2 Sam. 23:8-12


“8  These are the names of David’s mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. 9  Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, 10  but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead. 11  Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. 12  But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.

There is a lot more to this story than I have included here – you might want to look it up and read the “rest of the story.”  It did strike me, however, as I was studying it that there is a common element in the behavior of each of these three men.  Each one was called upon to fight alone.  Josheb-Basshebeth engaged 800 of the enemy by himself and prevailed.  Eleazar’s companions retreated and left him to fight alone.  He too prevailed.  Shammah stood his ground against the Philistines after his fellow soldiers fled and he defeated the Philistine force by himself.  Notice also that in two of these three cases the Scripture includes the statement: “the LORD brought about a great victory.”
I believe that there are three lessons that we should draw from this account.

Lesson #1 – You may be called upon to stand your ground in a difficult situation.  The truth is that the primary task of the Christian soldier is not to defeat the enemy but to stand firm.  Of course, it is easier to back down or move aside or give up; but that is not the calling of Christ.  Read Eph. 6:10, 13-14.  Christian, the whole purpose of God’s armor is to enable YOU to “stand your ground.”   
Lesson #2 – Not all men are mighty men.  In this account we read that many of Israel’s soldiers retreated in the face of difficult opposition . . . some of them even fled from the field of battle.  Yet they were still the army of Israel!  Nowhere in the passage is a condemning word ever spoken about them.  But friends, we must not overlook the fact that the power of God was not seen in them, it was demonstrated through those who stood firm and faced the opposition with a fierce faith.  
Lesson #3 – When the Lord brings victory it is a great victory – How can one man overcome 800 with only a spear?  Did they all come one at a time like they do in the kung-fu movies?  No, I don’t think so.  After the first hundred or so, I think they would have devised a different strategy!  The bottom line is this: God used these men, but it was God’s might that enabled them to stand.  Based upon the insurmountable odds they faced, that seems pretty clear.  They were mighty men because they faithfully served a mighty God.   Make no mistake about it; great victories are God’s victories!

If you want to see great victories in your life, in your home, and in your church you need to stand firm for God and for what His Word and His Spirit has taught you, even when – in fact, especially when – opposition is strong.  And depend on His power to work through youSoli deo gloria!


--- Pastor Keith Andrews