Tuesday, June 21, 2005


In 1 Samuel 14 there is a small story of Jonathan (King Saul's son) and an unnamed young man who was his armor bearer. The scene of this little story begins when Israel is camped at Gibeah in war with its age old enemy the Philistines. Without anyone’s knowledge Jonathan and his armor bearer cross over the valley to attack the Philistines. He resolves to take on the enemy by himself, telling his young servant that it is not by numbers one gains victory but by the hand of the Lord.

Observe - In his quest Jonathan does not go alone, but takes with him this trusted servant, secondly we see he puts his trust in the Lord who alone is able to deliver the enemy into his hands. At the same time the armor bearer willingly follows his master and encourages him to do all what is in his heart. Jonathan attacks the Philistine camp and the brave two, leave twenty men dead within half an acre of the onslaught. Panic strikes the enemy and the Lord Gives victory over the Philistine camp to Jonathan and his armor bearer.

We need a friend who is an encourager like Jonathan’s armor bearer.

Let's move on to another story from 2 Samuel 15 - David is fleeing from his own son Absalom who has usurped the throne. A band of followers and friends follow him into the desert. Did I say friends? Who are these friends who stick by David in the time of his calamity? Surprisingly, many of his friends are foreigners, who were once sworn enemies, against whom David had led military campaigns. Among them worthy to be mentioned is my favorite - Ittai the Gittite, a mercenary from Gath (hometown of Goliath) who had become one of King David's trusted friend and ally. King David tells Ittai to take his family and go back to his own country instead of running away with him to the desert where there is no future and certainty. Ittai's answer is worth noting: But Ittai replied to the king, "As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be." Oh! What faithfulness. Oh! What an encouraging friend in the time of dire need.

We need a friend who is an encourager like Ittai the Gittite.

These stories remind me that we not only need encouraging friends but also pursue to be a friend who encourages others in the tough walk of our Christian lives.

I am also reminded of the truth that there is a Friend who is closer than a brother (though He is the King of Kings)...He is always there as our constant Encourager. Ittai's answer teaches me that I am servant of the Lord of heaven and earth, and so in death or life, where my Master will be there will his servant also be.


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