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Commentary on "Jonathan: Born for Greatness"



Day 3: Monday, October 18, 2010 - A Great Victory


Today’s lesson is titled A Great Victory and tells us about incidents occurring in chapters 13 and 14 of 1 Samuel. The lesson author correctly comments on the current state of the army of Israel as Saul has not outfitted his men well against those with superior technology in that day, particularly the Philistines. Similarly, the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) provides people with no effective weapons for waging Godly, and spiritual, warfare.

The lesson asks a question in the context of a reading from 2 Kings 6:8-17. Although there is a great story there about the true balance of power in battle, our reading of 1 Samuel provides an interesting bit of information in this regard. The memory verse for the week is 1 Samuel 14:6. In this passage of 1 Samuel 14, we are provided an insight into the relationship between a warrior and his armor-bearer. (See the commentary for the first lesson this week for a discussion of armor-bearers.)


Steps to Victory?

The second question for today’s lesson is, “What are the steps that Jonathan undertakes before climbing up to the enemy outpost? 1 Sam. 14:6–13.” After reading 1 Sam. 14:6-13, you may wonder exactly what the “steps” are to which the question is referring. There are no “steps” in this passage. Jonathan has an exchange with his armor-bearer, and watch for a sign from the Lord. The sign Jonathan was looking for was given and they go up to the Philistines and immediately slay 20 men. Since there are no actual steps in the passage provided, let’s take a look at a very interesting verse in this passage.


1 Sam. 14:7 reads,

And his armor-bearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul."

In this verse we see the complete trust and reliance upon his lord that the armor-bearer put in Jonathan. Just as Jonathan’s soul would be knit together with David’s, so Jonathan’s armor-bearer’s soul is to Jonathan. This verse is similar to one we find later on in 1 Sam. 18:1, which reads,

As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

The armor-bearer’s relationship to Jonathan and Jonathan’s relationship to David are similar. Both provide us a beautiful picture of what it means for a believer to trust in the Lord. When we trust in our Lord Jesus, nothing will be impossible for us. In him, we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) and can face any battle, for our Lord will go before us, just as Jonathan went before his armor-bearer. We can slay the Philistines in our life as we follow the Lord into battle. They fall before him, and we slay them after him (1 Sam. 14:13.)


More Than Conquerors

Romans 8:33-39 shows how this battle looks for the Christian:

Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is truly as we follow our Lord into battle that we are more than conquerors, and then realize that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.



  1. The “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) does not provide us weapons with which to fight Godly spiritual battles.
  2. There are no “steps” that Jonathan and his armor-bearer follow when going against the Philistines – they simply wait for a sign from the Lord, then attack.
  3. When we are with the Lord, “heart and soul” nothing will be impossible for us.
  4. In Christ, we are “more than conquerors” and nothing can separate us from “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Read Romans 8:33-39.)
  5. How is your reading of 1st Samuel going?




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