Leaders’ acts flow from confidence

People look for confident actions in leaders to confirm whether they are worthy of following.

Look at this inspirational introduction of De Waal Esterhuizen on confidence and boldness in leadership (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L9K0f4b1ds )


1 Samuel 14:1-23

1  Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” …

6  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.”  7  So his armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”  8  Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9  If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10  But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.” 11  So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden.” 12  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.” 13  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. 14  That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.

15  And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. 16  Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there… 20  Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man’s sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion. 21  Moreover the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the surrounding country, they also joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22  Likewise all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23  So the LORD saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Why could this act of Johnathan be described as “confident, fearless action”?
  2. What did he state

was the reason for his confidence and fearlessness? [Hint: verse 6]

  1. So where did Jonathan’s confidence stem from?
  2. Jonathan lead his armorbearer into combat against great odds.
  3. What did Jonathan say which made him follow him into this dangerous situation?
  4. How did Jonathan act which made the armorbearer follow him into this dangerous situation?
  5. What do you know about Jonathan’s character which helped the armorbearer follow him into this dangerous situation?
  6. List the consequences of Jonathan’s confident, fearless action in this uncertain situation (verses 14-16, 20-23).

Personal reflection questions and prayer

Jonathan’s confidence was not based on his training or prestige, but in the character and power of the God Whom he served.  His confident, fearless action did not only secure a battle won, but caused the opposition to fear and falter and his comrades to also gain strength and confidence.

  1. Which aspect of your life do you display most confidence?
  2. Why do you feel confident in this area?
  3. Which aspect of your life do you lack the most confidence?
  4. Why do you lack confidence in this area?
  5. Memorize the underlined phrase by Paul and personalize it in a prayer to God as you aspire to understand and grow in confidence:

1 Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”



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