My church, my Sunday School teachers, my Christian School teachers, my Youth Group leaders, and my Catechism class all failed me.
I went to church growing up, both morning and evening services. I attended Sunday School almost every morning it was offered. I went down to Children’s Church and Children’s Worship and listened to the stories and sang the songs.
In high school I attended youth group regularly and my Jr and Sr year I went to Catechism on Wednesday nights.
I have attended Christian schools from kindergarten through my undergraduate degree.
I thought I had the stories down. I thought I knew all the great Bible characters. Bible trivia was never a problem for me. I even have the Old Testament books of the Bible memorized in order, and I used to have the New Testament memorized as well.
This isn’t supposed to be a list of why I am so awesome, not at all. This is to make a connection to those who have a similar background. This is to show that organized religion can organize around certain ideas and stories and leave out others that do not fit our picture of God’s love and kindness.
This summer, at a Christian music festival, there a was an advertisement going on up on the screens. It was for these books that were supposed to get guys, mainly young adults, more interested in some Bible stories. It was to show that the Bible is not just these nice stories that show us love, but there are stories of intense people leading intense lives.
David and his mighty men.
Wait, what, who?
Have you heard of them? Because I hadn’t. Until I looked up the word “warrior” in the Bible. Our next stop on this trip is in 2 Samuel. Now David lead a pretty interesting life. We already talked about him using his music to rid Saul of an evil spirit and of his stone and sling battle against Goliath.
Now somewhere in all of this, he was also anointed by Samuel to become the next king. King Saul knew of this, and was not happy. David had to go into hiding for a while until it was his time to take the throne. Now I have heard of the story of David hiding in a cave with some of the guys who came with him, hiding from Saul trying to track him down.
I have heard the story of the nice David who, when Saul came into his cave to sleep, didn’t kill Saul. He only cut off a piece of cloak, just to show Saul what he could have done. But David and his mighty men?
“8 These are the names of David’s mighty warriors:
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 warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim[d] for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, 10 but Eleazar 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.
13 During harvest time, three of the thirty chief warriors came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 At that time David was in the stronghold,and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 15 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 16 So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. 17 “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it.
Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.” – 2 Samuel 23:8 – 17
He had more than just this three, he had around 30 or so of them, but these were his chief three. Have you heard of these men before? Where is the awesome sermon that depicts these battle scenes?
Of course, if you read closely, it is not really about these men. The descriptions of their exploits usually end with ” the Lord brought about a great victory.”
You are a mighty warrior. You are one of David’s mighty men. You may be facing a battle against grief of losing a love one. You may be waging a war against depression. Maybe your self-esteem is under attack. Maybe you need to battle in prayer for someone who is struggle. There are a lot of battles, a lot of wars, that we go through. We are almost constantly under attack. But guess what? The Lord brought about a great victory. Notice I did not saw that He will bring about a great victory, but He has brought. Now, you might be thinking “No, I have not won yet, I am still fighting.” Yes, we may be still fighting, but we have already won. When God created his salvation plan, when Jesus died on the cross, and when he rose again, that is when we won. There are still a few more battles to play out, but we fight knowing that we are already on the winning side.
Just like how David’s men knew that David was anointed by God, they already knew they were fighting for the winning king. Wage your wars and fight your battles with that fierce confidence. We have already won.