Life In The Bean Field

lentils Today I stepped outside to enjoy the coolness of the morning and there is not a cloud in the sky. It is quiet and the day has begun in a spectacular way. Simply gorgeous. The only thing missing is a bluebird on my shoulder. Cats rubbing on your ankles is affectionate and nice I suppose, but, just once, I’d like to try the whole bluebird on my shoulder thing.

Especially on mornings like this one, it’s easy to forget, at least temporarily, that we are engaged in a spiritual war. Today, we are called to engage against the enemy wherever we are. The location and circumstances will vary, but the call to war remains for each of us. Mortification of sin, defense of the faith against false teachings, battle after battle, day after day. All who name the name of Christ Jesus as Lord and Master must take our stand in some way today.

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of a rather obscure character in Scripture named Shammah. You can read a little (very little) about him in 2 Samuel 23:1-12, which tells us of a few very special men. Lawless, rough, fierce soldiers of David whose loyalty and love for their leader had been summoned and they answered the call with unfettered bravery, willing to give their very lives at a moments notice to, and for, the one they had come to love.

They are known as ‘the Three’. The elite, the Green Beret’s of King Davids fighting men. Out of 30 special warriors, these three made up the best of the best. They would not not flinch under attack from the enemy. You could depend on them, and David did.

Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah. Each had risen to fame by great victories against overwhelming odds.

I especially like the third fellow for some reason. Shammah. Maybe it’s because he is described as “the son of Agee the Hararite.” Hararite is “mountaineer.” Maybe. But mostly I think he draws my attention because of his commitment. Look at this passage for a moment:

And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory. – 2 Samuel 23:11, 12.

literally….And Jehovah worked out a great salvation.

Shammah was a soldier, and apparently a great one. Why this guy decided to take his stand in an open field is unknown, and quite frankly, beyond me at the moment. Clearly, the man “took his stand” out in the open and bravely faced the enemy.

Think about it. Taking your stand, outnumbered, against the enemy, in a flat, open field. No cover, no trees or rocks to hide behind when swords start flying. If you lay down, you’re dead, if you stand tall, seems like you’re a dead man as well. There’s just nothing there that makes for good fighting ground. Aside from that, all his buddies have fled. He’s alone. It’s him, a few mosquitoes and a bunch of Philistines who are not here to welcome him to the neighborhood.

Would you take that kind of stand in that situation? Shammah did. His love and loyalty to his master drove him to take that kind of position. That’s just amazing loyalty and commitment isn’t it?

There is much to contemplate here for Christians. Here are just a few thoughts. I trust they may be helpful.

1) Do you see David’s ‘mighty men’ so eager to please him and give their lives for him? Should our devotion, loyalty, commitment and readiness to give all not exceed these ruffians who served a mere man?

2) We as Christians should desire an extraordinary commitment to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. We should strive to be faithful even when our fellow warriors forsake us for safer, more pleasant surroundings. When others follow the crowd, you stand in your bean field and trust the Lord for victory. If you do not fight them here, you will fight them later. If you give ground now, they will take more than you desire. You know the old saying, “Give a Philistine an inch…”.

3) There is no such thing as a truly ‘casual Christian’. We are daily at war. It is not easy, it is difficult, and often times we stand physically alone in these battles with the Lord as our Guardian and Protector. Trust, no matter the odds. His word is sure in every battle.

4) These three great warriors of David’s were willing to go the distance no matter what, even if it meant they were the last ones standing. They had extraordinary commitment. Are we that committed to the cause of truth? They were fighting different battle fronts, but the same war. Our local fellowships should be the same way. We each individually have our own battles, but we are in this together and fighting the same war, for the same end, the glory of God in Christ Jesus.

2Ti 2:4  No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

Welcome to the bean field.

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