Summary: Do you have some older people in your congregation? Allow them to hear this sermon.
Too Old To Cut The Mustard
15When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines; and David grew faint.
16Then Ishbi-Benob, who was one of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose bronze spear was three hundred shekels, who was bearing a new sword, thought he could kill David.
17But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel."
I want to begin this morning by telling you a story.
Before farmers begin to work their fields in the spring, it's not uncommon to see fields covered with a weed known as wild mustard. That mustard plant we see today is different from another mustard plant that proved to be a big pest to farmers back in the 1800s. That plant was known as Jill Hill Mustard. It was a hardy plant that as it matured produced seedpods. The pods would eventually burst open spreading seeds far and wide. Some states passed laws making it illegal to allow Jim Hill Mustard to grow on your property. Railroad companies were obliged by law to remove it from the rights-of-way along the tracks, because if it goes to seed then it would spread to the surrounding farmland. The Jim Hill Mustard plant was also a tough plant that was difficult to cut down.
The Northern Pacific Railroad hired men early in the spring to work along the tracks removing these obnoxious weeds before they could produce seedpods. Among those hired to do this work was a strong young man named George. George would walk along the tracks with his sharp scythe. Because of his age and strength, George could cover far more miles of track than any other man the railroad hired to do the work.
More of that story a little later.
We are continuing our series on the life of David
I covered the first 14 verses of chapter 21 on Mothers Day.
So we pick up David's life story today at Verse 15.
David has been reestablished as the king over Judah.
Israel had rebelled under the leadership of a man named Sheba.
David had his army hunt down Sheba.
Sheba was killed
and the nation of Israel was again reunited under King David.
The first verse in chapter 21 says a 3-year famine struck the land.
Verses 2 through 14 told us what David did
as a result of that famine.
So the events we are looking at today
must have occurred at least 3 years
after all of Israel was united under King David's authority.
Now Israel is once again fighting an old enemy, the Philistines.
David made a big mistake years ago
when he chose to send out his troops for battle
while he stayed home in the palace.
That led to his adultery encounter with Bathsheba.
So maybe David learned a big lesson there!
Let's get back to our story of George and the Mustard plants.
George reported to the railroad company every spring for work. With his scythe sharpened to a razor's edge, he'd walk the many miles of track. Year after year, George never failed to show up for work. The railroad company depended on George to help keep the rights-of-way free of Jim Hill Mustard. As is common to all men, age began to creep up on George. Each year, George found the work just a little bit harder to do.
More of that story a little later!
Point #1. We get weaker as we grow older.
15 When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines; and David grew faint.
So David went out to battle with his soldiers.
In fact, not only was it normal, it was expected
During this battle with the Philistines
David became exhausted.
The Bible doesn't say it,
but I suspect David was beginning to show his age.
It's estimated that this battle would have occurred around 988 B.C.
David was born about 1055 B.C.
So David would have been approximately 67 years old.
That's how old I am now.
So I can fully understand why David grew faint in battle.
When I go outside to do any kind of work
I can't do as much as I did when I was much younger.
I have to frequently stop and take rest breaks.
We don't like to admit it,
but we eventually realize that we are getting older.
I firmly believe David was feeling his age.
It must have been quite a shock to him when he grew faint.