2 Samuel

2 Samuel - Lesson 23B

Chapter 23:8-39

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**2 Samuel series originally taught by Stephen Armstrong. Chapter 20 onwards taught by Wesley Livingston**

  • Tonight, we continue in our teaching of 2 Samuel Chapter 23 where we will pick up in verse 8.

    • Last week, we were able to witness the reality that David was not talking about himself as the ideal King.

      • Rather, David has been given a description or a picture of sorts of his eternal descendant, his promised seed.

    • This description, indicative of a righteous king, provided David a picture of hopeful anticipation for the future of Israel and his house.

      • The reality is, David was quite aware of his frailties; he has seen the disruption between the Northern 10 tribes and the 2 Southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin).

      • However, as best he can, he tries to maintain unity amongst the Northern and Southern tribes.

    • As we saw last week in verse 5, David picks up on the fact that although his house (his reign) has failed in uprightness with God, that God still keeps His promises.

      • And David is confident in the fact that where he has failed that this future King will not fail.

      • This future King will rule mightily, with wisdom and righteousness.

      • Furthermore, this King will, once and for all, do away with wicked men and women, and kingdoms by His own might (hand).

    • This points us to the fact that David anticipated a literal future day in which this Kingdom would reign on the earth.

      • We know that this future reign on the earth with Messiah-King is known as the Millennium Kingdom.

      • This is where Christ, in His Second coming, will usher in His reign on David’s throne off the hills of annihilating all of Israel’s enemies.

      • And on this throne Jesus will reign for a thousand years.

    • What we will discover tonight in verses 8-39 is how David’s list of Mighty men will serve as a template for how faithful believers will be rewarded for their work in the Kingdom.

      • That this life in which we are living serves as a trial run for what rewards we will receive at the Bema Seat of Christ and the way in which we will serve the King in the Coming Kingdom.

    • With that being said, we are going to see the following structure of our time tonight:

      • 1. The First Three (Highest Ranked Men) (vv.8-12)

      • 2. The Unnamed Three (Second Ranked Men) (vv.13-17)

      • 3. The Two Greatly Esteemed (vv.18-23)

      • 4. The Remaining Honored Men (vv.24-39)

    • If I were to put a tag on tonight’s text, it would simply be: David’s Mighty Men: The Reward of Great Men.

      • With that being said, I invite you to open up a copy of your scriptures and meet me in 2 Samuel 23:8-12.

2 Samuel 23:8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains, he was called Adino the Eznite, because of eight hundred slain by him at one time;
2 Samuel 23:9 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 withdrawn.
2 Samuel 23:10 He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip the slain.
2 Samuel 23:11 Now after him was Shammah the son of Agee a Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered into a troop where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the people fled from the Philistines.
2 Samuel 23:12 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.
  • As we witnessed last week, the continuation from verses 8-39 are very much a part of David’s final words and song to Israel.

    • I mentioned then that these are not David’s actual ‘final words’ but rather his final public statement to the people.

      • And within that context, David finds it necessary to include in his final proclamation the names and deeds of what he lists as his “Mighty Men”.

    • David produces this list of men, not in any random order, but rather according to their success and personal efforts at war.

      • There are close to 37 men individually called out either by name or deed for their contributions in some way, shape or form.

      • Plainly said, these men’s efforts are noticed and well noted by the King’s mentioning of their efforts and faithfulness.

    • Secondly, let us not be so quick to rush past the fact that there is an order in which these men are listed.

      • In other words, these listed names are written according to their roles and responsibilities, on behalf of the King according to their faithful execution.

      • For a Kingdom requires an administration of roles and responsibilities to carry out the needs of that Kingdom.

    • So, it’s in this commendation of David that we have an idea as to how even believers in Christ will be judged at the Bema Seat of Christ and given roles and responsibilities in the Coming Kingdom.

      • To put it a different way, how we live and what we do, according to our obedience and faithful service to the Lord in the here and now, determines our future rewards and responsibilities in the Kingdom.

      • And David provides a picture of sorts by which the Kingdom will function.

  • David begins his list of mighty men by starting with a man named Josheb-Basshebeth who is a Tahchemonite.

    • He is named the chief of the captains, or “chief of the three” which means that this man was high ranking in David’s army.

      • This would be the man who would report directly to David regarding all military means, strategy, and the like.

      • And the text tells us that he attained to this high-level position because he killed eight-hundred men at once.

      • However, it is argued by some that perhaps this large number was gained over a period of time through those under his command.

    • Whether these killings were accomplished by his own hand or the hands of those troops in which he commanded, it’s clear that this is accomplished under his leadership.

      • And it’s important to note here as David has done previously, that the victory in which Israel has possessed is not in their own strength.

      • Rather their victory is accomplished through the power and strength of Yahweh, Himself.

    • That where David has been trained and skilled by the Lord, those who have willingly and obediently submitted under the leadership of David are beneficiaries of that same strength and victory.

      • So, God uses Josheb-basshebeth as an instrument of victory to secure the defeat of Israel’s enemies.

      • And as we see, when one is fully submitted and obedient to the Lord, the victory is already had.

    • As Dr. Tony Evans has mentioned before: As believers we fight from a position of victory not for a position of victory.

      • In other words, our ability to overcome in the Lord is directly tied to our submission to the Lord.

    • After Josheb, David names Eleazar, the son of Dodo the Ahohite and he too is considered one of the three mighty men.

      • David describes here how Eleazar remained with him in battle against the Philistines.

      • But the part that we mustn’t miss is where Eleazor remained with David even when the men of Israel withdrew.

    • That where the appearance of the Philistines seemed overwhelming, the men of Israel withdrew in fear rather than in defense of their King.

      • Yet, Eleazor remained alongside David in battle.

    • This is such an interesting section of the text because where these trained men should have remained faithful, they shrieked back in cowardice.

      • This response is like what we find amongst some Christian leaders today where when difficulty arises, for some, it breeds immense compromise, doctrinally.

      • It causes the church to miss opportunities to evangelize and proclaim gospel truth rather than a sugar-coated, doctrinally stripped, gospel.

    • That rather than the Church standing firmly on the word of God, when the culture becomes louder on certain matters, we fold instead of lovingly yet sternly engaging.

      • For believers today, our commendation of rewards comes when we stand firm despite the difficulty and trial of what is seen, felt, or even heard.

      • I’m reminded of what James mentioned to a group of Jewish believers encouraging them about the blessing of enduring through trials.

      • This is what he says in James 1:12:

James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
  • Notice verse 10, the text mentions that Eleazar continued to fight the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword.

    • In other words, he refused to give up despite the weariness of his grip.

    • The text then says that “his hand clung to the sword” in the sense that he had muscle cramps that wouldn’t relax around the grip.

    • Josephus makes mention that because the Hebrew word for clung can also mean stick, that perhaps because of the immense bloodshed, that’s why Eleazor’s hand stuck to the sword.

      • Whether there is any truth to Josephus’ claim of the hardening of blood on the sword or by mere muscle cramping, we see again that it was the Lord that brought about this great victory and sustained Eleazor.

      • That where everyone else had retreated from harm and danger, the Lord provided the confidence necessary for David and Eleazar to fight till the end.

    • And isn’t that the goal for the believer, that we ought to run our race till the very end.

      • Because it’s in the end that we reap if we faint not!

    • However, it’s not by surprise that we find that at the end of the battle, the men of Israel returned after the battle has been won only to strip the slain.

      • This practice of retrieving the reward from the win was a typical practice for victorious soldiers after battle.

    • In other words, after the fight was over and the hard part is complete, those who ran to seek shelter now are the first to return to collect their reward.

      • It’s that picture of others attempting to ride on the coat-tails of others who have put in the work and the heavy lifting.

      • Or the individuals who takes the credit when things go well but are nowhere to be found when the work is required.

      • Paul tells us the following in 1 Corinthians 9:24:

1 Corinthians 9:24  Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
  • What a sad reality it will be for some who have been saved, to stand before the Lord at the Bema Seat, having shown up week after week to church, did the “Christian thing”, yet never completed their race.

    • Only to see that they will collect no reward in the end.

    • All because they failed to run “their” race!

    • All because they operated out of fear rather than faith yet are expecting to see a return on their Christian life in the end?!

    • As we saw last week, the measure in which you put into this life for the Lord in obedience to Him is the measure in which you will get out! (Psalm 18:25-27)

      • We can’t expect to gain spiritual rewards if we are not putting in the actual work – whatever that work is that the Lord has called you to!

    • I love the qualifier that Paul uses at the end of 1 Corinthians 9:24. He says, “Run in such a way that you may win.”

      • In other words, we should be so heavenly focused that our earthly pursuits should be in direct alignment with the Lord.

      • That we endure and pursue the things that the Lord has called us to as if we don’t have a tomorrow.

      • There should be such urgency and commitment to the works of God that it becomes our focus even if the task is overwhelming or the culture is opposed.

      • Friends, may I encourage us all to run our own race as the Lord has seen fit and that we run it well!

  • Well, it’s in verses 11-12 that we are introduced to the third Mighty man, Shammah, the son of Agee who was a Hararite.

    • And in this particular commendation, David mentions the Philistines were gathered together as like an army. Clearly, they were on guard for battle.

      • But notice ‘where’ they are standing. The text says, “they were on a plot full of lentils.”

      • The question becomes, what’s the big deal with “the plot of ground full of lentils?” And why is Shammah so persistent of driving them out?

      • That word “plot” is speaking about a particular plot of land, which would beg another question: Whose land are the Philistines on?

    • Shammah knew who the land belonged to and what the land in total meant for Israel.

      • And as a side note, isn’t that the big discussion even today? Who does the land of Israel belong to?

    • Shammah knew that the land that the Philistines were occupying belonged to Israel.

      • The reason being is because the Lord owned the Land and we see that in many places but two in particular.

      • The first place we will look at is Leviticus 25:23 and the second is Deuteronomy 32:43.

      • Let’s look at the first one together, Leviticus 25:23:

Leviticus 25:23 ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
    • Let’s also look at Deuteronomy 32:43.

Deut.32:43 “Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
And will atone for His land and His people.”
  • This song in which Moses gave in Deuteronomy 32 was similar to David’s final words of proclamation found here in 2 Samuel 23.

    • And Moses assures the people that the land in which the Lord promised is indeed Israel’s land.

    • In other words, the Deed is in God’s name and for His people, Israel.

    • And with that knowledge, Shammah, son of Agee stood in the midst of the plot to defend their land as its rightful tenants and caretakers on behalf of the Lord!

      • So, when we boil this down, Shammah demonstrated great faith in the promise of the Lord according to the Torah.

      • That if God has deemed this land ours then we must defend it with every ounce of our being.

    • And in return what did the Lord do, He honored Shammah’s faithfulness according to His own word.

      • This is no different than how the Lord calls us to faithfully serve Him and obey His word in our own lives and ministries and calling.

      • We will now look at the unnamed three who, although were not in the chief ranks, were all the more faithful to the King and his Kingdom as well.

      • Check out verses 13-17.

2 Samuel 23:13 Then three of the thirty chief men went down and came to David in the harvest time to the cave of Adullam, while the troop of the Philistines was camping in the valley of Rephaim.
2 Samuel 23:14 David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
2 Samuel 23:15 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!”
2 Samuel 23:16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord;
2 Samuel 23:17 and he said, “Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.
  • It’s here where David describes another event of great faithfulness from three of the thirty chief men.

    • The text doesn’t seem to suggest that these three men are the same as the first three listed. If that were the case, perhaps their names would have been used.

      • However, the names of these men are not important, rather their faithful actions toward David, before he is even perhaps crowned king.

      • I make mention of this because the text says that David and these men are in the cave of Adullam.

      • And we should be familiar with David’s time in the cave of Adullam during his escape from King Saul in our Samuel study.

    • And it’s while in the cave of Adullam, with the Philistine troops camped out near the valley of Rephaim, that David expresses a need for water.

      • Perhaps from exhaustion of running and seeking refuge, David has become parched.

      • And whether to himself, softly or out loud as a public request, he asks for water.

      • However, David’s request is quite specific, because the request for water is not from nearby and no water source was in the cave.

      • The request was for water at a well near the gate of Bethlehem.

    • This request, most likely to himself, was a bit of a nostalgic moment for David.

      • Being that David was born in Bethlehem, he is probably reminiscing on the fresh taste of water from that well.

      • Thinking on the days in which were a bit easier for him, raising the sheep and herding for his family, yet now he finds himself in this cave running for his life.

    • So, David, is making a sentimental request, however this is a request as a servant and not as a king.

      • Yet, these three mighty warriors who have dedicated themselves to this up-and-coming King, chosen by God, count the cost.

    • And somehow, these men manage to break through the enemy’s camp unnoticed, travel nearly 12 miles to retrieve water from this well that David longed for, and brought it back to him, another 12 miles, unscathed.

      • Talk about dedication and faithfulness, even to a man that has not yet been crowned as King!

    • And to David’s surprise, these men come back with water in hand, yet he refuses to drink it and instead pours it out as worship to the Lord.

      • Now, some of you probably just jolted at the thought of all that work having gone into getting the water.

      • Perhaps some would have muttered under their breath sarcastically, “Sure, that’s what gratitude looks like, David!”

    • However, David’s response in this manner tells us how he perceived this great sacrifice.

      • He says in verse 17, “Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of men who went in jeopardy of their lives?”

      • In other words, David didn’t deem himself worthy enough to even drink this water because of the risk these men took on his behalf.

    • This is why David considered the effort put in towards the gathering of the water as drinking “the blood of men”.

      • He is equating it to the cost in which these men took that could have potentially gotten them killed!

      • However, it seems as if the cost of this drink mattered not to these men.

      • In fact, they would have probably done it again – simply because David asked.

    • These men were remembered by David even after he became King, simply because of the great sacrifice they made for him.

      • And isn’t it odd, that the New Testament documents a similar sacrifice in Mark’s gospel with another “unnamed” woman who pours extravagant perfume upon Jesus’ body? (Mark 14:3-9)

      • These men knew that David was worth the risk – that the future king is worth every sacrifice they could offer.

      • And such should be our perspective regarding the very lives we have in Christ!

      • That in all things, we too should be willing to risk and do all things for the sake of His name and goodness!

    • In other words, there is no greater gift we can bestow upon the Lord than our very lives before Him in total surrender and obedience.

      • For a life of faithfulness and obedience to the Lord, is a life that is commended and awarded accordingly.

      • Well, we now come to the Two greatly esteemed men, both Abishai and Benaiah. Check out verses 18-23.

2 Samuel 23:18 Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he swung his spear against three hundred and killed them, and had a name as well as the three.
2 Samuel 23:19 He was most honored of the thirty, therefore he became their commander; however, he did not attain to the three.
2 Samuel 23:20 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.
2 Samuel 23:21 He killed an Egyptian, an impressive man. Now the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but he went down to him with a club and snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.
2 Samuel 23:22 These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and had a name as well as the three mighty men.
2 Samuel 23:23 He was honored among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three. And David appointed him over his guard.
  • We now find David’s commendation of these two men.

    • They are Abishai, who David mentions is the brother of Joab, and Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada.

      • Let’s first start with who David addresses first, which is Abishai, who is David’s nephew.

    • According to the text, Abishai was a man of great military tactic and strength.

      • David documents an experience where Abishai swung his spear against 300 men and killed them all.

      • You may recall other encounters that Abishai had with the enemies of Israel in 1 Samuel 26 all the way to Sheba’s rebellion.

      • It is because of Abishai’s kill number and skill that David appointed him commander of the Three, even though he was not included among them.

    • I mention this because although David doesn’t mention Abishai with the Mighty Three, Abishai still accomplished much in his own right.

      • As a matter of fact, the text says that Abishai “had a name” along with “the three”.

      • In other words, Abishai too had a reputation in his own right. He could hold his own.

    • Notice, that nowhere in the text is David saying this person is better than this person, nor is he comparing the accomplishments of one man to the next.

      • Instead, David is commending these men’s efforts according to their own individual faithfulness to the King and the Kingdom.

      • This is so huge to not miss! That the race you run is the race YOU run for Christ!

    • The Lord is not comparing your works and spiritual gifts to the person next to you.

      • The Lord is measuring your deeds according to how He has uniquely gifted you and according to the opportunities you seize.

      • In other words, the measure of your faithfulness to the Lord, determines the magnitude of your reward!

    • We see this principle of eternal rewards in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:17-30.

      • That where these men are given talents, it is given according to their own abilities.

      • The question on the table is: “How are you managing the gifts and talents the Lord has given you so that when you stand before Him at the Bema Seat you will have done well with what was given?”

    • God is faithful to reward those in whom faithfully serve Him according to the measure and faithfulness of their service.

      • Friends, I implore us all to serve well where you can!

  • We now come across Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel.

    • Benaiah’s father is Jehoiada who had a great reputation amongst the people and was well-known.

      • And it becomes clear that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

      • Herein lies maybe one beautiful yet small example of familial discipleship.

    • David records that Benaiah was quite an impressive man, and the record holds true because the text states that he went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.

      • Watch the description David uses here to describe the skills and strength of this man.

    • Notice, the text finds it necessary to mention even the season in which this lion was killed – it was a snowy day.

      • I’ve never fought a lion before and don’t intend to, but I could imagine that fighting in these slippery, wet, and windy conditions wasn’t easy.

    • It’s obvious that the environment which Benaiah is in is difficult, to say the least, yet he overcomes the lion with no issues.

      • Similarly, he comes across an Egyptian who is quite impressive – in other words, skilled at his weaponry.

      • Yet even with a club in hand against a skillful spear warrior, Benaiah outmaneuvers this man and kills him with his own weapon.

    • It reminds me of the scenes in the martial arts movies with Jackie Chan where he removes the weapon out of the enemies’ hands and destroys them with it.

      • That type of skill and finesse is amazing and indeed Benaiah was just that.

      • In fact because of his skills, faithfulness to the king, and abilities, David promotes him to commander of the guard.

    • What’s interesting here in the text is that both Abishai and Benaiah are both promoted regarding role or position.

      • This is an interesting point because there is a parallel here to how believers will be awarded by the King in the Coming Kingdom.

    • That where one’s faithfulness and obedience to the King is seen over time in this life (maturity), provides insight into responsibilities one will attain in the Kingdom.

      • In other words, how you serve the King now is indicative of what you do for the King in the Kingdom to come.

      • We see this reality outlined in another parable that Jesus taught in Luke 19:11-27 regarding the Parable of the Minas.

    • This parable Jesus taught dealt with another aspect of Kingdom Reward and that was the servants’ responsibilities in the Kingdom and how that is attained.

      • In a similar way that eternal rewards are given is how responsibilities are given in the Kingdom as well.

      • And the way that this occurs is based upon one’s maturity and growth in the Lord and faithfulness in testimony.

      • Plainly put, how you live for Jesus now will determine what you will do for Him in the Kingdom.

    • The Lord will award responsibility and authority in the Kingdom proportionally to the quality of the believer’s testimony through their spiritual maturity.

      • Jesus says these words in Luke 12:48b:

Luke 12:48b From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
  • In the case of the slave who produced no results with his minas, the Master’s judgement is a denial of rewards like that in Matthew 25.

    • Notice however the difference in the parable in Matthew 25 versus Luke 19.

    • The slave in Luke 19 is not sent out in outer darkness. This serves as a clear distinction which is, the believer has eternal security in Christ.

    • In other words, where faith is required for salvation and is rewarded eternal security, a good testimony in the Lord requires maturity and growth in sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit.

      • This means that the individual must come under the weight of the word of God and faithfully obey to grow in spiritual maturity.

      • And it is in the spiritual maturity that good testimony emerges, which becomes the qualifier for authority and responsibilities in the Kingdom.

    • As Uncle Ben in Spider-Man said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. And in this case with whom the Lord entrusts much, so he expects much.

      • May we not waste our lives in Christ because we fail to submit ourselves under the word of the Lord.

    • We see here that both Abishai and Benaiah were both faithfully submitted and loyal to the King.

      • And in return the King promoted them both to positions of authority in his administration.

    • We find the promotion of Benaiah in the accounts of both 1 Kings 1:8 and 1 Kings 2:25 which demonstrate once again his undying loyalty and faithfulness to the king.

      • Well, we now come to our final section of the text verses 24-39. Check out the text.

2 Samuel 23:24 Asahel the brother of Joab was among the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
2 Samuel 23:25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
2 Samuel 23:26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
2 Samuel 23:27 Abiezer the Anathothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
2 Samuel 23:28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
2 Samuel 23:29 Heleb the son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai of Gibeah of the sons of Benjamin,
2 Samuel 23:30 Benaiah a Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,
2 Samuel 23:31 Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
2 Samuel 23:32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
2 Samuel 23:33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Ararite,
2 Samuel 23:34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maacathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
2 Samuel 23:35 Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
2 Samuel 23:36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,
2 Samuel 23:37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armor bearers of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
2 Samuel 23:38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite,
2 Samuel 23:39 Uriah the Hittite; thirty-seven in all.
  • As we conclude David’s list of commendation, we see that each individual had a role and each individual in that role faithfully served the King.

    • These individuals’ merits did not determine their position with David, but rather their faithfulness to David determined their success in the ranks.

      • Whether the individuals died before the rise of David in his consummation as King or not, David honored them accordingly because of their faithfulness.

    • You may have noticed that there is one individual, in particular, that is not included in this list out right, but is mentioned by association.

      • That man is none other than Joab.

      • Joab, indirectly, is mentioned 3 times in this text, either as being Abishai and Asahel’s brother, or the armor bearer of Joab.

    • And one might ask the question: “With all that Joab did, why wasn’t he recorded in David’s commendation record?”

      • Well, there are two words in which we have used during our time tonight, and those words are faithful and obedient.

      • And Joab did not faithful obey the commands of the King.

      • Simply put, Joab played by his own set of rules.

  • My wife and I love to play Monopoly and if you ever play with us, we play by the book and it gets intense.

    • The creator of Monopoly set out these rules so that the game is fair and everyone can achieve according to their abilities.

      • When you play by the rules, you get awarded accordingly.

      • And in the same manner, we find that this applies in a spiritual manner as well.

    • That when a believer is submitted to the Lord through the second tense of salvation (sanctification), that believer’s life will experience great growth.

      • However, when that individual is not submitted under the weight and authority of the word of God, growth becomes stagnated.

    • In other words, when we don’t play according to God’s set standard of rules (aka, obeying His Word) as believers, we shouldn’t expect to be rewarded for it.

      • Our faithfulness to His word produces the fruitfulness of our lives, spiritually.

      • And as we witnessed with Joab’s life, although he was loyal to the King, his unwillingness to obey caused himself great harm in the end.

    • How sad it would be to have come to faith in the Lord, yet never put yourself under the weight of His word, only to stand before Him with nothing to show for it.

      • I believe, the ‘Big C’ Church has done a horrible job with not seeking to help the saints grow in their personal walks with the Lord.

    • We have a huge focus on evangelizing and seeing people saved, but many people and churches just stop there as if there isn’t more to experience in our walks with Christ.

      • Salvation simply got us to the starting line of experiencing true life.

      • We must now learn to live and walk obediently in Christ because we have been empowered to do so!

      • I love what Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. Check out the text:

2 Timothy 2:11  It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
2 Timothy 2:12   If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
2 Timothy 2:13   If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
  • As Pastor Steven Armstrong mentioned in his teaching of eternal rewards:

“Our inheritance in the Kingdom will be determined by what we do for Christ, while our authority in the Kingdom will be determined by who we become in Christ.”
  • All of this friends, is based upon what we do with the life we have been graciously given!

    • I pray that at the end of my life, as I stand before Christ at the Bema Seat that He will be pleased with me and I will be rewarded accordingly.

    • Because, as my wife and I often say, we want to be fully squeezed and exhausted of every opportunity the Lord gave us.

    • Let’s Pray.


  • Josephus, Flavius, and William Whiston. The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987.

  • (The distance to the well near the gate of Bethlehem was more than twelve miles away. So, at best, this was a 24 mile commute in total for one drink of water.) Bergen, Robert D. 1, 2 Samuel. Vol. 7. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.