2 SAMUEL 21:15-17 – There was war again between the Philistines and Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary. And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, “You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.”
THEME OF THE DAY: SPIRITUAL COMRADES AND LOYAL FRIENDS. Oh, to be surrounded, supported, and sustained like David was by his men in his time of great need! But first, let’s enter the picture making the case for such people in our lives and to be such people in the lives of others.
Intense war unfolds between the Philistines and Israel. Brutal battles fought. Casualties on both sides. Gruesome scenes on the battlefields embedded in the hearts and minds of the soldiers draining them emotionally and physically. No doubt the results are weariness, exhaustion, and discouragement from such encounters and environment. Even for the leaders. Even for the King as we read – David grew weary.
The Apostle Paul describes the Christian life in his final words to the young pastor Timothy. He does so in a very personal manner – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). He gives us three images of the Christian life; a fight to engage, a race to finish, and a faith to cling to. The first one is the war we are called to. It is a spiritual war between Satan, the world, sin and self. Any Christian who rightly understands even the basics of the Christian life knows this war upfront and personal. And if a believer is spiritually healthy, he or she knows the exhausting nature of the spiritual conflict. Now comes the warning and application from today’s scripture.
First, the warning. When we are physically and emotionally weary, we are prone to more intense attacks from Satan, the world and our flesh. And what must be ever before us is that weariness is fertile ground for discouragement, depression, and even despair. Like David in today’s scripture, but now the application.
How is David strengthened in the battle? Not in and of himself. He has no strength. He is vulnerable to attack. No, his strength is not coming from within but through a little known soldier and loyalist named Abishai. In the physical account of David, a mighty Philistine soldier, Ishbi-benob, is ready to attack the weary king. In steps Abishai and he stops David’s foe. The spiritual application? We need spiritual comrades in arms who are loyal friends. We need those brothers and sisters who will uphold us when we are down; who will bring a word of encouragement when we are discouraged. Basically, we need “Abishais” in our lives but even more importantly, we need to be “Abishais” in the lives of other believers. Are we? Are there fellow warriors in our churches, spheres of influence, and fellowship groups that are tired and need us? Remember these words from the letter to the Hebrews and particularly the command to encourage. It is just that, a command, not an option – But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception (Hebrews 3:13). May the Lord help us be spiritual comrades and loyal friends to others in the fight with us.
PRAYER: “Father, help me be a spiritual friend who comes alongside my brothers and sisters in actions, not mere words.”
QUOTE: “Christians making a difference for Christ are tired and need a word of encouragement. Let’s be that voice.”
Because of Him,