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. And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory. (2 Samuel 23:8-12 ESV)
This chapter goes on with even more accounts of the mighty men of David. When I read these stories I have to ask, “why is this in the Bible?” These are stories like the heroes of the Greek heroic age, similar to Hercules and Achilles. But there are notable differences. Those men stood apart for their individual acts, often in spite of those around them. David’s mighty men were mighty like their leader. David inspired such heroics. His faith in God fueled their own. This is one lesson that God teaches us about God’s anointed. Of course, David was foreshadowing Jesus, God’s anointed, whose own heroic acts are like David’s (see day 268 on giants). God’s anointed fuels our faith too to be mighty men (and women) of God in the Lord’s battle. Another key difference between the Greek hero tales and the Bible’s is who gets the credit for victory. Yes, the mighty men did the fighting but the Bible always brings us back with verses like verse 12 above that ends, “and the Lord worked a great victory.” These stories are also prefaced with God’s Word about a people who are governed justly. They will prosper and the wicked will be brought down. It is the men of faith, the mighty men inspired by their king, that are equipped to carry out the justice!
The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. “For does not my house stand so with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand; but the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire.” (2 Samuel 23:3-7 ESV)
How do you think King Jesus might inspire you to be his mighty man to bring victory to God’s people and justice to the spiritual forces of evil?
Ask God for faith that leads you to mighty acts!
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Sa 23, Gal 3, Ez 30, Ps 17