“These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors.” (2 Samuel 23:8, NLT)
I read the above verse a little over a week ago. It was one of those seemingly small details that stood out to me one morning. I returned to read it several times as it kept pushing at me, begging for my attention.
King David commandeered an army. This chapter divides them into two groups: the three and the thirty. But surely there had to be many more than these. This had to be the elite group, perhaps those closest to him, the bravest, the most wise. Maybe the Navy Seals of Old Testament times.
Not sure. But I know this … there was something unique about them because they stood out head and shoulders above the rest. And I wanted to know what made them unique. What was their secret?
The three were Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah.
- Jashobeam, we are told, used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle (see 2 Samuel 23:8).
- Eleazar stood together with David against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. He kept on fighting “until his had was too tired to lift his sword”
(see 2 Samuel 23:10).
- Shammah held his ground in the middle of a field when attacked by the Philistines and again, the Israelite army fled. He held his ground and beat back the Philistines (see 2 Samuel 23:12).
These three men were singled out in Scripture for their brave deeds. When the others fled, they defied the odds and fought the battle. Being one who is a “tuck my tail between my legs and run” sort of person, this truly impresses me. I have come back to this short section to read it again and again, the desire growing in me to be more like them and here is what I am learning:
- The Lord will equip us. Jashobeam used his spear to singlehandedly kill his enemies. He did not see himself as ill equipped. He did not wish for other weapons. He used what had been supplied. “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil” (Ephesians 6:13, NLT).
- Keep on fighting. Eleazar kept on fighting until his hand was too tired to even lift his sword. “Eleazar was so intense and unrelenting in his attack that he ceased only when muscle cramps temporarily disabled him” (from the New American Commentary, Vol. 7, page 469). “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9, NLT).
- Hold your ground. Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field. He did not give up an inch to the Philistines. “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11, NLT).
In each of these battles, we are told the Lord brought about a victory, a great victory.
And He will do the same for each of us.
“Then after the battle you will still be standing firm” (Ephesians 6:13b, NLT).