Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
We read about so many people in the Bible and sometimes it seems like there are not very many people who can be described as loyal, dedicated or faithful. From the unfaithfulness of Adam and Eve to the unfaithfulness of the people destroyed in the great flood, we see that mankind is more about being faithful to their own desires than to the Lord who created them! Even Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had problems with remaining faithful in the early parts of their lives! When you come to the children of Israel in the wilderness, loyalty is not a word that would describe them at all! They complain and want to stone Moses for rescuing them from slavery! They reject God and build a golden calf! They refuse to go into the Promised Land as God has commanded them to do and they ultimately reject the Lord as King and ask for a man to be king instead.
There have been many people throughout history that have claimed to be a disciple (which means student) of God, but they cannot be described as loyal, faithful followers of God! There was a time when Jesus was getting close to His time of crucifixion and He began saying things like “...unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” (John 6:53) Then it says, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66 KJV) Being a dedicated follower of God willing to give everything is different from being a disciple who is just there to recieve something! “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22)
There are some great examples of loyalty, dedication, faithfulness and even honor in a number of people found in God’s Word that have given us an example of what it means to be a loyal, faithful follower of God! David’s Mighty Men were such men! They were called Gibborim (Hebrew: הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים). They are an example of exactly what we are talking about! Faithful men who were ready to serve at a moments notice! Dedicated to their king with a heart of love and a desire to please their King. Willing to give their last ounce of strength in his defense, loyal even unto death!
They were amazing men and they were a rare kind of man in a world filled with people who care more about themselves than others.
At the conclusion of this lesson, students should have a better understanding of what service is to our King and Lord. Students will come to better understand the devotion that David inspired in people and how he inspired that devotion.
Intro: David was the kind of man who inspired loyalty, friendship and love from different types of people, but when you see the love and devotion of the MIghty Men, we are given a glimpse of a man that was not only a man after God’s own heart but that he shared that heart with his people. Many people would read about the Mighty Men of David and think that they were only a bunch of rough warriors who were nothing more than killers with no heart or compassion. But let’s be careful not to apply 21st century American values to 11th century BC Middle Eastern life! These men were very tough and very heroic but they also had a heart that loved their leader - David.
1. The Mighty Men of David!
In order to understand David’s Mighty Men, we need to take a look at a few of them. They were also called “The Thirty”. They were a group of men who had proven themselves in battle and were the most loyal and trustworthy men David had. Along with “The Thirty”, there were three who were simply called “The Three”. They would earn that position with their loyalty and great courage in battle. In today’s terms, they were the Medal of Honor recipients. There were also some others associated with the group that brought the total number of men up to thirty-seven. I think it is likely that not all of these men served at the same time. There would be thirty that would be serving at any given time, but the total that served over the years was thirty-seven. When someone was killed, most likely someone else would take his place. This would have been similar to the Secret Service or Special Forces in our day! They would have to fight in battle in hand to hand combat many times.
These were men who were dedicated to David, not because he was king and wealthy, but because they loved him! They were not only faithful to him after he became king, but they were faithful to him when King Saul was pursuing David and trying to kill him before he was king.
2. Let’s take a look at an elite group of three called “The Three” of David’s Mighty Men:
Adino - “...Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains, he was called Adino the Eznite, because of eight hundred slain by him at one time” (2 Sam. 23:8). More modern translations translate the verse like this: “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.” (NLT) Adino was probably the most successful in battle, courage and loyalty of all of the soldiers of David! He was the leader of “The Three” and “The Three” were men that everyone else wished they were like! They were the toughest of the tough and the bravest of the brave. Their skill with a weapon or with their hands were unrivaled. And Adino was the leader of the leaders! Adino in Hebrew means “His Ornament”! A nickname he obviously lived up to!
Eleazar - He was, “...one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle and the men of Israel had withdrawn. He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip the slain.” (2 Sam. 23:9-10) He was there in battle with David when the whole Israelite army ran away and they were left alone. David was no coward and I am sure he fought well that day, but the story of the day was Eleazar. Some translations say he fought until he could not lift his sword, but that is probably not the intent of the Scripture here. He fought for his king! He protected his king and gave his all for his king until his hand was so cramped and tired that he could not let go of his sword!
The word “clung” here is Dabaq in Hebrew. It means to cling, cleave to, to stay with. Here is the first use of the same word: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24 KJV) This is a wonderful lesson for husbands! A man is to cling to, cleave to, hold to his wife so hard and so long that he can not force his own hands or his heart to let go! That is a beautiful lesson from God through a man who killed 800 enemies of the Lord and His people! (I want to thank Eric Carpenter for the insight on the word cleave!)
Shammah - He was the third highest of all of the armies of Israel: “And the Philistines were gathered into a troop where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the people fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot, defended it and struck the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.” (2 Sam. 23:11-12)
One of the dark spots of the tales of the Mighty Men of David is one of the thirty loyal men who met a sinister end - Uriah. That is another lesson.
3 The Water in the Cave of Adullam
“Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David in the harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the troop of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim.” (2 Sam 23:13) We don’t know for sure if the three men here are the three listed above, but it is likely. It does not really matter though. The truth about the situation here is still the same. The Cave of Adullam has been discovered by archaeologist thirteen miles west Bethlehem and two miles from the site of the great battle between David and the giant. There is a hill there that is above 500 feet tall and has numerous caverns inside. Some of the caves could hold between two and three hundred people.
There are hundreds of people there at Adullam. “So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.” (1 Sam. 22:1-2) Can you imagine what took place there on that day?
In those days, people would often store water in the caves out in the wilderness so that when they or someone passed through there who might not have any water could find some water in the back of these caves. It was stored in large clay jugs, sealed up with leather and usually beeswax. But it was dangerous to drink because there would often be bugs or parasites that could make you sick. It was better than dying of thirst! So just imagine David standing there and having to drink this nasty water. It has been said that to drink this water you would have to clench your teeth as tight as possible to strain the bugs and parasites that might be in the water. And then sip to drink it like that. It is no wonder David is sad and longing for the water from the well in Bethlehem.
The three Mighty Men heard him say this. So, they decide to go and get him what he wants! They travel thirteen miles east to Bethlehem where a Philistine garrison was stationed. There would have been a number of soldiers! They arrived in the area and fight their way into the gate of the city and as two of them continue fighting, the other draws water from the well. He would have had to draw it with a bucket of some kind and then put it into a jug or a skin in order to get it back to David at the cave. Then the three of them have to fight their way out and travel thirteen miles back to the west! And they had to make sure they did not lose the water as they fought their way out! When they arrive back at the cave they give David the water they had worked and sacrificed for!
The obvious question here is why? Why fight their way into a Philistine garrison just to get some water? Why risk their lives? They were not ordered to do it? They did not do it because it was sound military strategy? They did not do it because it was fun? They did it totally out of devotion for the one that they loved! They did it just because David desired it and for no other reason.The tough manly men loved David so much they would do anything to bring him joy!
3. Why Would he Pour the Water on the Ground?
When David sees what they have done and the sacrifice they made, the Bible says, “...he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord; and he said, “Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it.” (2 Samuel 23:16-17)
David understood the great service they had performed. He understood the honor he was receiving from them! He knew that they could have lost their lives! And He knew that he was not worthy of those things. He also knew there is only one who is worthy of all of those things! The Lord Himself! So he pours it out onto the ground as an offering unto the Lord!
The Scriptures do not tell us how they reacted, but I am going to guess that they admired David even more! This man after God’s own heart!
4. We are Called to be Mighty Warriors for our King!
The one thing that strikes me about these men and their mighty deeds, is that the deeds they did were always for others! They did these things for the people and for their king. They served their king not because they had to, but because they wanted to out of the love they had for him. If David could inspire them to do the great things that they accomplished, then how much more should our King inspire us? Our King is the Lord God Almighty! He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! David was just a man. Jesus is our King! He is our Lord and Savior.
What is your devotion to Him really like? They were willing to die just for the chance to give him the desires of his heart. When is the last time you did something just because you wanted to give the Lord the desires of His heart?
I know some will say, “But I can’t do great things for God!” That is not true! You can do anything God desires! He gives you everything you need to get it done! (See: Phil. 4:13.) It is His Strength! His Spirit lives in you if you know Him as Savior. We are called to be mighty warriors of God! Like Adino, there are times when the Lord calls for an attack upon the forces of evil, and we must fight. Like Eleazar, there are times when we may feel that everyone else has retreated. But we must continue to use our sword to fight the enemy until we cannot even let go of our weapon because we have fought so hard and so long. Our sword is the Word of God! Like Shammah, we may find ourselves in a field that is ready to harvest when the enemy attacks and we need to stand our ground and fight the enemy and allow the Lord to give great victory.
Application - Connecting it to Jesus…
The New Testament is not a Gospel that turns God’s people into weaklings! We are called to battle! We are called to adapt! We are called to overcome! We are are called to victory! The Church sitting back behind the lines in the bunker of the church building is not what our King desires…
As I sit here writing this last part of this lesson, I am watching the sun come up in Kathmandu, Nepal. My heart breaks here in this place. There are so many people! Millions who have never heard the name of Jesus and most of them will probably never will. Not to mention the past generations who lived and died here. And this is just one small part of a very large world of dying people. At the Pashupatinath Temple which is a Hindu temple that the Hindus make a pilgrimage to from all over the world, we watched as Hindu worshipers conducted funerals for loved ones who had just died. Their bodies were being burned on the side of the river in a funeral pyre. As about ten funerals were happening in front of me, I could not help but think about their souls that were most likely burning in Hell as their bodies burned there in front of us.
There are just not enough warriors for the Lord fighting to spread the Gospel. Those Christians that are here are heroes of the faith. I have met a number of them while I have been here and they are all loyal, faithful followers of Jesus Christ. In Nepal, you must literally do what the Lord describes… “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” (Matt. 19:29) Most people in the United States do not have to make these types of sacrifices. In Nepal, everyone who becomes a Christian is rejected by their own family and they receive no material belonging. No inheritance! They are for all intents and purposes, dead to their family and to the society as a whole. I admire them for trusting Christ in face of great persecution. They are loyal, even unto death.
Maybe a lack of real persecution is the reason the Church in America is so easily distracted and often even apathetic. We have a hard time in the Church in America even getting people to invite someone to church much less actually tell them about Jesus! It is easy to be a disciple when you do not have to give up everything you love to follow Christ as your King. I pray the Lord will make me one of the King’s Mighty Men! How about you?
What Have You Learned?
Here's the list of Bible readings that you can read the week before you study this lesson:
Monday, 2 SAMUEL 23:18-39, 1 CHRONICLES 11:20-47
Tuesday, 2 SAMUEL 3:6-4:3, 2 SAMUEL 4:5-4:12
Wednesday, 2 SAMUEL 5:1-3, 1 CHRONICLES 11:1-3, 1 CHRONICLES 12:23-40
Thursday, 2 SAMUEL 5:17-25, 1 CHRONICLES 14:8-17, 2 SAMUEL 5:6-10,
1 CHRONICLES 11:4-9, 1 CHRONICLES 3:4, 2 SAMUEL 5:13,
2 SAMUEL 5:4-5, 2 SAMUEL 5:11-12, 1 CHRONICLES 14:1-2,
1 CHRONICLES 13:1-5, 2 SAMUEL 6:1-11, 1 CHRONICLES 13:6-14
Friday, 2 SAMUEL 6:12, 1 CHRONICLES 15:1-28, 2 SAMUEL 6:12-16,
1 CHRONICLES 15:29, 2 SAMUEL 6:17-19a, 1 CHRONICLES 16:1-6
Saturday, 1 CHRONICLES 16:7-43, 2 SAMUEL 6:19b-23
Sunday, 2 SAMUEL 7:1-17, 1 CHRONICLES 17:1-15, 2 SAMUEL 7:18-29,
1 CHRONICLES 17:16-27
Here’s the list of Bible readings that you can be reading the week after you study this lesson:
Monday, 2 SAMUEL 8:1-14, 1 CHRONICLES 18:1-13, PSALM 60
Tuesday, 2 SAMUEL 8:15-18, 1 CHRONICLES 18:14-17, 1 CHRONICLES 6:16-30,
1 CHRONICLES 6:50-53, 1 CHRONICLES 6:31-48
Wednesday, 2 SAMUEL 9:1-13, 2 SAMUEL 10:1-19, 1 CHRONICLES 19:1-19
Thursday, 1 CHRONICLES 20:1, 2 SAMUEL 11:1-12:14
Friday, PSALM 51, 2 SAMUEL 12:15-25, 2 SAMUEL 5:14-16, 1 CHRONICLES 14:3-7,
1 CHRONICLES 3:5-9
Saturday, 2 SAMUEL 12:26-31, 1 CHRONICLES 20:2-3, 2 SAMUEL 13:1-39
Sunday, 2 SAMUEL 14:1-15:12
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