Active Faith

”Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.”” (1 Samuel 14:6)

Everything looked dark for Israel. Their old archenemy, the Philistines, were marching against the nation with 30 000 chariots, 6000 horsemen and footmen “like the sand on the seashore” (1 Sam. 13:5). King Saul had summoned the Israelite army, but when the soldiers realized the odds stacked against them, all but 600 deserted and hid themselves in caves and rocks. In a rash act, Saul had ventured to disobey the prophet Samuel and as a result, Saul had lost God’s blessing and favor. To make matters worse, none of Saul’s soldiers owned a sword or spear. Humanly speaking, the situation was impossible: 600 unarmed soldiers under an apostate king against an innumerable enemy army. Yet, there were two men who had faith. Jonathan and his armor bearer might have remembered how God had delivered Israel in the past. Hundreds of years earlier Gideon had defeated the Midianites with only 300 unarmed soldiers, so God could do it again. And so they pushed forward in faith expecting a miracle. God worked on the heroes’ behalf. Confusion and friendly fire arose in the Philistine camp, the earth shook, the Israelite deserters returned to the fray and a crushing victory was won that day.

It is easy to talk of faith when you feel close to God, everything runs smoothly and you see success. But when circumstances look dark and foreboding, when prayers seem to go unanswered, when people and even leaders disappoint you, it is easy to flee into our caves and rocks. But this is the time when we really need faith. Faith is not a passive yielding to circumstances. It is an active force that has push and enthusiasm in the face of discouragement. It is not destroyed when things don’t go as expected. It counts on God and expect Him to intervene if needed. It studies out God’s will and does all in its power to bring it to pass. Then, and only then, it accepts the outcome as God’s will.

Prayer: Lord, help me to have an active faith when circumstances are dark and count on your power today.

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