I Samuel 14:6-7, 12-13
Model of Manhood
Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.” …Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.” Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them.
One of the things I look for in my personal Bible study is an account involving an unnamed person. That is certainly the case here with Jonathan and his mentoring of the young man who bore his armor. We know little more about him other than his loyalty to the prince and his deep desire to follow Jonathan even to death.
Jonathan was a real man. He was a model of manhood for the young man who served as his assistant. My guess is that Jonathan was a role model for more than just this kid. Young men, teenage boys, and preteen lads must have dreamed of the day when they, too, could follow the prince into battle, or at least bear his armor, or at least chase his arrows, or maybe just sit and listen to him tell stories of his adventures. Few men come into our lives like the man Jonathan. But it’s the armorbearer who really gets my attention.
I don’t know his age but let’s say he’s 18 years old. That might be a stretch on the high side. By that age, he’s been six years into manhood according to Jewish reckoning. He’s had some religious upbringing as he undoubtedly recognized a faith moment when he saw one. His military training distinguished him as one who could capably bear the prince’s armor. Jonathan wouldn’t have just anyone at his side. This guy had to be qualified for special forces. He was fiercely loyal. He was brave. He was faithful. And he was only 18, maybe.
He looked at Jonathan as a devoted son looks at his dad. There was something special about this man, some virtue few other men possessed. Jonathan walked like a man. He talked like a man. He thought like a man. He acted like a man. And not just any ordinary man.
Here was a man, a model of manhood. Daring. Bold. God-fearing. A master of weapons. Of all that manhood is, Jonathan defined it well.
He was faithful. He acknowledged that God can save by many, like the entire Hebrew army. But he also believed that God could save by few, even if those few were himself and the young man who bore his armor. With God on his side, that made three, a force greater than a million Philistines.
He was patriotic. The oppressor of his people camped in the mountain pass. Someone needed to take them on and drive them out. Some man needed to exercise his right to bear arms. Some patriot needed to teach young men that no one messes with his country and lives to tell about it.
He was courageous. No one attacks an enemy who is holding the high ground. It’s suicide, crawling and climbing your way to the top only to crest the edge of the cliff to have your head removed by some cocky swordsman. That kind of courage emboldens young men and boys to have the same type of spiritual fortitude. A man whose courage is tempered by faith is unstoppable.
He was inspirational. The young man knew Jonathan’s heart, perhaps revealed to him during countless conversations about matters of faith, matters of manhood, and matters of life. We have but a snippet of a conversation here but it says so much about Jonathan’s ability to inspire others to do great things. If we need nothing else in our world today, it’s men who will inspire boys to greatness.
He was graceful. A man who is a model of manhood is a graceful man. Many things make him so, things like agility, dignity, elegance, goodness, honor, integrity, kindness, loyalty, love, mercy, propriety, strength, and tenderness. He might be a barbarian but he can still be graceful in his barbarian ways. He might be civilized and he should always be graceful in his civilized ways. He should be both, having grit with grace. That was the man Jonathan.
Few other men model manhood like Jonathan did. John the Baptist, the greatest man born of women, tops the list. Jesus, the Man of men, stands above them all. As for men who bear His armor, if we had more like them the world would be on full alert.
Copyright © 2010. Don Hamlin. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.