Last week we talked about Moses, an unlikely player in our history. He had everything it took to be a great leader, but needed that extra push to believe in himself, and stand up for what was right.
This past Sunday, Blake talked about a different kind of character in the Bible. While there are no shortage of unlikely men, there are also a plethora of mighty men. These are the strong guys, the ones who armies fear, and women, I imagine, swoon over. These are the guys who get their own comic books and end up on the cover of cereal boxes.
You've heard of some of them before; Samson, Elijah, and David.
But there are some lesser known names, too.
2 Samuel 23: 8-17
These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.
Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!
Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.
Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.
David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
The Three! If that's not a comic book with a movie trilogy to follow, then I don't know what is.
These three guys risked everything to get their king a drink of water. That's some loyalty right there. They must believe in their king 100%.
What can we learn from this?
When the king wants water, you'd better get it!
No. I think there is more to it than that.
David's men took a stand for him. Jesus took a stand for us. It's time for us to take a stand for Jesus.
Although David was a great king, he was still just a man; a flawed, sinful man. The king we serve is the king of the universe. He created time and space, and us. The universe calls out to him constantly. He is our king. He is our God. He loves us more than we can possibly imagine.
He's not asking for water. He's not asking for much. In the grand scheme of things, he doesn't need us. He could destroy the enemy whenever he wanted to.
I'm not going to pretend like I understand his ways. They are his, and his alone. But, what I do know is this,
He created us in his image. That image is the image of love - perfect love. We turned away from love, and separated ourselves from him. He came to earth, was born a baby, lived among us, and taught us what it meant to love each other. Then, died for us to pay the price for our sins. Three days later, he defeated death, and rose again so that we could once again live in his image.
God took a stand for us so that we could spend eternity with him.
It's time for us to take a stand for Jesus. It's time for us to practice love. It's time for us to realize that we are no longer slaves to sin. We, as believers, can begin to experience eternal freedom now, right now.
We can be mighty. We can take a stand. We carry a message from our king. We carry a message of love. We have the responsibility to speak that message. But more importantly, we have the responsibility to practice that message.
We are a people moving out in ever-widening circles to change our world.
How do we do that?
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.