Summary: To serve the Lord appropriately we need to be courageous and brave.
If you remember, last week I ended the service reminding everyone of who we were. As we saw in the scriptures that we “are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,” being all of these things is a great privilege, but there is something else that we are. As the chosen people of God here on earth, we are not only His representatives, we are also His army. We have been chosen to defend and expand God’s kingdom here on earth. But in order to do this there is a certain quality that we must possess. To serve the Lord appropriately we need to be courageous and brave. One of the biggest truths about the Christian walk is that it is not for the fainthearted, or the weak; the Christian walk is not for the cowards. To be a genuine Christian you have to be brave.
I say that we have to be brave because as we all know, the more faithful we are to God, and the more we attempt to lead a holy life, the more we will be attacked by the powers of darkness. Powers that only seek to separate us from the path that God has chosen for us. The problem is that if we are not brave, if we lack the courage to persevere, then when the battles present themselves we will more than likely retreat from the battle field and will cede territory to the enemy. This is why today I want us to examine this part of our Christian life that is so important. Today I want us to examine our courage. We need to do this because it is quite easy to say that we are brave or courageous, it is easy to brag about how strong we are, but when the battles present themselves, do we stand and fight? Let’s now turn to the scriptures that we will be using today.
1 Chronicles 11:12-14 - After him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. 13He was with David at Pasdammim. Now there the Philistines were gathered for battle, and there was a piece of ground full of barley. So the people fled from the Philistines. 14But they stationed themselves in the middle of that field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the LORD brought about a great victory.
As I always say, to get a better understanding of the message that God has for us today, it will be necessary to conduct a brief history review. At his moment in time the people of Israel had suffered a severe defeat at the hands of he philistines; their king and his heirs had been killed, and their cities were now occupied by the invading force. This is something that is very well reflected in 1 Chronicles 10:6-7 when we read “So Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together. 7And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that they had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities and fled; then the Philistines came and dwelt in them.” Because Saul had not remained faithful to the Lord in all things, his kingdom was defeated and the kingdom was turned over to David. With this event occurring, David was now the ruler over all of Israel. This is something clearly stated in 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 when we read “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. 14But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” Tell the person next to you, unfaithfulness will bring defeat. This more or less brings us to this point in history.
What we find in these verses that we are studying today is David doing battle against the philistines; a more graphic description of what happened on that date is found in 2 Samuel 23:9-10 when we read “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 for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. 10He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder.” I am sure that many of you are already thinking that all of this could not possibly relate to us, but if you think this was, I invite you to think again. I say this because as I said a moment ago, all of us here that have made a genuine commitment to God now form part of not only His people or nation; we now form part of His army here on earth. While it is true that most of us, more than likely, will never have to participate in an actual physical battle. While it is true that most of us, more than likely, will never have to fight hand to hand with another person, we do battle on a daily basis against a very powerful force. We do battle against a very powerful enemy that seeks to do the same thing that the philistines were seeking against the people of Israel, it seeks to evict and keep us from God’s promises. This battle is something that is clearly defined in Ephesians 6:12 when we read “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” As we see here, our battle is not against flesh and blood, in other words, our battle is not against people, governments, or religious institutions. The battle that we face everyday is against the powers of darkness; powers that seek to destroy the blessings that God has given us. Our enemy is relentless in his attack and he will not hesitate to use anything or anyone to accomplish his purpose. This is why in 1 Peter 5:8 we find “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” And it is for this reason that we must always be on guard, we must always be alert to what is going on around us, but most of all, we must always be ready to fight. We must be ready at all times to stand our ground, or else it will be taken from us. What could cause this to happen? There are two main reasons; number one is: fear, and number two is: not knowing how to defend ourselves. Let’s continue with our study so that you may better understand what I am saying.