- Sermon Notes
The Heart of the Mighty
2 Samuel 23:8-17
October 2-3, 2021
Before 2 Samuel is finished, the writer gives recognition to the mighty men around David. These are men of renown, men who accomplished great feats of courage and strength, and because of David’s influence, they were men of great faith.
You can learn a lot from great men and women of faith. Perhaps the greatest lesson is this; there is no such thing as great men and women of faith who didn’t do something with their faith.
In other words, their faith was active, it was alive. It moved them to move, to act, to do, to accomplish. James 2:18, 22, Someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works… You see that Abraham’s faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.
You see something similar in Hebrews 11, that famous chapter we call the “Hall of Faith.” Great men and women who took their faith and did something with it, something for the glory of God…
By faith, Enoch walked with God – and was pleasing to God.
By faith, Noah prepared an ark for the salvation of his household.
By faith, Abraham obeyed God and went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith, Moses chose rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.
By faith, Rahab the harlot welcomed the spies and peace.
Hebrews 11:32-34, And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight.
We need the heart of those who are mighty in faith, who trust God, who believe His promises are sure. And then take that faith and do something with it in their lives.
David himself was a mighty man. That’s what drew these men to him. Later in David’s life when he was older, the Philistines again attacked Israel and David himself went out to face them in battle. Among the Philistines that day was one of the sons of Goliath whom David had slain when he was a youth. This son of Goliath was also a giant of a man.
His name was Ishbi-benob and he had singled out David. He was wearing a new sword and was intent on using it to kill David. There was David in his older years taking on one of the giant sons of Goliath in single-handed combat.
David became weary, however, so Abishai, one of his generals, came over and helped him. After that, they didn’t let David go into battle anymore. But it’s amazing that David, as the king of Israel was willing not just to go out with his men in his old age, but to take on the son of Goliath single-handedly!
God is still looking for mighty men and women who want to make a difference in their generation and who desire to do great things through the strength God provides.
2 Chronicles 16:9, The eyes of the Lord search to and fro throughout the whole earth in order to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are completely His.
I. The Mighty in Faith are Men of Action
- There was a group of 30 mighty men of David. There was also a group of three mighty men who stood greater than the 30. Those are the men listed here first.
- These three of David’s mighty men represent the keys to what it means to be a mighty man or woman of God today.
A. Adino – willing to do much with little
- Adino slew 800 in one battle carrying only a spear and he is listed first of David’s mighty men. This is simply an amazing accomplishment; he had only a spear.
- An important aspect of faith is trusting that little is much when God is in the midst of it. We all understand that we are little. Faith is the answer.
- David himself becomes one of the greatest examples of this. He was willing to face Goliath carrying only a sling and five smooth stones.
1 Samuel 17:45-47, Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have just taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord is not delivered by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”
- This is a key to becoming a mighty man or woman of God; having the faith to trust that God is eager to demonstrate His strength in your life, but also a willingness to step out in the thick of it and do something for God.
Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
2 Timothy 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.
- You see men who have become mighty because they had great faith, but at first, they had smaller faith and then it became greater faith as they walked in it.
James 2:22, Abraham’s faith was working with his works, and as a result of his works, faith was perfected.
- David grew in his faith when he was a lonely shepherd practicing with his sling and watching over the sheep entrusted to his care.
- How do you increase in faith? … That leads us to the second of David’s mighty men.
B. Eleazar – clinging to his sword
- Verses 9 -10 — Eleazar the son of Dodo means, “God has helped the son of Dodo.” At first, you might think that anyone called the “son of Dodo” would have to be tough, sort of like the famous Johnny Cash song, The Boy Named Sue.
- No, what made Eleazar a mighty man was that his hand clung to the sword until his hand became locked in place, frozen to his sword. He refused to quit; he refused to give up; he refused to let go of his sword.
- The sword is a picture of the Word of God. We need to cling to the Word until our hearts are molded around it. This is a picture of a mighty man or woman of God today.
- When you cling to the Word of God, faith is strengthened because you are reminded who He is and that He is for you and that His promises are sure.
2 Timothy 3:12-17, Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of… From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
- It’s no wonder then that when it comes to spiritual warfare, the enemy tries to disarm believers of their sword.
- He would do this by suggesting that you deny the authority of God’s Word or to deny the truthfulness of God’s Word.
- But the Word of God is what God uses to strength faith.
Romans 10:17, Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
- From the example of Eleazar, you understand the key of having your heart molded around the Word of God.
- The word of God is also what God uses to transform us, to bring the change we need in our lives to be made new.
Romans 12:1-2, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Eleazar was a mighty man not just because he clung to his sword, but also because he knew how to use his sword. He was a master at its use. He carried it with him, he practiced with it; he became a master at how to use it in battle.
2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Illus – Several years ago for Father’s Day, Jordi gave me a book called “The Compleat Gentleman.” It was a history of what it means to be a gentleman, going back to knights, etc. In the book, I read an interesting point; a gentleman masters whatever he does. In those days, a gentleman had to carry a sword and practiced every day if he wanted to master it.
C. Shammah – faithful and true
- Shammah was renowned as a mighty man because there was a plot of ground full of lentils, the Philistines had gathered into a troop and the people of Israel fled, they fell back.
- But Shammah did not fall back. He was told to hold that field of lentils. He might die there, but he would not fall back.
- The Lord is searching for mighty men and women today who will take their stand in whatever field, whatever place God has set them.
- I am reminded of the strong words of faith of the apostle Paul…
2 Timothy 1:12, I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day.
- Can you stand alone when others fall back? That’s what it means to be faithful and true. God desires us to take our stand. Don’t be swept along with all the flotsam and jetsam of the world as it continues to be swept away toward darkness.
1 Kings 18:21, Elijah said to all the people, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
Illus – This reminds me of the album cover “No Compromise” by Keith Green. King Nebuchadnezzar is carried in front of a crowd of men, kneeling to him in worship, but there is one meek man who remains faithful and true – what a powerful picture for today!
II. Be a Drink Offering to God
- David was at the cave of Adullam, the garrison of the Philistines was in Bethlehem, the city of David and his family.
- It was harvest time, in other words, it was a hot and dusty day. At some point, David had a craving and said, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem.”
- The three mighty men heard the desire of the king’s heart and wanted to show their love and devotion for David by bringing water from the well of Bethlehem.
A. Strong faith strengthens others
- What happens next in the story is a declaration of David’s heart after God. David is called a man after God’s own heart, and it was times like these that made that saying famous.
- The three mighty men broke through the Philistine garrison, at great risk of their own lives, so David could have that drink from the well by the gate of Bethlehem.
- When they brought it to David, he was amazed. But he would not drink it, instead, he poured it out as a drink offering to God. It was to say; “only God deserves such honor, this kind of love and devotion.”
- This was a transforming moment, for what they saw caused them to love David all the more and to honor the God whom he served.
- How did these men respond? Did they say, “Can you believe this? We went at risk of our lives to get that water and then you pour it out?”
- I don’t think so. I believe they would have responded with worship alongside David, “This is a holy moment,” they must have thought.
Acts 13:36, For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, and was buried with his fathers.
- When David first set out on his own there was only a small band of men that came with him; men who were distressed, angry, in debt, discontented and bitter of soul. By the time you get to 2 Samuel 23, these same men are mighty men of God.
Psalm 34:11-15, Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear the Lord. Who is the man who desires life and loves length of days that he may see good?… The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry… The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
B. By this well, others may drink
David knew that God was the living water that refreshed his soul. He drank from that well often.
Psalm 23:1-3, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
- It is spiritual drink and spiritual food that transforms the soul because you are partaking of the very life of God within you.
1 Corinthians 10:3-4, Our fathers all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ.
- When you drink from that well and your own soul is filled with the life of God, others are also blessed …
John 4:13-14, Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Psalm 42:1, As the deer longs for the water brooks, so my soul longs for You, O God.
2 Samuel 23:8-17 NASB
8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth, a Tahchemonite, chief of the [a]captains; he was called Adino the Eznite because of eight hundred who were killed by him at one time. 9 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 to battle and the men of Israel had [b]withdrawn. 10 He rose up and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and [c]it clung to the sword, and the Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder the dead.
11 Now after him was Shammah the son of Agee, a Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered [d]into an army where there was a plot of land full of lentils, and the people fled from the Philistines. 12 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot, defended it, and struck the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.
13 Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David at harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the army of the Philistines was camping in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15 And David had a craving and said, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!” 16 So the three mighty men forced their way into the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and carried it and brought it to David. Yet he would not drink it, but poured it out as an offering to the Lord; 17 and he said, “Far be it from me, Lord, that I would do this! Should I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” So he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.