1 Samuel 14:6—Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will help us. Nothing can keep the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”
Jonathan was the first prince of Israel during the reign of his father King Saul from about 1043 to 1011 BC. It was a perilous time for his countrymen because they were constantly harassed by the Philistines. Recognizing that morale was low in the army and that something was needed to overcome a persistent threat, Jonathan took action.
Michmash was a pass that allowed access for an invading army from the north. It was on the north side of a very steep and rocky wadi called Wady es-Suweinitand was controlled by a Philistine garrison. When the Philistine soldiers saw Jonathan and his armor bearer they taunted them, challenging them to climb up to them. That was the sign Jonathan was waiting for to attack. He and his armor bearer scrambled up the rocks and then struck down about 20 men in a half-acre field. Terror struck the Philistine camp and led to a major rout of their army by Saul and his troops. “So the LORD saved Israel that day” (1 Sa. 14:23).
The first and most important quality of initiative is understanding. Jonathan understood three very important things. First, he observed the condition and distress of his country. As an example, “No blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise, the Hebrews will make swords or spears” (13:19). Second, Jonathan knew it was God’s will for the Israelites to defeat the Philistinesand thatGod was perfectly capable of helping them succeed. Third, he recognized that he could be an agent for change.
Without initiative opportunities are lost. Momentum hibernates. Teams and organizations grow complacent and mediocrity and decline degrade all that once shimmered with life and hope. Erwin Raphael McManus wrote in his book Chasing Daylight:
We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good. We have defined holiness through what we separate ourselves from rather than what we give ourselves to. I am convinced the great tragedy is not the sins that we commit, but the life that we fail to live.
Unless we understand situations correctly, we are unlikely to take action or we may even do the wrong thing. What makes initiative powerful is it is a change catalyst for the better. Do you see and recognize a problem that needs tackling or an opportunity that offers improvement? Do you trust that God will give you the strength and wisdom to do the right thing? Initiative is only as good as you make it. So, for God’s glory, be something by doing something!
You cannot follow God in neutral.—Erwin Raphael McManus in Chasing Daylight
©2018 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)