The Story of the Sword & The False Sound of the Trumpet: The Sword Doesn’t Lie

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Samuel which not only describes the days of Samuel the prophet, but also the days of Saul the first king of Israel, and David who would succeed him as king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters fourteen through sixteen of this Old Testament book. WHEN A KING LEADS THE PEOPLE INTO A PLACE OF FEAR! WHEN A RULER LEADS THE PEOPLE INTO A PLACE OF FEAR! WHEN A LEADER LEADS THE PEOPLE INTO A PLACE OF FEAR! As you consider the words which are found written and contained within this particular passage it is absolutely imperative that before you even begin reading the words which are found within these three chapters you turn and direct your attention back to that which is written in the thirteenth chapter. If and as you consider the words which are found within the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find that when Saul was chosen from the tribe of Benjamin to rule and reign over the nation of Israel as king, he was specifically chosen that he might save the children of Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. When we think about and discuss the narrative of Saul king of Israel we must recognize and understand that while he was indeed chosen to rule as king over the heritage of God and over the inheritance of the people of Israel, he was also chosen and ordained to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Up until the time of Saul the Philistines had been a continual and proverbial thorn in the flesh, and had continually provoked and agitated them. From the days and times of Jephthah one of the judges of Israel, to the days and times of Samson judge in Israel, and even unto the days of Samuel the prophet and Saul the king of Israel you will find that the Philistines continually provoked and agitated the children of Israel over quite an extended period of time. Up until this point in time it might very well be said that the Philistines were and had been one of Israel’s long-standing enemies and adversaries, and had even been their longest and long-standing adversary. It might very well be said that the Philistines were that enemy and that adversary which were allowed to continually provoke and agitate the children of Israel, and continue to provoke them in battles and conflicts. Perhaps one of the greatest realities we must recognize and understand concerning the narrative of the children of Israel and the Philistines is that while the Philistines never incited a full on war and conflict with the children of Israel—they would nonetheless incite smaller conflicts and smaller battles with which might very well be perceived as battles of attrition. It might very well be said that the Philistines continued to provoke and agitate the children of Israel in order that they might somehow wear them down and wear them out as time went on and progressed. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the narrative of Saul king of Israel who was chosen by the LORD and anointed by Samuel to rule over the nation of Israel, and to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.

When we think about and consider the narrative of Saul king of Israel we more often than not speak about his apparent disregard for the word of the LORD. Upon reading the thirteenth and fifteenth chapters of this Old Testament book you will find two distinct and two powerful examples of this man who had been chosen by the living God and anointed by the prophet of the LORD to rule and reign over the nation and people of Israel. When Saul was anointed by the prophet Samuel as king over the nation of Israel there was no language concerning obedience to the law and commands of the living God, and yet what we find in Saul was not only a man who was fearful of the enemy, not only intimidated by the people of Israel, but also one who was rebellious toward the words and commands of the living God. In and through the life and person of Saul we find three distinct characteristics of his character and makeup that would eventually and ultimately result in the kingdom being torn from him and given to another—given to one who was a man after God’s own heart. As you continue reading the narrative of the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find that Saul was chosen by the LORD and anointed by Samuel the prophet of the LORD to rule and reign over the nation of Israel, as well as to save the children of Israel out of the hand of the LORD. In all reality, I would dare say that it was this assignment to save the children out of the hand of Israel which originally and initially set Saul on a path of self-destruction as he would not only show a blatant disregard for the word and command of the LORD, but it would also highlight and reveal the tremendous trepidation, fear and terror that was found within his heart. Chapters thirteen, fourteen and seventeen are three powerful and unique examples of how Saul might have led the nation and people of Israel, however, he not only led them from a place of trembling, but also led them in a place of trembling. If and as you read the words which are written and found within the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find the following narrative that was written concerning a time when Jonathan which was Saul’s sons smote a garrison of the Philistines, thus inciting the Philistines to march out against the children of Israel in Gilgal. It’s worth noting that the children of Israel had previously experienced fear, terror and dread before the Philistines which is written and recorded in the seventh chapter of this book. Consider if you will—before reading the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter—the fear and terror of the children of Israel as written and recorded in the seventh chapter of this Old Testament book:

“And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only. And Samuel said, gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD. And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the children of Israel said unto Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that He will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebed-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken away from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in curcuit to Beth-el, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Roman; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built and altar unto the LORD” (1 Samuel 7:2-17).

The words which you find written within this passage describes a time when the children of Israel would turn their hearts to the living God, and when they would return unto the LORD—not only through repentance, but also destroying and remove Baalim, Ashtaroth and all the idolatrous forms of worship which were present among them in the land. All Israel would gather themselves unto Samuel the people of Israel in Mizpeh, and yet within this place of renewal and returning their enemy and adversary would hear of their gathering, and would march out against them. Scripture reveals how the lords of the Philistines would march out against Israel, and when the children of Israel saw the advancing Philistine army they panicked and were greatly distressed and filled with fear. Immediately the children of Israel cried out unto Samuel the prophet of the LORD that he cry out unto the LORD on their behalf that they might be spared, saved and delivered out of the hand of the Philistines. Scripture records and reveals how it was at this time that Samuel would offer a burnt offering before the LORD, and would cry out to the LORD on behalf of the children of Israel. What’s more, is that we find and read that the LORD heard the cry of Samuel, and when the Philistines drew near to battle with and against the children of Israel, the LORD thundered a great thunder, and discomfited them before the children of Israel. Eventually and ultimately the Philistines would flee from the presence of the children of Israel, and the children of Israel would follow after them and smite them. On this particular day the living God would give the children of Israel a great victory over their enemies, and the words which are recorded within this chapter describe how the Philistines were subdued before the children of Israel, and came no more into the coast of Israel. Moreover, it is written that the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel, and that the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel. We cannot afford to miss this, for what we find in the seventh chapter would almost seem to repeat itself to a certain degree and measure in the thirteenth chapter. As you read the thirteenth chapter you will find the offering of a burnt offering before and unto the LORD, and you will find the people once more trembling in fear before and against the enemy, and the people desperately desiring the LORD deliver them out of the hands of the Philistines. The words and language we find in the thirteenth chapter of the book of First Samuel bears a strong semblance and similarity to what we find in the seventh chapter. Perhaps one of the most fundamental differences in the thirteenth chapter versus the seventh chapter is that in the thirteenth chapter the children of Israel had a king now ruling and reigning over them—one who was chosen by the LORD and anointed by Samuel the prophet to save them out of the hands of the Philistines. Consider if you will the narrative which is found in the thirteenth chapter of the book of First Samuel beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the thirteenth chapter:

“Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in MIchmash and in mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, ( for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash. Therefore said I, The philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which He commanded thee: For n ow would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after His own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one camping turned unto the way that leadeth to Oprah, unto the land of Shula: and another company turned the way to Beth-horon: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness. Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords of spears: but all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash” (1 Samuel 13:1-23).

The narrative of Saul is one that describes his being chosen by the living God and anointed by Samuel the prophet to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, and yet what we find in the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament book is not only a people who were fearful and trembling before the threat of the enemy, but also a king who himself was fearful and trembling before and in the presence of the enemy. In fact, in the sixth verse of this chapter you will find that the people of Israel saw that they were in a strait when the Philistines marched up against them, and they were sore distressed and hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in rocks, and in high places and pits. What’s more, is that there were even some of the children of Israel who even went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead to somehow escape the enemy and adversary. The final portion of the seventh verse of the thirteenth chapter describes how Saul was still in Gilgal, and how the people followed him trembling. Pause for a moment and think about the scene here in this chapter, for not only were the people of Israel sorely and greatly distressed, but so also did they hide themselves from before their enemies. What a marked and drastic difference is found in the thirteenth chapter compared to the narrative that is found in the Old Testament book of Joshua, for when Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan River and into the land of Canaan there was absolutely sign, nor was there any trace of fear within the hearts of the people of Israel. The children of Israel marched confidently and boldly within and throughout the land of Canaan in order that they might conquer and subdue it. What we find in this passage of Scripture, however, it something that is marked and noticeably different, for within this particular chapter we find the children of Israel greatly distressed before their enemy and adversary—and not only greatly distressed before their enemy and adversary, but also hiding before them out of great fear, trembling and trepidation. As it weren’t bad enough that the people themselves were greatly distressed and hid themselves from the face and threat of the enemy, we also find the people following Saul trembling. Pause for a moment and consider that thought and that reality—the reality that this people who should have followed Saul confidently, boldly, and full of faith and trust, and yet instead of following this king in confidence, in boldness, in faith, in assurance, in trust and hope in the living God, they instead followed him trembling. OH it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this reality, for it is an incredibly tragic thing when the people of God follow the leader anointed and appointed by God, and do so trembling out of fear, terror and dread. It is a great tragedy when the people of God follow that one who was called and chosen to lead them in triumph over and against their enemies, and yet they follow them in fear and trembling.

It is quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that during days and times which should have been led by one who was to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, the people of Israel were not only greatly distressed, but they also hid themselves in a variety of different hiding places from before the enemy. What’s more, is that as if it weren’t bad enough for the people of Israel hiding themselves from the Philistines, it is also written and recorded that the people followed Saul king of Israel trembling. It’s interesting and worth noting that within this passage—not only do we find the people scattering, not only do we find the people hiding, but we also find the people following trembling. In all reality, when I read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture I can’t help but see three distinctive groups of people who were present during the days of Saul king of Israel. There were those whom we initially find scattering and fleeing from Saul—perhaps out of fear and terror, or perhaps because of the leadership that was being exhibited over them. In the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book of First Samuel we initially see a people that were scattering from Saul—a people that were fleeing from him when they should have been following him, which in and of itself is a terribly tragic reality. Moreover, we also find a people that if they weren’t scattering and fleeing from Saul, they were hiding in the midst of the inheritance in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in pits, and in high places. There would be those who would scatter and flee from the company and presence of Saul out of fear, terror and dread in the face and threat of the enemy, and there would be others who wouldn’t necessarily flee and scatter, but who would hide themselves out of fear, terror and dread. Even still—aside from those who would scatter and flee, and even aside from those who would hide themselves in the midst of the land—there would be others who would remain loyal to Saul and who would still follow him, yet they would follow him trembling. We must recognize and we must understand that in each of these cases and in each of these instances the actions of the people of Israel were entirely motivated out of fear and terror before and in the face of the enemy. It actually made no difference whether the people were fleeing and scattering, or whether they were hiding in various places, or whether they were following Saul king of Israel, for their actions would be directly determined and dictated by fear and terror before their enemy and adversary. This people which should have had all the confidence and boldness in the face of their enemy and adversary was instead bound, seized and gripped by fear that would keep them paralyzed in the midst of their own inheritance and land which was given unto them as a possession.

PARALYZED WITHIN THE INHERITANCE! PARALYZED IN THE POSSESSION! If there is one thing the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book reveals, it’s that the children of Israel were in fact living and dwelling in the midst of the land that was their inheritance and possession, and they did in fact have a king over them, and yet despite both of these realities they were paralyzed in the midst of the land. What an incredibly tragic thought and narrative it is to think about and consider the fact that the people of God were living and dwelling in the midst of the inheritance of the people of God, and yet they were absolutely and completely paralyzed with and by fear at the sight and sound of their enemy and adversary. As I sit here today I can’t help but think about the fact that the children of Israel did in fact have a king over them, however, despite the fact that they had a king over them, that king who was chosen by the living God and anointed by the prophet of the LORD never truly ruled, reigned, governed, nor even led them. If you read and consider the words which are found in chapters thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen you will find that although Saul was king over Israel, he wasn’t truly king over Israel. Although Saul was anointed, and although Saul might have worn a crown upon his head, he never truly reigned, ruled or governed the people of Israel in the midst of the land. These chapters bring us face to face with the fact that Saul was one who himself was fearful before and in the sight of the enemy and adversary, and Saul was not one who could easily lead the people in confidence, boldness, faith, trust and hope in the living God. Saul was not one who could instill faith and trust in the hearts of the people of God, for Saul himself was one who struggled and battled with fear. Oh what a tremendous difference there was between Saul and Gideon, for when both men were found, they were hiding out of fear for the enemy and adversary. The difference between Gideon and Saul is that despite the fact Gideon’s story begins with his hiding in the wine press, it would continue with his leading three hundred men against the Midianites, as he would also unite men from the tribes of Israel in battle against the enemy and adversary which had risen up against them. Saul on the other hand was one who was completely unable and incapable of leading the people of God in confidence, in faith and in trust, for Saul himself was one who wrestled with and struggled with fear within his own heart and soul. Pause for a moment and think about the absolutely tremendous and incredible thought of that one who was responsible for saving the people of out of the hands of the Philistines would lead them from a place of fear and trembling, and also into a place of fear and trembling.

As you continue reading the words which are written and found within these chapters you will quickly encounter and come face to face with the reality that the people of Israel were not only led from a place of fear, but they were also led into a place of fear and trembling. Time and time again within the narrative of the people of Israel under the reign of Saul king of Israel we find them being led from a place of fear, as well as also being led from a place of fear. There are few instances where we find and read Saul king of Israel leading the children and people of God into a place of trust and confidence in the living God. What’s more, is that not only do we find Saul leading the people from a place of fear, but we also find Saul leading the people from a place of disobedience and rebellion to the word and command of the living God. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for it comes into full focus in the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book. That which we find in the thirteenth chapter of the book of First Samuel brings us face to face with three distinct groups of people which were found within the narrative of Saul king of Israel and during the days when he ruled and reigned over the nation and kingdom of Israel. As we have already discussed, there were those who fled and were scattered from the face of Saul because of the threat of the Philistines, but there were also those who hid themselves in any place they could find out of fear from the threat of the enemy and adversary. As if it weren’t bad enough that we find a fleeing people and a hiding people, there was also a following people, yet their following was not from and into a place of strength, courage and boldness before the living, but it was from a place of fear, terror, trepidation and anxiety over the threat of the enemy and adversary. Within the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book we are brought face to face with the fact that the Philistines had marched out against the children of Israel, and how they had come out against them with numbers as great as the sand on the seashore. It was in direct response to this we find both king and people like cowering in fear and dread when they should have responded in faith with full assurance and confidence in the living God who had already delivered them once out of the hands of the Philistines when Samuel offered the burnt offering before the LORD. This reality and concept of the burnt offering which Samuel offered in the seventh chapter would be quite telling, for the act of offering the burnt offering would find its way into the narrative contained in the thirteenth chapter, as Saul would grow restless and anxious while waiting for Samuel to show up, and instead of waiting for Samuel to show up and offer the burnt offering, he would take it upon himself to offer up the burnt offering before the living God. It would be Samuel himself who would rebuke Saul for his careless and foolish action of offering the burnt offering, and would declare unto him that his kingdom and his reign would be brought to an end, and that the LORD would indeed seek after and search for one who was a man after his own heart.

Sitting here this morning thinking about and considering the narrative of Saul king of Israel I can’t help but be confronted with and by the fact that this man who was of the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by the living God and anointed by the prophet Samuel to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, and while there were glimpses and signs of his willingness to engage the enemy and adversary in battle, he was one who not only led from a place of fear before the people, but he was also one who led the people into a place of fear. The narrative we find in the thirteenth chapter not only demonstrates Saul leading from a place of fear, but also the anxious and troubled heart within him as he not only saw the vast array of the enemy and adversary before him, but also when he saw the people of Israel scattering before and from him. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that Saul was one who was anointed as that one who would lead the people of Israel in a fight against a long-standing enemy and adversary in the earth, and yet he was not only a man who had a rebellious heart toward the word of the LORD, but he was also a man who led from and into a place of fear. Consider the scene as it unfolded in the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book, for not only do we have people following Saul trembling, but we also find some scattering from Saul, while we find others hiding themselves in any place they could in order that they could escape the threat and danger of the Philistines. It’s quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that Saul was that one who was chosen by the living God to save the people of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, and yet when it came to actually confronting them in battle against them, he could not overcome the fear and dread that was present within his heart. Within the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book we find it written and recorded how the Philistines had pitched themselves in array against the children of Israel, and how there were those who were fleeing from the enemy, as well as from Saul the king of Israel who was supposed to lead them in battle against the Philistines. Moreover, within this narrative we find some among the people of Israel hiding in any place they could find within the inheritance in order that they might somehow escape the threat, the terror and the intimidation that was the Philistines. As if this weren’t enough, there is also the narrative of those people who did in fact follow Saul, yet they followed him trembling. Oh there is something incredibly tragic about a people who follow that leader who has been chosen by the living God and anointed of Him for a specific purpose, and yet not only does that leader lead them from a place of trembling, but that trembling is also manifested within the hearts of the people of God.

If and as you come to the fourteenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find another reference to Saul—not only living and abiding in a of fear, but also being unwilling to confront the enemy and adversary that was before him in the earth. Here was this enemy whom he was specifically chosen by the LORD and anointed by the prophet Samuel to save the people of God from, and yet when it came time to confront the enemy and adversary, Saul not only led the people from and into a place of fear, but he could never quite lead the people in effective battle and warfare against them. Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies surrounding Saul’s life—aside from his rebellious heart toward the word of the LORD—was the fact that he could never effectively lead the people in battle against the Philistines. That people whom he had been specifically chosen by the living God to save the people of Israel from was a people whom he simply could not lead the people in warfare and conflict against. In fact, if you read the words which are written and found within both the thirteenth and fourteenth chapter of this Old Testament you will find that in both of these chapters it was not Saul who had led the people of Israel in battle against the enemy, nor was it Saul who himself rose up attack the enemy and begin a wave and flood of warfare and conflict against them. In both the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters we find that it was Jonathan his son who was one of only two in all Israel who had a sword who actually dared rise up against the Philistines in order that they might be conquered and subdued before the people of God. IN the thirteenth chapter we find Jonathan the son of Saul attacking a garrison of the Philistines, and in the very next chapter we find the same narrative playing out concerning this son of Saul. Although his father was that one who was anointed of the prophet Samuel and chosen of the living God to save the people of Israel out of the hands of the enemies, it was Jonathan his son who actually dared rise up against the Philistines in battle, in conflict and in warfare. In the third verse of the thirteenth chapter you will find the following words which were written and recorded by Samuel the prophet of the LORD: “And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal” (1 Samuel 13:3-4). It’s absolutely necessary and imperative to understand that which is written and contained within these verses, for while it was Jonathan who himself had smitten the garrison of the Philistines, it was Saul who blew the trumpet and make a noise and sound in Israel that they might all heart. Please don’t miss and lose sight of that which is written and found within this passage, for it is a strong and stark contrast between Jonathan and Saul, for Jonathan was one who was willing to take his life into his own hands that he might smite the Philistines, while his father was content blowing the trumpet. It was Jonathan who took up the sword and smote the Philistines’ garrison which was present in the midst of the land, and it was Saul who had blown the trumpet in the midst of the land in order that all Israel might hear it and come after him.

I have to admit that I am absolutely and incredibly astonished when I read the words which are found within the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters, for in the thirteenth chapter we find Jonathan smiting a garrison of the Philistines, and Saul his father simply blowing a trumpet in the land—blowing the trumpet which gave the sound of war, which gave the sound of triumph, which gave the sound of battle, and which gave the sound of victory, and yet Saul never even lifted up his sword to smite the Philistines. I am convinced that this is a truly powerful and prophetic picture that is found within the narrative of Saul son of Kish and his son Jonathan, for there are leaders among us who might very well have been chosen by the LORD, and even anointed of him, and who have been called and chosen by the living God to help save the people of God out of the hands of the enemies, and yet instead of rising up and taking the sword against the enemy and lead the people in battle, they simply sound trumpets in the midst of the land—a sound that gives the false impression of victory, the false impression of triumph, the false impression of battle, warfare and conflict. Saul blew the trumpet within the land, and did so as though he himself had accomplished some great thing in the earth, and yet it was Saul who had led the people from and led the people into a place of trembling. It wasn’t Saul himself who took up the sword against the enemy, for it was his son Jonathan who had actually taken up the sword against them. Oh, I am convinced there are leaders among us who are great at making noises, and great at making sounds of warfare, conflict and battle in the hearing of the people of God, and on the surface it might sound like something that is pleasing and glorifying before and unto the living God, and yet the only thing they are doing is making a sound and noise that gives the false impression of warfare, conflict and battle. Such individuals are great at making noises in the midst of the earth, and such individuals are great at making it sound as though there is a battle and warfare that is being waged, and yet they have done absolutely nothing to engage the enemy in conflict and battle. Saul blew and sounded the trumpet in the midst of the land of Israel in order that he might gather all the people round about him, and yet while he might have been good at blowing the trumpet, he was not good at actually taking up the sword against the Philistines. It was Saul who himself was chosen and ordained by the living God to save the children of Israel out of the hands of their enemies, and yet rather than take up the sword against the Philistines and engage them in battle, conflict and warfare, Saul could simply blow the trumpet and make it sound as though he had accomplished something in the earth and against the enemy and adversary of the people of God.

JONATHAN TOOK UP THE SWORD, SAUL BLEW THE TRUMPET! I am convinced that there is a dramatic and powerful contrast that is found in the thirteenth chapter between those among us who are actually willing to take up the sword against the enemy and engage the adversary in battle, and those who are merely willing to blow the trumpet in the hearing of the people. Oh, there are those among us who are great at blowing the trumpet, and who are great at making noises and sounds as though they are active in the battle and conflict among the people of God against the enemy and adversary, and yet the truth of the matter is that they simply have not done anything in battle and conflict against the enemy and adversary. There are those who might very well stand behind the pulpits of many of our churches today, and who are great at making noises, and who are great at making sounds as though they are active participants in the conflict and battle against the enemy and adversary, and yet what they are doing is nothing more than making a noise in the camp, which gives the false appearance and false impression of being involved in the conflict and being involved in the battle. Saul blew the trumpet in the midst of the land of Israel, and yet it was Jonathan his son who actually took up the sword and smote the garrison of the Philistines. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of a powerful truth the living God desires for us to understand within our lives. There are those among us who are actually willing to take up the sword and engage the enemy and adversary in battle, while there are others who are great at making noises and sounds as though they are active participants in the battle and conflict, and yet they live, dwell and abide in and from a place of fear. Saul king of Israel blew the trumpet in the midst of the land, which might very well have sounded good in the hearing of the people of God, yet blowing the trumpet isn’t the same thing as taking up the sword against the enemy and adversary. Oh I would dare say there are men and women among us today who might very well be willing to make the noise and make the sound as though they are actively engaging the enemy and adversary in battle, and yet the only thing they are doing is making the sound of war, while failing and refusing to actually take part in the war. There are preachers and ministers who make a great sound and who make a great noise from behind the pulpits, and from within our churches and houses of worship, and yet they have never even lifted up a finger, nor a sword to engage the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle. There are those leaders among us in the house of the LORD who might give the appearance as though they are active participants in battle, conflict and warfare, and yet the only thing they are actually doing, and the only thing they are actually doing is making noises and sounds that give the false appearance and false impression of actually engaging the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle.

THE FALSE SOUND OF VICTORY FROM BEHIND THE PULPIT! THE FALSE SOUND OF TRIUMPH FROM THE MOUTHS OF LEADERS! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely tremendous fact that there are preachers and ministers among us in the house of the LORD who have been called, chosen and ordained by God to lead the people of God, and yet such men and women are doing nothing but giving the false sound of victory and the false sound of triumph. Oh the words which they preach and the words which they speak and the words which they preach are nothing more than a false sound and false impression in the hearing and presence of the people of God. They might preach victory, they might preach triumph, and they might preach as though they are actually living from a place of victory and triumph, and yet when it comes to actually lifting up a finger and taking up the sword against the enemy and adversary, they are unable to actually do so. Such men and women give great sermons and give great teachings and lectures in the company of the people of God, and they might preach faith, trust and confidence in the hearing of the people of God, and yet preaching about victory and preaching about triumph is not the same thing as actually living and walking in victory and triumph. Preaching about engaging the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle is not the same thing as actually engaging the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle. There are ministers among us who are great at giving the sound among the people as though they have actually taken up the sword against the enemy and adversary, and yet they are completely unwilling to actually and actively take up the sword against that one who continually provokes the people of God. There are ministers and leaders among us who might very preach about spiritual warfare, and who might very well preach of battle against the enemy, and yet they have never lifted up, nor have they ever raised their hand against the enemy. When it comes to actually standing side by side with the people of God in battle and in conflict, they instead cower in fear and lead the people in and from a place of trembling in the house of God. Such leaders and ministers might give off a great appearance as though they are willing to engage the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle, and yet the only thing they are actually doing is making a great noise in the midst of the land, while being absolutely unwilling to lift up the sword against the enemy and adversary that provokes the people of God. Such men and women might sound as though they are great generals, great leaders, and great warriors on the battlefield, and yet the only thing they are great at doing is making noises and sounds that give a false appearance and false impression of actually engaging in conflict, warfare and battle.

This reality of Saul leading the people into and from a place of fear is found—not only in the fourteenth chapter of this Old Testament book, but also again in the seventeenth chapter. I won’t delve into that which is written and recorded within the seventeenth chapter of this Old Testament book, for that will come later, however, what we read and what we find in the fourteenth chapter of this Old Testament book is a truly powerful picture of one who was called and chosen by the living God to save the people of Israel out of the hands of their enemies, and yet who himself could not escape the throes and clutches of fear, terror and dread. In the fourteenth chapter we find it written how the children of Israel were still engaged in conflict and battle against the Philistines, and yet when Saul the king of Israel should have engaged the Philistines in battle, and when Saul should have led the charge against the people of God in battle, he himself remained under a pomegranate tree. Not only do we find Saul giving the false sound and false appearance of warfare, victory and triumph, but we also find Saul remaining and abiding under a pomegranate tree when he should have been leading the people in battle and conflict against their enemies. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of this chapter you will find that once again it was not Saul who had stepped up to provoke and instigate the Philistines in the midst of the earth, but it was his son Jonathan. In the thirteenth chapter we find and read how Jonathan the son of Saul rose up and smote the Philistine garrison in Geba, and here we are again in the very next chapter, and it is once against Jonathan who is provoking the Philistines, and who is exercising a willingness to engage them in conflict and battle. Consider if you will the narrative that is written and found in this particular chapter concerning a time when Jonathan once more engaged the Philistines in conflict and battle, while his father remained in a place of comfort, convenience, complacency, fear, and dread. Beginning with the first and opening verse of this chapter you will find the following words:

“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 Philistines’ garrison, that 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, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phineas, the son of Eli, the LORD’s 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 Philistines’ garrison, there was a shapr 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 forefront 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 by few. And his armorbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am wioth thee according to thy heart. Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we sill 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 armourberer, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, 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 armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of lan, which was a yoke of oxen might plow. And there was 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. And the watchman of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another. Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there. And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand. And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there a very great discomfiture. Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in battle. So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Beth-aven” (1 Samuel 14:1-23).

It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture, for once more do we find Jonathan the son of Saul being the one to rise up and engage the Philistines in conflict and in battle. What’s more, is that in the fourteenth chapter of this Old Testament book we continue to find the people of Israel hiding from before the Philistines when they should have been led by Saul into battle and conflict against them in the midst of the land. Within this passage of Scripture we find the children of Israel still hiding from the Philistines, and we find only six hundred men actually with Saul in Gibeah while there was a Philistine garrison in the midst of the land. That which we find in the fourteenth chapter is a truly tragic picture of Saul king of Israel, while it is a remarkable picture concerning Jonathan his son who was unafraid of the Philistines, and was unwilling to back down in fear and cowardice before the Philistines. Within this chapter we find Saul and the six hundred men who were with him abiding under a pomegranate tree, while Jonathan and his armourbearer decided to go up against the Philistines and to attack one of their garrisons in the midst of the land. The narrative that we find written within this passage is quite astonishing and remarkable when you truly take the time to think about and consider it, for what we find in this passage is a picture of Jonathan who was neither chosen by God, nor anointed by Samuel the prophet as king over Israel raising himself up to engage the Philistine garrison in battle, and striking down twenty men in a plot of land that was about a half an acre. It would be this victory and triumph which Jonathan had won on this day that would set the enemy and adversary to flight, and would cause the enemy and adversary to melt before the people of the living God. Moreover, when it was noised that Jonathan wasn’t among the people of Israel, and when it was seen that the Philistines were fleeing every which way, the people and children of Israel rose up from their places of fear, rose up from their places of hiding, and rose up from their places of terror, and actually engaged the enemy and adversary the way they were intended to. It’s worth noting that it wasn’t due to any actions which Saul king of Israel had incited on his part, but rather that which his son Jonathan had himself incited against the enemy and adversary. OH there is something powerful about one who is unafraid of the enemy and adversary, and one who is willing to rise up against the enemy and adversary in order to provoke and incite them in battle knowing that the battle does not belong to man, but the battle belongs to the LORD. There is something truly wonderful and powerful about those who are willing to go against the grain of fear, and go against the grain of terror, and go against the grain of intimidation before the enemy, and actually rise up against the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle. As I bring this writing to a close I invite you to consider the words which are written and contained within these passages of Scripture and choose you this day whether or not you will be a man or woman full of faith, trust, and confidence in the living God, or whether you will be a man or woman who will cower in fear, terror, dread and anxiety before the enemy and adversary.

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