Week of Monday, June 13 - Sunday, June 19
Mighty Men – Man as Provider
“These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time. And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.” -- 2 Samuel 23:8-10 ESV
Mighty men. I have had the privilege of fighting alongside and commanding some exemplary soldiers during my years in the Army. Men who were of great physical courage, strength, and skill in battle. Some excelled in hand-to-hand combat, lethal in their fighting ability. Others were great in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) situations, anticipating enemy positions and overwhelming them. Still others were excellent marksmen and deadly with their weapons at long ranges.
But my first encounter with a “mighty man” was growing up with my father. He was my hero, having signed up to fight in WWII as a sailor, loaded on a troop transport to cross the English Channel as part of the tip of the spear on D-Day, intent on storming the beaches of Normandy. But he was wounded at the outset, losing an eye on that epic day of battle, and I thank God he made it home alive. As Father’s Day approaches, I think of my dad, who was a “mighty man,” and how he provided an example of courage and sacrifice for me to follow.
Our Scripture reading recounts some select exploits of David’s mighty men. For me, the guy who stands out is Eleazar. We read that the Philistines were gathered for battle, but when the armies of Israel came out to defy them, there was a change of heart. The advance of the superior Philistine force triggered all the Israelite soldiers to turn tail and retreat. Well, everyone except Eleazar. This one man, watching his fellow soldiers blow past him to the rear, stepped forward to meet the enemy. He did not make the cowardly conduct of others the measure of his service. While other men of Israel fled before the enemy, Eleazar courageously drew his sword, charged into the Philistine advance, met them head-on, and as the King James Version puts it, “smote the Philistines.”
You can almost see this bloody scene: Eleazar courageously cutting down dozens with his death-dealing sword, but the Philistine warriors keep coming, and Eleazar keeps swinging. Notice that Eleazar “rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword.” Did you catch that? His hand clung to his sword. His hand was fused to that sword so that the two became one.
Eleazar and his sword is a picture of how we should cling to God’s word. The sword of the Spirit is the most important weapon in our arsenal. It has been said that a true soldier would rather perish than turn loose of his sword! In Eleazar’s case, his grasp was made firmer as the battle grew hotter. He grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go - until he couldn’t let go. And notice the result: “And the Lord brought about a great victory that day….”
Men, this story ought to inspire us to courage. While we watch a lot of guys running away from the conflicts in our culture, I trust Eleazar’s example will light a fire in you. But if we hope to prevail, don’t miss the fact that as Providers of an example for others to follow, we need to have an iron grip on God’s word until God’s word has an iron grip on us! When it does, we can run into the advancing enemy, clinging to that sword of the Spirit and confident of the Lord’s victory! Stand courageous and be a mighty man for God!
- What kind of example are you providing for your family and other men when it comes to being well-read, trained, and fully empowered by the word of God?
- Do you have a daily plan to read it through, think it over, pray it in, and live it out? Check out www.FRC.org/Bible for our two-year Bible Reading Plan.
- Ask God to help you become “fused” to the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and for the courage to advance against the enemies of Faith, Family, and Freedom.