These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains, he was called Adino the Eznite, because of eight hundred slain by him at one time; and after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle and the men of Israel had withdrawn. He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip the slain. 2 Samuel 23:8-10 NASB
God commanded the military of the nation of Israel to kill certain people. Today, liberals find this military action distasteful. God praised these men for being obedient.
They were not only skillful in their use of the their swords, they used their swords. The armies of Israel had retreated and abandoned David and his men. The folksy International Standard Version translates Eleazar’s stand this way.
When the Philistines had assembled in battle array, the Israeli army retreated, but Eleazar remained standing right where he was and fought so hard against the Philistines that he became exhausted—he couldn’t even let go of his sword! The LORD magnificently delivered them that day. After Eleazar had won the battle, the other soldiers returned, but only to strip the weapons and armor from the dead. 2 Samuel 23:9,10
When the United States of America was mostly a country of hard, physical labor most Americans knew exactly what this verse referred to; so exhausted that he couldn’t even let go of his sword! While most people in what Americans look down on as 2nd or 3rd world countries still understand this level of exhaustion, few industrialized citizens can put themselves into Eleazar’s sandals. The Scriptures exalt Eleazar for working to exhaustion killing people made themselves the Lord’s enemies.
Our command is to
Go, make disciples of all nations
teach them to obey.
Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
The question is, do we have any Eleazars today, willing to skillfully wield the Sword of the Spirit until we are exhausted defending the truth God commands us to defend?
We are commanded to handle the Word of God with precision. That first requires knowing and understanding the Word of God. That also requires using it.
We seem to be surrounded with Christians who either claim to know and understand the Word of God but seldom use it or babes in Christ who have a zeal but not according to knowledge.
We must combine line upon line, precept upon precept, constantly learning, studying to demonstrate God’s approval. Yes, we must obey the whole council of God. But the enemy is coming in like a flood.
Are you willing to be an Eleazar with the Word of God?
Image: James J. Tissot, ‘David’s Valiant Men’ (1896-1902) gouache on board, Jewish Museum, New York. http://www.jesuswalk.com