He Is Able to Save

By Pastor Teck Uy

When faced with very difficult situations, we often rely on our strength to overcome them. Instinctively, we take an inventory of what we have and we find comfort in the abundance of our financial and human resources. However, if we consider events of the past as recorded in the Bible, success is not always dependent on how much we have, how many we are or how good and strong we are. Rather, we succeed by the grace and mercy of God alone. This truth was magnified by Jonathan, son of King Saul, when confronted with a great challenge. In encouraging his armour bearer, Jonathan acknowledged that “nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Sam. 14:6). Indeed, the Lord is not bound by the limitations of men. He will have mercy on whom he has mercy and have compassion on whom he has compassion.

As a warrior and a mighty man of God, David said, “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength” (Psalm 33:16). Israel had engaged in great battles and in many of these, they won not because they outnumbered their enemies, but because they trusted the Lord. If number is all that matters to win a battle, Israel would have been swallowed up by their enemies who had vast armies. In fact, there was an instance when they relied on their number and were beaten by their enemies. When they were preparing to conquer Ai, they said, “Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send only two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there” (Joshua 7:3). They were confident that with their number—and with their victory over the walled city of Jericho—they could easily overrun Ai. As it turned out, they were routed and had to run for their lives. In spite of their number and strength, they lost their battle because the Lord was not with them. They sinned against the Lord and the Lord abandoned them.

Even for a prayer to be answered by God, it does not have to be offered by many people. Jesus said, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matt. 18:19-20). We only need one person to join us in our prayers and to agree with us for our prayers to be answered. It is better to have one prayer partner who agrees with you, than having a large number of people that do not agree with you prayers. God will work wonders in our midst when we walk together in unity. It does not matter how many we are; all that matters is that God is with us. The apostle Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

When Jonathan uttered those words of confidence in the Lord, Israel’s army was completely outnumbered by their enemies. There were only six hundred of them and only two, King Saul and Jonathan, had weapons. Assessing the situation from the mindset of a present-day war strategist, there was no way that Israel could have won over their enemies. However, the mind of Jonathan was set on the Lord, the God of Israel. He needed only one to agree with him that if he started the battle and the Lord was with him, Israel would win. When he presented the battle plan, his armour bearer responded, “Do all that you have in mind. Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul” (1 Sam. 14:7). The joining of the heart and soul of these two men brought about a great victory for Israel. This was not Jonathan’s victory, but the Lord’s, because the Lord sent panic among the enemies and they struck each other with the sword. The Bible tells us, “So the Lord rescued Israel that day…” (1 Samuel 14:23). 

The Lord is indeed able to save, whether by many or by few. Therefore, we should not trust in our strength or resources. King David said, “Some trust in their chariots and some in their horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).The proper reaction, then, when we face a challenging situation, is not to take an inventory of what we have in terms of material help, but an inventory of people with whom we can pray. If we can only find one who is willing to pray with us and to be with us in heart and soul, we can certainly overcome our challenges, just as Jonathan and his armour bearer were able to overcome their enemies. God will do his part as we do our part. Let us put our trust in him and he will give us the victory. Praise the Lord!