Summary: Eleazer fought for God and David against the Philistines until his hands were sore. Do we 'fight the good fight' with ALL our might, not to get saved, but because we are?
2nd Samuel 23 verses 8-12
The First book of Kings records that Eleazer was one of the three mighty men who fought for David against the Philistines.
Scripture records how Eleazer was with David when they taunted the Philistines who had gathered at Pas Dammim for battle against the Hebrews, or Israel, the people of God.
The Philistines were no ‘push-over’ and were good fighters and well-armed,
and Scripture admits that they were able to push David and his men back,
but Eleazer did not retreat even when his king and his companions did.
He maintained his position; he stood his ground and struck down, killed,
the Philistines until his hand grew tired and froze to his sword,
and because of his commitment, his bravery, his dedication,
the Lord brought about a great victory that day.
We sing MP143 which is RH 432,
‘Fight the good fight with all thy might,
Christ is thy strength and Christ thy might’;
beautiful words and a nice tune, but hardly militaristic or stirring.
Have we; do we, ‘fight the good fight with all our might’ until it hurts?
Eleazer did, and the Lord was able to bring about a great victory through him.
It is not only warriors who ‘fight the good fight’;
all born again believers do, or should do;
whether they preach, or teach children,
or photocopy, or visit, or make tea, or clean the church.
Everyone who engages in the service of the Lord is a ‘warrior for Him.
So many people do not seem to appreciate that Christianity
is not just about religion, about church-going;
that Christianity is not just a weekend activity, or a hobby,
but a fight, a battle, FOR the kingdom of light
against the powers of the kingdom of darkness.
Q. do we fight until it hurts?
Have we fought, are we fighting, so much that our sword
or whatever we use in His service, is froze to our hands?
Q. Eleazer was tired, but he kept on fighting until the battle was won.
Are we tired, wounded, shattered, bleeding, scarred, in our battle for the King,
the King of kings,
but even so, we are not prepared to retreat or even rest?
In the Catechism that I was taught when at school,
the 1st question was ‘Who made you?’,
the answer being ‘God made me’.
Question 2 was ‘Why did God make you?’
and the answer was ‘God made me to love Him and serve Him in this world,
and be happy with Him for ever in the next’.
Is this what keeps us going, keeps us fighting, keeps us persevering,
24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year?
It should be, because that is how Eleazer saw it,
and that’s how Jesus loves us,
and how much God pours His grace and forgiveness on us.
Jesus was the ultimate ‘Suffering Servant’,
prophesied in Isaiah chapters 52 and 53
and fulfilled at Bethlehem through the incarnation when the Word became flesh,
and at Golgotha, Calvary, when he shed his blood and died for us,
but there have been many other ‘suffering servants’ in the history of the church,
in the past, such as St Valentine, and St Polycarp in the early days of the church,
and William Tynedale and Miles Coverdale in the days of the Reformation,
and there are still many in the present, such as Pastor Youcef Nadakharni in Tehran,
and, if God should will it and allow it, there will be many more in the future,
and we should be prepared to be one of them,
willing not only to have sore hands,
but to suffer unto death for the Gospel if it should be our lot,
rather than deny Christ before our enemies
and risk having him deny us before His Father in Heaven.
William Booth, in the early days of the Salvation Army, led his soldiers in marches through the streets of London and other cities, singing Gospel songs and giving out tracts and demonstrating outside pubs and gin palaces where so many people, who did not have much money in the first place, wasted it on drink;
and the brewers and publicans paid louts to throw mud at them, and rotten eggs and stale beer and even dead cats, and spit on them.
When they finished their marches and their clothes, their uniforms,
were covered in filth, and they went to wipe it off, Booth told them not to, because the stains were their medals,
evidence that they had fought the good fight, and it was a real fight,
not just a metaphorical one!
Do you have such stains, such wounds, such scars?
Do your hands hurt and your muscles ache because of the battle,
the weight of the sword,
from hacking at the enemies of God?