Josheb, Eleazar, and Shammah are three names linked forever in the Bible. Who? No, they were not the three guys in the fiery furnace. That would be Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego! The first three were collectively known in Israel as “David’s Mighty Men.” They were renowned for their battle field exploits, each one having distinguished himself with a courageous stand against impossible odds. Josheb fought with a spear and in one day killed 800 of the enemy. Eleazar fought so hard and long one day that the story says “his hand froze to the sword!” Shammah single-handedly defended a position against a whole troop. They were the Special Forces of the Israeli army of that day, the kind of men you wanted on your side.
They were tough, but yet there is a tender side to them as well. Take a look.
“While David was holed up in the Cave, the Philistines had their base camp in Bethlehem.
David had a sudden craving and said, “Would I ever like a drink of water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem!”
So the Three penetrated the Philistine lines, drew water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem, and brought it back to David.
But David wouldn’t drink it; he poured it out as an offering to God, saying, “There is no way, God, that I’ll drink this! This isn’t mere water, it’s their life-blood—they risked their very lives to bring it!” So David refused to drink it. This is the sort of thing that the Three did.”
(2 Samuel 23:14-17, The Message)
Their leader expresses a nostalgic desire for a drink of water from a well near his old home. He was just talking, sort of thinking out loud. But these Mighty Men loved him so they went and got one for him! David’s response is to pour it on the ground! The cost of that canteen of water was simply too high for him to drink it, so he turned it into a sacrifice to God. Was this a sign of disrespect? No way. It was a tribute to the men and their courage.
Do you have friends like that, who will give their utmost for you, who are really ‘there’ for you when you need them?
Are you a friend to someone in that way, where nothing is too costly, where your desire is to see them succeed?
We Believers talk about being the ‘Body of Christ’ and our love for each other. But, my observation is that a lot of our words about being connected are just hot air. Not many of us are dedicated to one another to the point of dying to self. A lot of us get irritated if somebody parks in our spot or sits in our pew! What a ‘kingdom difference’ we will make when we give up our self interest and form bonds that no one can break, that do not allow for selfish pique or unkind words or envious rivalry.
What causes people to form that kind of connection, the type of bond seen in the story of David’s Mighty Men?
First, there must be a shared mission of consequence. We need to sense that we are doing something of such importance that we are willing to forget about ourselves, our personal comfort, our reputation for the sake of seeing that mission accomplished.
Second, there must be a unifying leader who demonstrates his own commitment to the team, who teaches those he leads to think of the group first, and of themselves as individuals secondarily.
Third, there must be a realized reward that all can enjoy when the effort is finished.
Believer, our mission is to save the world! Is that mission big enough to pull us together? If we’re just thinking about building a church building, or creating a comfortable space for ourselves, or helping our kids be happy… we’ll fight with each other. IF we take up God’s challenge to establish His kingdom of love and light in this loveless and dark world, we’ll die for the cause and for those who work along side of us.
Our leader is Jesus Christ and He died for the team! His example ought to be enough, don’t you think?
God’s reward is available to all who hang in there, who finish the battle with honor. “And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.” (2 Timothy 4:8, NLT)
Are you ready to join the team, to become one of God’s Mighty’s? The world is waiting!