Summary: A Message for Men about Teamwork
Theme: A Few Good Men
Text 2Samuel 23:8—17 “These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. 9And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 10He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. 11And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. 12But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory. 13And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. 14And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! 16And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 17And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
One of the most delicate and difficult topics to discuss in Church circles is the topic of church conflict. Writers like Speed Leas (who wrote Moving your Church through Conflict), Ron Susek (that wrote Friestorm) and Friedman (who authored Generation to Generation) have studied church conflicts and discovered that they have a cycle that usually goes through five levels or phases and sometimes matters are never solved and the church is destroyed. Some churches live a state of constant denial about this issue, claiming and hoping that the Holy Spirit’s presence in the church or a good revival will just wash the conflict away. Seldom do we hear sermons on this theme. For the most part writers are silent on this topic opting for the more holy themes. Conflict however is not prejudiced. It does not discriminate select or favor anyone. I understand that most people when asked about the source of conflict would argue that it comes from the devil and it is ultimately so but there are those among us who cooperate with satan like Pharaoh and Nebchadnezzar did. There are those in the midst of us who Paul addressed saying keep the unity of the faith in the bond of peace. There are those who Paul warns in Gal 5:15 “… if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”(KJV) There are those who James speaks to in James 4:1 “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” KJV
Church conflicts have devastated entire congregations and even crippled and hampered or destroyed denominations. Church meetings have been the scenes of wars and rumors of wars. People have told me of meetings where some people attend with a pistol or a lawyer. Nine out of ten times it is the pastor who is about to become that night’s dinner. People come intent to chew him up and spit him out. Sometimes the battle lines are drawn between two powerful groups and the mine fields of Iraq look a lot safer than the church’s parking lot. Perhaps the worse church war I heard of is a case of a church in Maine where the members were in disagreement over some issue and two groups emerged. When the matter could not be settled one group decided to poison the other group by putting arsenic in the church coffee pot. This is extreme and unusual but there continues unabated a poisoning of minds and a ceaseless assassination of character in the body of Christ. Instead we ought to learn to work together like a team, committed to each other determined to support one another and protect one another for the glory of God for we do not know what God is about to give birth in our brother or sister and He may be using us to help in this process. Here an episode in the life of David is very relevant. In 2 Samuel 23 we are introduced to David’s good men thirty-seven of them in all. Of the 37, six were the most outstanding. The three that occupied fourth, fifth and sixth places, were Abishai, Benaiah and Ashael. One day while David was hiding out from the Philistines in a cave called Adullam. The Philistines were in control of Bethlehem. Now you are aware that David was born and grew up in Bethlehem. One day he was longing for some water from the well in Bethlehem. He said “Oh that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem.” His three Good men, Abishai, Benaniah and Ashael heard him and the three of them decided to give David his wish. So they risked their lives and broke through the Philistines lines just the three of them by themselves and they got the water from the well in Bethlehem and brought it to David. These were great warriors. However these were not the greatest of David’s warriors.