, for the rest of my life. That's our calling. So let's continue the cause. Let's fight the good fight of faith and be dedicated to give our all as we've been called to an amazing spiritual battle.
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