Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Fourteen]: Are You an Armor Bearer. In this chapter we see Saul’s son Jonathan doing great exploits in God’s name. By Jonathan’s side is an armor bearer. In ministry circles today we often see men and women who serve at the side of a leader as an “armor bearer”. Are you called to be one of these unique individuals? In this chapter we will find out just what an armor bearer does – and does NOT do in serving his or her leader.
[1Sa 14:1-52 KJV] 1 Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that [is] on the other side. But he told not his father. 2 And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which [is] in Migron: and the people that [were] with him [were] about six hundred men; 3 And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD’S priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone. 4 And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison, [there was] a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one [was] Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The forefront of the one [was] situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah. 6 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. 7 And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that [is] in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I [am] with thee according to thy heart. 8 Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto [these] men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. 9 If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. 10 But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this [shall be] a sign unto us. 11 And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves. 12 And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.
In this chapter we see the continued warfare with the Philistines. Again Jonathan is spoiling for battle while his father Saul sits under a pomegranate tree with the nephew of Ichabod. Jonathan purposely exposes himself to the enemy just to see what the Lord might do. He is unafraid. In this his character is so much like David’s who at this time is just a young lad tending his father’s flocks. Jonathan did not tell his father. He knows that his father will take credit for anything good that happens and he knows that there is something amiss in his father Saul’s life. This speaks to us of Gideon who after his commission by the angel destroyed his father’s idols before going into battle. God wants you to live your life out of the paternity of heaven and not your natural heritage. In Matt. 12:28 Jesus said “who is my mother and my brethren?” In Matthew 10:24 He said he didn’t come to bring peace within the family rather a sword of contention that would be provoked by your obedience to God. It is often said that the church is built upon the family and surely families are benefited when they come to Christ but remember that the church is built upon Jesus Christ who is a rock of offense even between family members many times.
We also see that Jonathan has an armor bearer. That is a common term that gets thrown around today. A particular man or woman may attach themselves to a ministry and say “I will be your armor bearer”. If this is a God ordained transaction it can bring much blessing to both the helper and the minister. I have seen however many would be armor bearers who impeded the ministry rather than assisting it. If this is a calling God has placed on you ask the Father to continually make you an asset to ministry and not a liability. We know of one man who sees his entire place before God to be an armor bearer to different ministries throughout his life. Yet every ministry who allowed him to continue in this capacity has come to nothing. He approached us and for a time he gave the pretense of serving our ministry when in reality he was serving himself. When we ended the relationship his true character was exposed and he was uncovered as major liability to any ministry because of hidden sin in his life. Use great care in who you allow to operationally get close to what God has called you to do.
13 And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. 14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, [which] a yoke [of oxen might plow]. 15 And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. 16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down [one another]. 17 Then said Saul unto the people that [were] with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer [were] not [there]. 18 And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. 19 And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that [was] in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand. 20 And Saul and all the people that [were] with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, [and there was] a very great discomfiture. 21 Moreover the Hebrews [that] were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp [from the country] round about, even they also [turned] to be with the Israelites that [were] with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, [when] they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.
Notice that Jonathan slew the enemy and his armor bearer slew after him. There was no conferring or suggestion from the armor bearer that the might be a better way to proceed. Some times a person who presumes to be an armor bearer thinks it is their job to play the devil’s advocate and continually question and offer counter suggestions about the direction of ministry. That is not the role of an armor bearer. An armor bearer for ministry identifies what the leader is doing and determines to assist and augment what is taking place without interference. That doesn’t mean that a leader cannot be corrected. It simply isn’t the primary role of an armor bearer assistant to do this.
I’ll give you an example. In my early ministry God taught me the power of John 5:19 where Jesus said “do what you see the Father do….” I followed that spiritual principle for 20 years with great outcome both in ministry and my personal life. Then the time came that God told me to give up my position and my successful career as a denominational leader and go be an armor bearer to my father – who also is my spiritual father. First of all I took much criticism for doing this. When I walked away from my career and completely reoriented my life to serve my father there were those who thought I got in the way of plans they had. They thought to exploit my father and make merchandise of him naturally and spiritually. If you are called to be an armor bearer you will get in the way of those with impure motives. The assault that would come upon your leader will fall upon you and you won’t be able to tell them always because God doesn’t want them to be distracted.
God also told me as an armor bearer to my father that I had to trim my words. He said “you find out what your father wants to do and do that – without interfering with your opinions”. He further told me that when my father asked my opinion about something that I was to simply echo back to him what I knew he thought about the situation at hand and not give my own wisdom. This was very challenging because there were times that I didn’t agree with what my Dad wanted to do and I had to hold my thoughts and simply speak support and affirmation to what he was planning.
There were also times that people who were connected with my father offered me financial gain and position if I would leave my father and work for them. An armor bearer will not use their position to better themselves. An armor bearer does not see their place of service as a stepping stone to greater ministry. I turned down powerful positions with astronomical salaries during that time because I determined to stay faithful to what God called me to do in serving my father.
In being an armor bearer to my father the Lord instructed me that His will (God’s will) for my life was whatever my leader wanted to do. He told me not to ask Him (God) what he wanted me to do because God wanted me to do whatever my father wanted to do. This was very challenging and it didn’t just involve ministry it also involved natural things as well. My father had natural responsibilities and properties to care for. I would find myself out 2 or 3 times a week till the wee hours of the morning serving my father’s business interests. My father owned property and every time a storm came through I was out inspecting property, climbing into flood basements, etc., none of which I would have been doing but I was called to be an armor bearer. In all of this I would often look to God and desire to ask Him if He had something else for me to do and he would simply reply that my assignment was not over and I was to continue doing what my leader wanted to do without deviation.
This was a great blessing to me – in due time. My faithfulness to My natural father no just as a son but as an armor bearer is one of the major influences in My life that led to God one day launching Me into a world wide ministry with My wife Kitty. If you are called to be an armor bearer, be a faithful one. God only gives this responsibility to those he intends to promote.
24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed [be] the man that eateth [any] food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted [any] food. 25 And all [they of] the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground. 26 And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that [was] in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened. 28 Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed [be] the man that eateth [any] food this day. And the people were faint. 29 Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines? 31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint. 32 And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew [them] on the ground: and the people did eat [them] with the blood.
Jonathan moves in supernatural strength and inspires the people to great victory in battle. What was King Saul doing? Sitting under a pomegranate tree – telling the people they would not be allowed to eat until they did what HE wanted them to do. What was available. Jonathan didn’t hear this autocratic and unreasonable demand and he at some honey he found. What does honey represent? Honey represents the prophetic word. Remember they are in the land that flows with milk and honey. Many leaders who reject the prophetic expect the people who serve them to excel and succeed without the influence of the prophetic. They just want you to do what they say and be done with it. What is the result? The people become very, very faint. When you are a part of the ministry that rejects the prophetic that is a leadership that is moving in a spirit of King Saul.
33 Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the LORD, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day. 34 And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay [them] here, and eat; and sin not against the LORD in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew [them] there. 35 And Saul built an altar unto the LORD: the same was the first altar that he built unto the LORD. 36 And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them. And they said, Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God. 37 And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day. 38 And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day. 39 For, [as] the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But [there was] not a man among all the people [that] answered him. 40 Then said he unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seemeth good unto thee. 41 Therefore Saul said unto the LORD God of Israel, Give a perfect [lot]. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped. 42 And Saul said, Cast [lots] between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that [was] in mine hand, [and], lo, I must die. 44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan. 45 And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: [as] the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not. 46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place. 47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed [them]. 48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them. 49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchishua: and the names of his two daughters [were these]; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal: 50 And the name of Saul’s wife [was] Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host [was] Abner, the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 And Kish [was] the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner [was] the son of Abiel. 52 And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.
Saul is sitting under his pomegranate tree while the people are warring in his behalf and his son Jonathan is doing exploits in the name of the Lord. Saul commands that no one may eat food till he says and leaves the people exhausted. Saul isn’t hearing from God what he wants to hear so he has the priest (Ichabod’s nephew) cast lots to find out what the problem is. Remember that Ichabod means “the glory has departed”. Jonathan is accused and Saul is going to kill his own son. Those without the glory will always accuse those with the glory. Saul spends the remainder of his reign warring without the glory of God working in his behalf. From this time forward his relationship to his son Jonathan is fractured. We need to learn to identify the characteristics of a Saul leadership yet at the same time doing what God tells us to do knowing that if we provoke the anger of a King Saul – God will defend us as He did Jonathan this day.
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