Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.” 1 Samuel 14:6
There are some key words in this account which teach us how to apply dynamic faith. The first is that we must “cross over” into the great unknown. Nothing is ever done without moving forward. Crossing over is accomplished in two steps, the decision to do it, and then doing it. The second step of course is the hardest! In Jonathan’s case it was taken with the manifestation of a certain sign.
But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hands; and this shall be the sign to us.” 1 Samuel 14:10
On the issue of signs, in my mind, tactically it would’ve been better to cross over if the men came to them, but Jonathan set the go signal on them saying to come to them. I would say signs should involve the highest degree of difficulty and require from us the most courage. Then you know.
Some might say that the setting of signs is not for this day and age, and I would agree. (1 Corinthians 1:22) But why would God constantly use signs in his story and deprive us from the same kind of direction in some cases? It would seem right in a case where faith is being exercised in an attitude of prayer and dependence that “putting out a fleece” as Gideon did might serve as a tiebreaker. I do know that a clear sign will serve as a signpost as we look back after we cross over. It’ll provide assurance and confirmation.
Here’s a practical case of calling for a sign. My wife and I were contemplating a trip to Canada, but were taken aback by the cost of airfare. I hesitated because times may get tight in the future. To be absolutely sure of God’s will, my wife set out “a fleece.” If the airfares dropped to $325 a piece, down from the $600 range, this would be a sign unto us! The fare: $323. So we’re going. The cost went up the very next day well over $600.
Back to our story. In Jonathan’s assessment of the situation was God’s view of the enemy, i.e. “these uncircumcised.” We have confidence in crossing over when we’re on God’s side. This may take the form of acting on one of his many promises. In fact, his promises are essentially signs themselves.
To me the key word in this whole passage is “perhaps.” In it is the essence of faith. He may or he may not act as we wish, as Daniel’s three friends exclaimed on the way into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:18). Jesus thought the same way in the garden (Matthew 26:29). His fate was in God’s hands.
A second factor here is that God is not restrained or constrained as we are. He can muster a host of angels or use one pair of human hands.