Summary: A sermon on the obscure text of David anbd the three valiant warriors who risked their lives to bring their beloved commander a drink from the well of his hometown - Bethlehem.
It is 2:15 in the morning. You are awakened by the cries of your baby. You nudge your husband, ¡§It¡¦s your turn honey.¡¨ He draws in a deep snore and rolls over. ¡§Oh well,¡¨ you say to yourself. You get up, try to get those eyes open, finally focus as you get near the crib. A skillful finger under the elastic of the diaper tells you it¡¦s time for a fresh diaper. Gently smiling at the baby, though he wrecked your night¡¦s sleep, you put on the powder, close the diaper, put the jammies back on, and go to the kitchen. You warm a bottle and feed him. It is quiet in the house now. The only sound is the compressor of the fridge kicking on. You look down at this little thief who is stealing your rest and despite all that, feel the unconditional love mother¡¦s know for their children.
The commercial says, ¡§There are some things money can¡¦t buy.¡¨ That¡¦s the gospel truth.
Life is all about sorting those things out.
God wants to guide you through that.
Nestled deep in the Bible in one of those pages that doesn¡¦t often see the light of day is a story of human bravery, loyalty and an example of what makes something precious.
Second Samuel, chapter 23, is a collection of war stories about men of valor ¡V the fierce and famous warriors of Israel and what they did in ongoing battle with their enemies in Canaan, the Philistines.
David, after a long, long time of war, of being away from any kind of civilized life, of not knowing if he¡¦d lose his life or lose a battle, longs for the days of his youth at home. ¡§O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!¡¨ David should have kept his thoughts to himself.
Because Bethlehem was now the site of the Philistine encampment. That means the gate to the city would be guarded day and night, with soldiers always posted on guard duty.
David should have kept his thoughts to himself, because three of his bravest men ran the twelve miles across the dusty dry hills of Judea, slipped past the Philistine encampment, managed to get into the city, filled a skin with water from David¡¦s hometown well, and it sounds like there was a skirmish as they fought through the perilous lines and brought David his drink.
David is taken aback. His men ought never have risked their lives for him. Wasn¡¦t it enough that they were willing to die in battle for him as their commander? But to put their lives at risk to satisfy a whim?
This water is too precious to drink.
So David does the only thing he can ¡V he makes the water an offering and pours it out to God. He calls it the ¡§blood¡¨ of his men, because it could easily have cost them their lives. (And in the OT, blood is sacrificed on the altar to God. Blood is a sacred offering)
Good soldiers are willing to die for their comrades.
During the Vietnam War, three buddies are out in the jungle at night patrolling the fuzzy territory between them and the Viet Cong. Their sergeant gives the signal for the men to stop and be vigilant in the jungle. They will remain motionless for hours. The three buddies do what they always do, they crouch down, back to back, three very young men, each facing outward, each scanning the one third of the circle (120 degrees), each counting on the other to watch his third. They know, each of those soldiers, that the men whose sweaty backs are pressed against his own will die to protect him. Each man is ready and willing to die if necessary to protect his two buddies.
Who is worth dying for in your life?
The things that really matter in life might seem like intangibles. But they are not. The things that really matter have to do with people.
What is the most precious thing about our church?
For example, last week we had visitors here as we celebrated the role of our church and village in the Washington/Rochambeau march to Yorktown that led to the end of the Revolutionary War. Ellen Idler was in here in colonial costume and her son Alex was dressed as Dominie Christian Foehring, the founding pastor of our church in 1766.
Visitors commented on the chandelier. People commented on our old, old documents. This building breathes history. It is a treasure to be sure. But as precious as is this building it is not the church. You are the church, and in God¡¦s eyes ¡V you are precious.
What matters in your life? What is precious to you?