Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Manly Characteristic - Determination

Have you ever felt like you were out there by yourself? Or have you ever experienced the feeling of being in a coordinated effort only to sense everyone else just give up and leave you leading a charge of one? Well, that describes what happened to this mighty man of David named Eleazar. Read the text below:
And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the mighty men with David when he defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. He 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.  (2 Samuel 23:9-10 and 1 Chronicles 11:12)
Eleazar saw the injustice of the Philistine attacks, caught the vision of standing up against them, and threw himself into the fray. The only problem was “the men of Israel had retreated!” Oh, great! Eleazar is standing out there waling on the enemy and his companions have all abandoned him. He could have easily tucked tail and run with the rest of them, but he had something that marked him as unique, different, uncommon and I mean in a good way. He had determination.

Determination is one of those qualities that makes a man finish a task regardless of whether or not the situation changes or the stakes suddenly become heavier. Determination does not say, “Hey, now this is not fair, this is not what I signed up for!” Eleazar showed up and then the rest of his comrades checked out, but he stayed the course, he refused to give in, give up, or go home. The calling was to stand against the enemy shoulder to shoulder, but when everyone else gave up Eleazar reached into his heart and adjusted the calling to simply stand against the enemy, period. In a culture rife with so many wishy-washy, “fair-weather” Christians the need for “Eleazars” is immeasurable.

Another incredible symbolic message found in the life of this hero is in the phrase, “and his hand stuck to the sword.” The Hebrew word for “stuck” is ‘da vak,’ meaning to cleave, overtake, attach, or stick together. It’s a word picture of two things being glued together, in this case Eleazar’s hand and his sword. Now the word “sword” brings to mind the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17).” Eleazar displays for us the indispensable connection of God’s warrior and his quick, sharp and powerful offensive weapon, the Bible (Heb. 4:12). We should be so attached to this Book, so affected by its influence that you can’t tell where your physical person ends and the Word of God begins! With such confidence and training in the Word, it would be natural for a person to be steadfast, immoveable, and determined.
A phrase used in this passage that I pray will happen over and over is “the Lord brought about a great victory that day.” If we as spiritual leaders made the commitment to dive into the Word of God, allowing that life-changing Book to penetrate our thoughts, actions, and attitudes there would be no other result but great victories! Dive in with determination, my faithful warriors.