Obey! Follow! Fight! What do these words have to do with our Christian walk?
One might easily think about obedience to the Lord. Another about following Christ. Still another that of engaging
in spiritual warfare. They would all be correct.
In 1st Samuel 14:1-15 we are given a unique picture of how these three words tie together
properly. As an introduction I wish to say that here the word "obey" refers to that verbal assent, that agreement that
we will do as we are asked. The word "follow" means to prove that verbal assent with our actions. And the word
"fight" refers to that glorious victory in which we shall partake with our Lord. Let us look at this passage and see
what the Lord says in His Word.
1st Samuel 14:1 reads, "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." Here a statement is made to a subordinate. It is the reply that
is astounding. We find it in verse 7, "And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in
thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart." Not only did Jonathan's
armorbearer say he would go with his master, but that "I am with thee according to thy heart." This armorbearer has
made a confession, a verbal assent to obey his master. This is an important point. It is important because we
all need encouragement from each other. When a pastor or Sunday School teacher or Bible study teacher asks one to do
something or another they need to know that they will be supported by those they are speaking to. This encourages them
and gives them strength to take their own next step. A word of caution must be inserted here. If we are asked
to do something that is opposed to the Word of God we are to hold ourselves to the Word of God, not to the word of man.
Many people teach and have taught, that their very office, being that of a divine calling, requires our obedience regardless
of whether they are in opposition to the Lord in the matter. This is a false assumption. God is our Supreme Commander.
Under Him are various levels of leadership. Many times people twist the orders they receive from God to their own desires.
When this happens we must be sure to follow the true directive of God, not the twisted directive of man. In order to
guard yourselves against this you must prayerfully study God's Word for yourself. You must nurture an intimate relationship
with God for yourself. If you do so you will know if what you are asked to do is of God, or if it is simply
the whim of someone's imagination. In verses 8-10 we see that even Jonathan wishes to know with a clear heart that what
he is doing is what God wants him to do. It is therefore easy for the armorbearer to obey his master seeing that his
master is also obedient to the Lord.
Next we see that this armorbearer goes beyond just giving a verbal assent to the words of
Jonathan. In verse 13, after God's will is confirmed, Jonathan goes up first. Following afterwards comes his armorbearer.
This is an interesting point. First, the leader, to be a leader, must always go first. That should be sufficient
warning to those leaders in the church from going about things their own way. For if they are at the forefront of the
battle, they shall receive the brunt force against them before any who follow afterwards. It is the armorbearer we are
looking at, however, and the fact that he comes afterwards, that he follows, is an action that proves the words that
he has stated to Jonathan. It is one thing to say we will obey and quite another thing to have the actions that prove
it. God is looking for people who have both consented, verbally, to obey Him, and who have followed in a manner that
proves that verbal consent. He asks that not only for those following Him, but for those following Him through those
He has place in authority over us. This is where God finds out if we are truly obedient or not. This is where
the process turns to either defeat or victory. We must not run ahead of those God has placed over us, nor should we
refuse to go. If God has commanded us to do something through the word of His servants we must BOTH consent verbally
and by our actions prove such loyalty.
The third step, that of "fight" comes upon the heels of following, at least in this instance.
In many cases we may not see such immediate results around us, but I do not doubt that we shall see immediate results within
ourselves. For God is raising us up to greatness. In verse 14 we are told that these two men, led by God, killed
20 men in battle. Those are not the kind of odds I'd like to go up against. We are talking 10 to 1 against.
Yet God's Word says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8;31b). I want you to notice that they were
so victorious that terror struck at the hearts of the enemy (verse15). These 2 men, following God's orders put the entire
enemy to flight. That is what happens when we let God set the stage and do the fighting for us. But there is more.
We are never told the name of this armorbearer. Jonathan, we learn, is the son of King Saul, therefore a prince
of Israel. His greatness is almost a foregone conclusion. Here, however, because of his obedience to God through
his obedience to his master Jonathan, the armorbearerer enjoys the same fruits of victory as the prince of Israel.
The battle was planned out, considered, expressed. The armorbearer agreed to join with
his master in this battle through both word and deed. They joined the battle together, and the victory enjoyed by both
as equals, for the battle is the Lords.
There has been some expressed concern about the leadership in the church. Many times
rightly so. We need to get to know God on an intimate and continuing basis, through prayer and study of His Word.
Then we need to find a church that is not afraid to preach that Word in all its power. When we find such a place
and such spiritual leaders we can place ourselves under their authority, for we will know if they are being true to God or
not. When we do we then can prove our humility by actively doing what they ask of us; whether it is to visit the sick,
to chauffer people around, to read the Word to someone, or simply to pray. And we need to let those in authority know
first that we are willing and able to do so. When the battle ensues we will find that we have been prepared to fight
along side our leaders and gain the victories that God has prepared for us. I have only three words left to say to you.
Obey! Follow! Fight!