October 13, 2011

The Power of "Perhaps"

1 Samuel 14:1-23

“Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving …”
1 Samuel 14:6


These words from Jonathan, son of King Saul, came from a background of knowing one’s need. The previous chapter explains that the Philistines had a monopoly on metalworking, and they deprived Israel of the ability to make metal tools and weapons. As a result, when the army of Israel gathered, only Saul and Jonathan had a metal sword and spear.

In this desperate situation, Jonathan, as a person of faith, aimed to be used by God. He was uncertain about the future, but he was certain that God could save his people. So Jonathan and his faithful armor-bearer went out to attack the Philistines, the enemies of God.

Often we are tempted to hold back from a step of faith unless the outcome is assured. For example, we hesitate to invite a person to church unless we are sure they will say yes. We don’t want to appear foolish. And yet, the line between foolishness and faith has always been a matter of perspective.

Jonathan set out with no guarantee that God would give him the victory. He only knew that Israel totally depended on God and that God could give success—and that was enough.

As people of faith, we need to be open to “perhaps” moments in which we follow God, not necessarily knowing the destination but trusting the guide.

Dear Spirit, guide us in all truth, and especially guide us in moments of uncertainty. May we know the power of following you and you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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