David’s Mighty Men
Bible Reading for: May 17
2 Samuel 23–24
David’s Mighty Men are an example of Christ and His Mighty Men. We Christians are His Mighty Men. Will you stand with Him through thick and thin, following His orders with little regard for your own desires?
We’ve heard a mention here and there of David’s Mighty Men as we’ve read the story of David over the past few days. Today we get a little better look at these guys, though it is not an exceptionally close look. I’m going to take a radical turn on you here, but did you ever read “The Three Musketeers”. It is a story by Alexandre Dumas that tells the tale of three members of the French king’s personal guard, and a fourth, d’Artagnan, who wishes to be a member of the guard. I read the book a few years ago and today, as I read about the Mighty Men, I was reminded of the book.
David was surrounded by his personal guard; the Mighty Men. These were exceptionally capable, strong, brave men. Within this cadre of 37 elite men are three that stand out from the rest; Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah. A fourth is also mentioned as exceptional, though not at the level of the three. His name is Abishai and he is the brother of the commander of all the army, Joab.
Okay so I’m seeing these three, obviously, as the Three Musketeers. I see Abishai as d’Artagnan (d’Artagnan’s father had a relationship with the “Captain of the Guard” as does Abishai’s father). Now I can’t accuse Monsieur Dumas of stealing from the Bible since he admits he stole the initial idea for the story from a fellow in Amsterdam, Pierre Rouge, but I wonder if these mighty men might not have offered a little inspiration.
The story of these three sneaking through enemy lines, to bring the king a drink from the well in Bethlehem, fires the imagination. It fires the imagination partially because they tell us so little about the escapade. But David’s response tells us a bit about the effort required to pull off this bit of daring do.
2 Samuel 23:15-17 ESV
“And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord and said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.”
Let me get this straight, the king, feeling a bit sorry for himself, whines that he wishes someone would give him water from the well in Bethlehem, and these three, ever at the ready for their king, fight their way through enemy lines, grab this water, fight their way all the way back to David and deliver this water? Is that right? This was a kind of “snap out of it” slap in the face for David. Notice what he said: “Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?”
David was feeling sorry for himself. I can’t say as I blame him considering the years he spent living and hiding in caves from Saul and the Philistines. His mighty men, however, gave him strength by reminding him that he was not alone. He was surrounded by mighty men who would fight to the death for him. Their courageous act of valor put a little steal back in David’s spine when he was at his lowest.
There are a few lessons for us Christian men in this story. How dedicated to Christ are you? Are you one of His Mighty Men? At the mere utterance of His desire, will you go off and fight your way through the slings and arrows the world throws at you to achieve His will? Remember you have the armor of God; you have His Holy Spirit; if God be for you who can be against you? Nothing can stand in your way when you are completely committed to God and about His business.
Secondly, we all get to feeling like David at times. We feel alone. We feel like the world is against us. We feel like trouble will never end. These feelings can be particularly acute in us American men who have been raised on this vision of rugged individualism, as exemplified by John Wayne. I’m afraid a John Wayne like approach to the world is not biblical. God expects us to lean on each other. As great as each of those three Mighty Men were, I wonder if they would have made it if they had gone individually rather than as a group. Something tells me they wouldn’t have.
Brother, you are not alone, and you should not attempt to go it alone. As iron sharpens iron, we Christian men need to sharpen each other. We need to come into the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we need to obey His orders and fight His battles His way; and we need to do it together. In the service of our King, let our battle cry be that of the Three Musketeers; “One for all, and all for one!”
Victorem Viver! (Live Victorious!)
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
Alternate Reading Plans
Bible Order: 2 Chronicles 13-17
Chronological Order: Psalms 3-4, 12-13, 28, 55
New Testament Only: John 2