“Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’
‘Do all that you have in mind,’ his armor-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.’”
1 Samuel 14:4-7 ESV
Becoming Armor-Bearers: “I Am with You Heart and Soul”
“Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” Have you ever sincerely declared this to a friend or had a friend boldly proclaim this idea of profound loyalty and support to you? I love this passage in First Samuel because it paints a beautiful picture of friendship, courage, and trust in the LORD’s faithfulness and mighty power. The chapter begins with King Saul’s son, Jonathan, one of only two sword-owners in all Israel because the Philistines hoarded all of the blacksmiths, and his armor-bearer—name unknown—seeking the Philistine outpost, which was only accessible if one climbed a cliff to reach it. Talk about a challenge! As 1 Samuel 14:8-14 records:
Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”
So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.”
Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.
As moms, we might view Jonathan’s act as reckless thrill-seeking and we may not be entirely wrong—given Jonathan’s youthful passion and his frustration with Israel’s oppression under the Philistines, but what struck me as the key takeaway was Jonathan’s confidence in God’s leading and his armor-bearer’s encouragement and trust every step of the way. Jonathan had put his ‘fleece’ [Judges 6:36-40] before the LORD and, when he received affirmation to his heaven-sent request, he intrepidly climbed the cliff with his strong and faithful armor-bearer right behind him.
Who in our lives need us to walk beside them as strong and faithful companions, encouraging and proclaiming, “I am with you”? I know that my husband of nearly twenty years, first and foremost, needs me to support his God-given leadership [Galatians 6:2]; while standing boldly before the Enemy together, trusting Jesus to be our strength and our shield through every spiritual battle. Our children need wise encouragement and honest affirmation more than lectures or seeds of doubt planted in their ability to succeed. Our friends and acquaintances, too, crave the cherished friendship that Proverbs 18:24 praises, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Friend, I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to highlight the one in your life who needs an armor-bearer today: the one who needs your trust, your encouragement, and your strength and endurance to help carry the Sword [Ephesians 6:10-17] to battle so that they will be victorious in all that God has for them. When He reveals that person to you, pray for them and with them, speak the truth of their God-given identity to them and over them, and seek the Holy Spirit through every interaction because He, who bore it all for us, is the author of all wisdom, strength, and unconditional love.
Bek Measmer and the Help Club for Moms Team