"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.'"
I Samuel 14: 6, King James Version
EXPLORATION: "An Unrestrained Father"
"You will never need more than God can supply."
J. I. Packer
Is there some situation in my life which seems so overwhelming that I wonder at times if it is a problem that is even too big for God to take care of?
What "garrison" am I willing to give to my "unrestrained" Father?
"God has all the power that is consistent with infinite perfection."
Augustus H. Strong
"Though heaven be God's palace, yet it is not His prison."
The other evening I was talking with a friend. We were reflecting on all the challenges in the world and she made this observation, "Sometimes you wonder how God is able to handle this mess." Frankly, I have thought the same thing before. But it's just because I'm a frail human being who struggles to even take care of the hurdles I face each day in my own life.
Thankfully, as daughters and sons of the King of the Universe, we have a power potential to tap into. It's like a vacuum I have. I needed something that would pick up the things I dropped on the floor and I found a cordless broom that operates off a battery. The battery is kept functional by a small box that is plugged into the wall and not only recharges the battery when it runs low but also keeps it charged and ready to perform at a moment's notice.
Fortunately, you and I have an even more effective "power pack" which we can choose to be permanently connected to. In I Samuel 14: 6, we're assured our "power pack" is not "restrained." Specifically, the Bible says, "There is no restraint to the Lord." I want to point out that this is the only place in the King James Version of the Bible where the word "restraint" is used. Further, in the Hebrew, this word means "confined or walled in."
This information brings me to the reason I began this section with the words of Thomas Brooks who observed that although heaven is our God's palace - it is not His prison. Don't you just love this statement? Way too often, we have the mistaken notion that God is way up there and I'm clear down here. And we ask ourselves, "How can God ever take care of me and my problems when He's so far away and has so much to do?"
This is why I appreciate the wisdom and confidence which flowed out of the mouth of Jonathan, Saul's son, the Crown Prince. If we recall, Saul had not shown courageous leadership against the Philistines. The Israelites had scattered, were hiding in pits and rocks, and King Saul had blatantly disobeyed God. But Saul's son, Jonathan didn't follow his dad's headstrong path. Instead Jonathan and his armour-bearer decided to go to the garrison (military post) of the Philistines. Talk about a bold move. However, and this is critical, this wasn't an arrogant, I can do it on my own move by Jonathan. We see exactly what was in his heart when he made this proclamation, "There's nothing confining or enclosing our God. He is not held back or restrained. He can save by few or by many." Just in case we need a definitive picture of what it means to "save" in this text, the Hebrew translation uses words like, preserve, deliver, and give victory.
Jonathan understood that as the plaque in Germany regarding the Reformation states, "One man (or woman) with God is a majority."
With heavenly boldness and authority as his "power pack," Jonathan relied on the ability of his unrestrained Father to deliver him even in the face of the Philistines' apparent overmatched strength.
Today, you may feel as though you are one of the unpowered few who are up against the powerful many. Your problems may be so great they appear to you larger than the entire Philistine army.
How about taking a lesson from Jonathan. As he approached the Philistines' military outpost, he told his armour-bearer that if the Philistines invited them to "come up," that would be God's sign that heavenly deliverance was imminent. This is exactly what happened. Two men lured the Philistines into a vulnerable position and the army of Israel had a great victory. Not because of the strength of many or the weakness of few. But because of the unrestrained power of our Father, who is not imprisoned by any of the challenges that confront you or me. And to this I say, "Praise God!"
"O Father, give me the spirit to climb to the fountain of all light…break through the mists of earth…shine forth in splendor, Thou that art clam and a quiet resting place for faithful souls…Thou carriest us, and Thou dost go before, Thou art the journey, and the journey's end."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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