Memo 1087: Stop Running
When people ask me how I do what I do, I tell them that I stopped doing what I can't do to focus as often as possible on what I do best. I then qualify that by saying, "The problem is, I do very few things well." By that, I mean that I have a few gifts but I'm sorely lacking in many areas, which is why I need to be with many other people who can do the things I can't if I am going to be successful. The same was true for David and is true for you as well.
David couldn't have done what he did without being surrounded by capable, gifted people. Those men were so skilled that the Bible makes mention of their names and describes some of their exploits. In fact, they were part of an elite group titled David's Mighty Men. This week, let's look at one of those mighty men by the name of Eleazar to see what he had to do to maintain his throne or earn his place among David's elite warriors.
MOCKING THE ENEMY
While all these studies have focused on David, let's read about Eleazar to see what we can learn from him about maintaining the inheritance God has for us:
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 for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, 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 (2 Samuel 23:9-10).
Have you ever made bold statements you could not back up with action? It seems that David's men did that on this particular occasion, taunting the enemy but then retreating when the enemy advanced. If you're going to maintain your throne, you have to back up your talk with some walk and stand your ground. That's what Eleazar did and the Spirit considered it worthy of recording his efforts for posterity. Eleazar stopped running, stood his ground, and fought so long and hard that his hand froze into the shape of the sword he was holding.
TIME TO STAND
It's easy to brag of how powerful God is and to proclaim the paraphrase of 1 John 4:4, "Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world!" or "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:12). It's much more difficult to walk out that truth when faced with seemingly invincible enemies like doubt, fear, lack of resources, discouragement, mistakes, lack of support from others, and powerful opponents who do not want you to do God's will. The temptation then is to flee, at least in your mind, finding some convenient excuse to justify your procrastination or retreat. At some point, Eleazar stopped running and stood his ground. However, he had to stand alone, and his comrades eventually returned not to fight, but to help gather some of the spoils of victory for themselves.
If you're going to gain and maintain your throne, you'll have to do more than talk. Talk is good but then you must back up your faith claims with faith actions, sometimes in the face of what seems like insurmountable obstacles. Have you been running from your throne because the battle's too tough? Is it time you took a stand and said, "This is where God wants me. This is what He wants me to do," and then do it so long and with all the strength God supplies?
Eleazar fought so long and hard that when he went to put his sword down, he couldn't do so. His hand muscles had assumed the shape of his sword handle. That's what it may take for you to maintain your throne, but if you're willing to pay the price, then you too will be counted among God's warriors whose testimony, like Eleazar's, will inspire and provide for many others. Have a blessed week!