Calling All Heroes
Have you heard of Jonathan and his armor bearer?
An armor bearer is someone who carries the weapons of his master during a battle. They were known to be confidantes and trustworthy men, personally recruited by warriors and kings.
This Old Testament story (1 Samuel 14 and 15) tells when the (enemy) Philistines gathered 30,000 chariots, 6000 horsemen, and soldiers as many as the sands of the sea to fight against Israel. When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger, they hid in caves, rock and holes, leaving only 600 fighting men with the Israelite King Saul. To add to their problem, the Israeli army wasn't ready to fight! King Saul also ended up angering Prophet Samuel, God’s spokesperson, by offering a burnt offering and violating God’s command (1 Samuel 13).
It was in the backdrop of this situation that Jonathan says to his young armor bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side” (1 Samuel 14:1). At the looks of it, Jonathan’s suggestion seemed foolish and life threatening, but his armor bearer stood by him without any resistance.
Jonathan initially wasn’t even sure whether God was in this plan. But his armor bearer replied, “Do all that you have in mind. Go ahead, I am with you heart and soul” (1 Samuel 14:7).
The armor bearer’s heart was completely surrendered to his master and his loyalty for Jonathan was above his life! He gives immense courage to Jonathan through his words.
Subsequently God rewards their boldness with a victory. And as they climb the rocky cliffs to reach the Philistine post, great trembling and panic falls upon the enemy camp. The two end up killing 20 men, following which there was a great earthquake and God saves Israel that day.
At the end of it all, the people claimed: Jonathan had accomplished great deliverance for Israel (1 Samuel 14:45). The crowds cheer for Jonathan, but his friend went unnamed and unnoticed.
Surely without the friend's backing, Jonathan would not have won the battle for Israel.
Do you know the Hebrew word for ‘armor bearer’ is ‘to lift up’? Jonathan’s friend played such a crucial role - he was there with him lifting his burden physically and emotionally, just like a best buddy who silently stands beside you, encourages you and shields you from the schemes of the enemy. I would venture to go so far as to say that the armor bearer acted as heroically as Jonathan.
As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." NIV
You can also be a hero by being someone who lifts others up.
Who can you lift up this week?
*Pou Lin Chang