Becoming Mighty Men of God
Becoming Mighty men of God
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Most people have heard about the mighty men of David. You may have read about the mighty men in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11. Their exploits were legendary: defeating scores of the enemy all alone, taking down giants, and defending their king and land against impossible odds. I’ve often wondered what it must have been like. As a combat veteran, I can imagine battle scenarios, but these men fought hand to hand in extreme weather without reinforcements. If you want to read a very realistic portrayal of David’s mighty men, you should really check out the Lion of War Series by author Cliff Graham. You will not be able to put them down!
But David’s mighty men were fighting a physical battle and, while I’m sure they dealt with this to some extent, they were not waging spiritual warfare. I’m not trying to lead anyone astray and ask you to take up arms and fight in the flesh. No, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:4). We wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).
However, there are many great lessons we can learn about becoming “mighty men of God” through some of the attributes of David’s mighty men.
Mighty Men Have Faith
Adino the Eznite, using a spear, fought against and defeated 800 men at one time. Abishai did the same against 300 men. We’re not talking about people asleep in their beds. We’re talking about warriors who were trying to kill these men. Eleazar fought until his sword was fixed to his hand. Benaiah went into a pit and fought a lion. Just stop and think about these feats for a minute.
I’ve seen men give in to their fear when they were outnumbered by the enemy, when bullets were flying and rocket propelled grenades were being fired in their direction. Trained soldiers reduced to tears, hiding while the battle raged around them. These were men whose fear outweighed their faith. They had no assurance that they were on the side of right. They had no assurance that their army was going to conquer, despite the odds.
Too many men turn and run when they’re overwhelmed by the odds stacked against them. Too many are reduced to tears, crying over what could be or never was. Broken dreams fall through the cracks of life when we do not have enough faith to fight for them. Too many marriages are destroyed by men who run. Too many families crumble. Too many fatherless children seek guidance in all of the wrong places. Why? Because men have lost their faith. They’ve hid from the battle.
They hide in their work and hobbies. In bottles, pornography, and women. These men are cowards. They fear truth like those soldiers feared bullets. They fear confrontation like those soldiers feared the rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). These men find cowards like themselves and then mock men of God who are willing to stand against a multitude of sin with nothing but a book in their meager hands.
Someone fleeing the battle may have called Adino a fool. Ask any battle seasoned soldier what happens to the one who runs away. Someone watching from a safe distance may have prematurely labeled Abishai a dead man, and while he was saying that the enemy would have taken him to his grave. A coward would have yelled to Eleazar to retreat and live to fight another day, but a man of faith knows his life is even as a vapor and there is no promise of tomorrow. The average man would have called Benaiah insane, but a mighty man doesn’t measure life in averages.
The truth is, when your faith is fixed, the opinions of cowards will fall before you as easily as the Philistines at the feet of Adino and Eleazar.
Mighty Men are Determined
Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite stood when everyone else fled. When the Philistines gathered and were ready to take down the nation of Israel, few were apparently willing to defend their nation. Many might have said that what he was trying to defend was not worth it. He stood his ground in a field of lentiles with the possibility of death a very real thing. Yet, to him, it was worth it. Shammah was called upon to defend the land promised to God’s chosen people.
One definition of being a soldier is being willing to stand when others are unwilling to rise. It means to defend one’s country at all costs, to fight for those unable or unwilling to fight for themselves. It is a special kind of person willing to take that stand and answer that call. In fact, according to DMDC reports, less than 0.4 % of America’s population is on active duty military status. Less than half of one percent is willing to stand and defend their nation.
Maybe they don’t see it as worth defending. Maybe they look at the problems and see them as too insurmountable. Maybe they’re ignorant of the war going on and think peace reigns. Most people are ignorant of the fact that soldiers are actively deployed in combat operations around the world at any given time. America still has soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Terrorists still threaten the nation while politicians claim the enemies of the United States have been defeated. These are the kind of people who will flee when the war breaks out on home soil while the Shammah’s of the world will rise, take arms, and defend their nation with their very lives.
And yet, the church continues to let the enemy take ground daily. Television replaces Bible study. Facebook and Twitter replace fellowship. The love of sleep replaces prayer. Fable loving, itching eared church members attack the preacher willing to stand and proclaim that God hates sin and strife. So-called “saints” call witnesses for Christ unloving while the masses continue the broad way to hell.
Corporate oligopolies print counterfeit Bibles by the millions, watering down the truth, removing the miracles of Christ, removing the blood, the penalty for sin, the demand for holiness. The devil embraces these publishing powerhouses, laughing in the face of God as he strategically removes one important truth after another. Fewer and fewer of God’s people look and see the value in that field because culture says plow it up and plant something else.
Fasting becomes outdated, so it’s removed. The sanctity of marriage becomes old-fashioned, so it’s removed. Now there is a version of the Bible for everyone, conveniently and safely catered to their precious needs so that anyone can proclaim themselves righteous, but there is only one man who is still truly righteous, and he has been given a name which is above every name, Philippians 2:9.
Men of God are determined to stand for truth for righteousness. The gifts, ordinances, and blessings bestowed on the church by Jesus Christ mean something to the man of God, and he is willing to rise up in defense of them. When others flee to lives of comfort and false peace, the mighty man of valor raises the banner and declares, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Mighty Men are Loyal
There is a reason that less than one percent of the U.S. population is in the military. War is dangerous, and people value their lives. There is a reason that only a portion of the military is actually comprised of front line soldiers. War is really dangerous when you’re the one actively engaging the enemy, rather than providing support. And there is most definitely a reason that a tiny fraction of the military makes it to the elite ranks of the special forces. To go behind enemy lines is practically suicide.
David had three mighty men of God whose loyalty knew no bounds. When he longed for home, he merely said that he wished he could drink the water from the well in his hometown of Bethlehem. His warriors did not hesitate. They “hazarded their lives” by going behind enemy lines to get him a drink of that water. It was a suicide mention, yet they went without question. Their logic?
They said, “Our king wants something. It’s our duty to get it.”
Loyalty to God requires losing love for self. Those men would not have gone for a pitcher of water if they valued their own lives above the life of their commander. They could have easily gone to a spring, filled it with water, and told David they got it from the well in Bethlehem. But not these men. They were loyal. They were steadfast in their service to him.
Jesus preached hard truths, truths that turned many away from him. Multitudes followed him for the food and healing he provided. We only know the names of just a little over a dozen followers of Christ that stayed with him. In the end, they all valued their lives over his because they ran when the soldiers showed up in Gethsemane. Some followed from a distance after they had safely made it out of sight of the soldiers. Peter even tried to fight, until it was clear he was not going to win. He denied Christ when the possibility of joining him in death confronted him. John stood at the cross, but he was not willing to be hanged beside him.
Mighty men are not loyal in word alone; they have given up self for the cause of Christ. The apostle Paul said he died daily, 1 Corinthians 15:31. He suffered more trials than most can imagine. He was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, starved, and cursed with a physical affliction that forever eliminated his pride.
When God shows them a need, a mighty man acts upon that need because he is determined to serve. His personal needs have been set aside for the cause of Christ, and what God places value on is valuable to him, as well.
A field of lentiles may not have seemed valuable to the ones who ran away, but it was valuable to the man who stood his ground and won the victory. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of not giving up anymore ground. Satan has taken too much. Depression has taken too much joy. Infidelity has taken too much trust. Hate has taken too much love. Broken promises have taken too much hope. It is time for men of faith to stand with determination, draw a line in the sand, and declare that the enemy will not take one more inch!
Mighty Men are Courageous
Earlier in this post I talked about men I watched gripped with fear in the midst of battle. Those men were not cowards. They just allowed their fear to be stronger than their courage. The men who are cowards are the ones that run from their responsibilities and forsake their families. No, those soldiers were brave enough to go. I can’t judge them. I was just as terrified in those battles, and I am no better than anyone. My list of failures is long and shameful.
Courage, though, doesn’t come from the strength in a man’s arms. It doesn’t come from the ability to fight. Any coward can fight. In fact, most bullies are cowards. They attack the weak because they, themselves, are weak. Courage is a culmination of the first three points: Faith outweighs fear, determination breeds resolve, and loyalty puts duty above all else. These are necessary to be courageous.
To be righteous, to rely on God, is to be courageous. David’s mighty men embodied this combination. Valor is defined as “great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.” David’s warriors were absolutely men of valor.
It’s what kept Adino’s knees from buckling in the face of an army, cascading around him like a wave. It’s what kept the sword from falling from Eleazar’s hand when exhaustion threatened to bring him down. It’s what not only took Benaiah into the snowy pit to fight a lion but what brought him, alive, out of that pit.
Sadly, courage is a word tossed around in modern culture.So much so that the word has lost its effectiveness and meaning.
Courage is not attacking someone via social media. Courage is not finding the people who disagree with you and doing your best to slander them and destroy their livelihood. Courage is not co-signing to something you don’t believe in order to save face or prevent backlash from a society that doesn’t care what you think but does want to silence all who oppose its immorality.
Courage stands alone. Courage takes the backlash and does not retaliate in kind. It knows truth and stands resolved in that truth no matter the consequences. Courage battles fear with faith. Courage battles mediocrity with passion, hate with love, insecurity with trust, and it does not give in when it gets hit. Courage battles on.
David’s mighty men fought on. Mighty men of God fight on.
Declaring one’s self a “man of God” does not make one a man of God. It disgusts me when I hear preachers do this. They think a pulpit makes them holy, and they lord their self-proclaimed authority over people. These are cowards, hiding behind a mask of superiority.
The true man of God is humble, and others give him his title.
I use the terms men of God and man of God because they are written in scripture that way. Everyone (man, woman, boy, or girl) who belongs to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is called to be faithful, determined, loyal, and courageous for Christ. However, the statistics for the results of fatherless children do not lie. Neither do the statistics for children whose fathers were just a person in the home, rather than involved champions for their children.
Evil must not go unchecked. Someone must stand in the field, raise the sword, and fill in the gap. Someone must defend truth and right.
So, man of faith, will you also be a mighty man for God?