Dream word – COURAGE
>1 Samuel 14:6 & 12-14
“Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armour, ‘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.’---------Jonathan said to his armourbearer, ‘Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.’ And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armourbearer killed them. That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armourbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.” NKJV
A long, long time ago, one of my first torturous petty officers in the Royal Navy, was proud to have served on an old Leander Class Frigate called HMS Naiad. We knew he was proud of this because he wouldn’t shut up speaking about, prefixing each dreadful diatribe of his with, “When I was on the Naiad…yadi yadi yada.”Good grief, I can still hear him now, droning on and ever on.
In those seeming golden olden days, all of the naming of ships within Her Majesty’s Navy, must have been done by someone with an Oxbridge classical education for Leander of course, was the name of a man rooted in Greek mythology, who himself drowned in the sea whilst swimming across deep waters to make love to his beloved Hero. It was this same Hero who that particular and very stormy night, had allowed the wailing wind to blow her guiding night light out. You have to watch those Greek women, that’s for sure, for they are most unreliable, especially those chaste virgin nymphs, of which the Naiads of course, were nymphs associated with water. One such water nymph was called Arethusa!
You need to hear Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas’s “Under Milk Wood” to appreciate the smooth sound and subtle silkiness of a Welsh man pronouncing the name of a ship called the Arethusa, rolling those heavy Rrrrs, like the waves of the salty sea, riding high upon a sandy, crescent mooned shoreline. Such a crescent shaped shoreline is referred to as a Bight and today in 1914, the first naval battle of the Great War was fought off the German coastline along the Heligoland Bight.
It was Commodore Reginald Tyrwhill on HMS Arethusa, who led the small formation of warships that struck into the heart of the German Navy, who also later in the battle, with the arrival of larger cruisers, inflicted one hundred times as many dead upon the enemy as themselves and sank several ships.
The First Sea Lord of the admiralty at that time, a one Mr Winston Churchill, later observed regarding the daring attack that, “All the Germans saw was that the British did not hesitate to hazard their greatest vessels as well as their light craft in the most daring offensive action and had escaped apparently unscathed. They felt as we should have felt had German destroyers broken into the Solent and their battle cruisers penetrated as far as the Nab. The results of this action were far-reaching. Henceforward, the weight of British Naval prestige lay heavy across all German sea enterprise. The German Navy was indeed ‘muzzled.’ Except for furtive movements by individual submarines and minelayers, not a dog stirred from August till November that year.”
In our Bible text for this evening, there is no doubt that Jonathan, so lightly armed and in the face of such overwhelming Philistine forces, sailed like the Arethusa right into the heart of enemy territory, and like the Arethusa, Jonathan and his armour bearer were not alone in their endeavour but very heavily supported, by the weight of unseen sailing forces, speedily steaming to their rescue and the real cause of Jonathan and his armour bearer’s most astonishing victory!
God demands of all Jonathans, of all lovers and best friends of Jesus, that in the face of overwhelming odds, they nevertheless have the faith and courage to strike into the very heart of enemy territory, knowing that their blow is indeed backed by all the forces of the First Sea Lord of heaven and earth, The Great God Almighty Himself!
So I say to you tonight O Jonathan of God,“Love Jesus! Give him your all, fight for Him and in the face of seeming overwhelming odds, dare to do great things for Him, for no other King is worth hazarding your very life for. Give your life for Him! For He gave His life for you.”
Listen: “And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there.” - 1 Samuel 14:15-17 NKJV
Pray: Lord, help me be like Jonathan of old; a man who out of great love, is willing to hazard his life for the land he is from, the people he has been joined to and the good God he now serves, in Jesus name I pray, Amen!
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