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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
Today, I focus upon an amazing story from 2 Samuel 23 - the story of David's drink from the well of Bethlehem. This story is one of the most inspiring stories of love and devotion in all of Scripture. And it bears some powerful spiritual realities, which merit our attention.
How much do you love your Heavenly King? Are you thankful to Him for all the love and blessings He has showered upon you? Just how far are willing to go to demonstrate your love for Yahweh? Do you love Him enough to go to the extreme? If so, I’m talking to you today. I would like to share with you what it takes to serve God as one of His true Warriors of Valor, which is the ultimate loving service.
A mighty warrior of valor is much more than a high ranking officer who leads soldiers into battle. In Spiritual terms, a mighty warrior of valor is any true Christian who is in the King's Army and is willing to go yet one step farther – beyond the comforting safe zone – beyond the limits of what even seems possible – to see that his King's needs and desires are taken care of. A true warrior of valor is one who would risk his or her own life, just to see that their King gets a cool drink of water.
Throughout history there have been countless battles, in which innumerable soldiers have fought. But for those who merely fought, doing only the minimum required or just what had to be done, their names are buried in the sands of time. They were present, serving their king, yet they aren’t remembered because they didn’t love their king enough to go beyond the ordinary.
Yet, going beyond the ordinary is exactly what it takes to be a mighty of warrior of valor. And in all those countless battles, the Mighty Warriors of Valor are remembered, to this day – not for who they were - so much as for what they did to demonstrate their extreme love and commitment to their King.
Where soldiers just show up and do what is required, a Mighty Warrior of Valor goes above and beyond what is merely required, to honor his king.
What does it mean to be a mighty warrior of valor in the Cause of God? What does it take? In King David’s day, there were thousands of soldiers who drew the sword in defense of Israel. From out of all these warriors, thirty-seven of them earned a special place, being remembered in Yahweh’s Word as special, righteous warriors of special valor, whose heroic deeds are immortalized in Scripture.
Of these 37 warriors of valor, three earned an even greater special distinction, for a specific act of selfless service to their king. God honored these three men, above all the rest, and we remember them as MIGHTY WARRIORS OF VALOR.
So what happened to cause them to be remembered in this way? In the time of King David’s reign, the Philistines had invaded Israel, pitching their encampment in the valley of Rephaim. A garrison of the Philistines had control of Bethlehem.
King David was in a stronghold, the cave of Adullam. This photo was taken looking out through entrance of a cave in Adullum Grove National Park. In the book of 2 Samuel, David, battle-weary and beleaguered, is recorded as longing for a drink of water from a well by the gate of Bethlehem. This must have been a very special well, with very delicious water, so much so that David was longing for a draught of it.
But even in David’s wish for a drink of this water, there was the sense of how impossible it would be to receive this desire. For Bethlehem was the hold of the enemy.
2 Samuel 23:14-15 "And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!"
King David didn’t order anyone to get him a drink of water! He was just thinking out loud. All of David’s men would still be wonderful and obedient soldiers, who had done their duty to David, without satisfying the king’s impossible wish. But for three of David’s men, just doing their duty wasn’t enough. They were so loyal to David and so committed to serving him, that carrying out his slightest wishes was something they determined to do.
But before I finish this part of the story, let me tell you a bit about these three mighty warriors of valor.
Chief among the three was Adino the Eznite. He had already become renowned for lifting his spear against 800 enemy warriors. Adino slew them all single-handedly in one battle, thereby earning himself the roll of leader among the three Captains. The story is found in 2 Samuel 23:8.
Next was Eleazar. In the Name of Yahweh, he had defied the Philistines to their face. And when he was all by himself, he attacked them! He fought with them for so long that his hand became cramped around his sword and he couldn’t turn it loose. The Bible says that Yahweh used him to bring a great victory to Israel that day. It says the other soldiers only returned in time to strip the armor off the fallen enemy and loot their bodies. We find this account in 2 Samuel 23:9-10.
And the third of these Mighty Warriors of Valor was Shammah. Once, while the rest of the army of Israel retreated from the advancing Philistine army, Shammah refused to give ground. He stood alone, in a field of lentils to defend Israel. And Yahweh used him to stop the Philistines in their tracks, without any human help. It’s in 2 Samuel 23:11-12.
These three Mighty Warriors of Valor overheard David’s musing. Maybe they kind of looked at each other across the cave. They knew what each other was thinking. They looked around. No one else seemed to be paying attention to what the king had said. Without a word, they each quietly got up. They retrieved their weapons from where they lay, close at hand. Slowly, they made their way through the crowd of other soldiers all gathered in the cave with David. At last, when they were out of the crowd, their paths joined. No one noticed their leaving, as they disappeared over the crest of the rise.
The Bible tells us that these three “broke through the host (or army) of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate.” The Bible account is so short that it almost makes this feat seem easy, but, in actuality, it was probably more like this…
Together, Adino, Eleazar and Shammah approached the walled, fortified city of Bethlehem on foot. The Philistines would have seen them coming from a mile away.When they were in range, the archers on the walls would have let fly every arrow in their quivers.
Undaunted by the arrows that rained down upon them, Adino, Eleazar and Shammah brought it on.
As they neared the wall, the enemy infantry would have swarmed from the gates and fallen upon them with sword and spear. But these three Mighty Men of Valor, under the power of God, met their foe and drove back the incomprehensibly overwhelming hoard!
At last, they reached the well. Then what had been three swords united against an overwhelming number of enemy soldiers became only two swords, as one of the mighty men was forced to stop fighting long enough to lower a vessel into the cool depths of the well. When he brought up the water vessel and filled his flagon with the delicious well-water, the warrior again joined the intense fighting, careful to insure that he didn’t lose his precious cargo.
By this time, the whole city would have been alerted to the invasion. The three “Mighties” would have had to fight their way out of the gates and away from the walls. How far did the Philistine soldiers pursue them? Did they hound them out into the desert, leaving a trail of dead and dying Philistines to mark the three warriors’ path? Or were the Philistines stunned by the carnage wreaked within their walls by so small a fighting force and just happy to see them all leave? We aren’t told. But the Bible does say that they made it back to cave of Adullum in victory.
As quietly as they had left, they returned. The three warriors came before their beloved king without fanfare and extended the vessel for him to drink. But when David saw the blood that still oozed from crusted battle wounds, when he smelled the death and battle that clung to their clothing, his soul was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the love and devotion these men had demonstrated for Yahweh, Israel and their king. David’s heart was filled with gratitude and humility at such devotion.
2 Samuel 23:16-17 "And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto Yahweh. And he said, Be it far from me, O Yahweh, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men."
The selfless sacrifice and devotion displayed by these wonderful warriors was so off the charts that David’s response and gratitude in receiving this expensive gift needed to be of equal magnitude – and it was.
The highest honor any drink can be given is to be used as a drink offering, poured out in worship of the Almighty. This is the honor David gave to this Bethlehem water, brought to him at such risk and cost, brought by devoted men, under the power of the Almighty, who went WAY beyond the call of duty in their desire to please their king.
Similarly, in Yahweh’s Kingdom there are special Mighty Warriors of Valor, who go above and beyond the normal call of duty. They aren’t content to do only what is asked or expected of them. So great is their love of their King, that they delight in pleasing Him in even the smallest things, doing things which most would find unnecessary.
Among Yahshua’s disciples, there were three of this caliber. They were Peter, James and John. And of these three, John was especially beloved. It wasn’t that Yahshua didn’t love and teach all of His disciples, its that these ones were not content with normal duty. They went above and beyond. Consequently, Yahshua took them places and let them behold glories that none of the other disciples were able to behold – like the Mount of Transfiguration.
It wasn’t that God was giving these men special treatment, while leaving the others out of the inner loop. The special treatment was bestowed because these men loved especially much and sought to be closer to the King than did all the rest. And their extra devotion was rewarded by Heaven, just as were David’s three Mighty Men.
In ancient Israel there was a special class of the extremely devoted. They were called Nazarites. Taking the Nazarite Vow was entirely voluntary. One might choose to never take the Nazarite Vow his entire life, and he would still be a good Israelite. But for those who wanted to be extra close to the King – simply making the passing grade wasn’t enough.
These ones wanted to go to the next level with God, to be the mighty prayer warriors who brought their Heavenly King a cup of water at great personal cost. These ones voluntarily chose to set aside time, whether short or long – they could choose – and they used this time to turn the world off and worship their Heavenly King uninterrupted from the cares of this world.
In making this choice, the Nazarite was personally greatly blessed. The blessing he received was greater than that of the regular Israelite. But also, notably, even the regular Israelite was more blessed because of the presence of Nazarites in his city or society.
Expressing how beautiful, in the Eye of Heaven, were these extremely devoted and extra dedicated Nazarites, in Lamentations it says:
Lamentations 4:7 "Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire."
The Nazarites may not have been literal warriors, as were David’s Mighty Men, but they were spiritual warriors, spiritual Mighty Men of Valor who were greatly beloved and doubly blessed for their deeper and more ardent devotion to Yahweh.
Just as there were Mighty Men of Valor in ages past, Yahweh calls upon His people to come up higher and take their place as Mighty Men and Women of Valor today. These ones love their Heavenly King extra much – and it shows in their devotion. Yahweh uses these ones to help His people along on the journey to the ultimate Promised Land.
Yahweh’s spiritual mighty men and women of valor are those who stay personally connected to Yahweh, so that they have the faith and strength to encourage and strengthen His other soldiers, in the day of trouble.
Deuteronomy 20:2-4 "And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For Yahweh your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."
So how does one do this today? How does one leave the masses of Christianity, and pursue a relationship with God that is deeper still? How does a person today go about becoming a spiritual Mighty Warrior of Valor willing to risk his own life just to see that their King gets that desired drink of water?
It all starts with a heartfelt desire. The Revelation of Yahweh that we are blessed to receive is proportionate to our level of seeking. So, if we’re content to just go to church once a week, attend the occasional campmeeting, and have the basic worship times with Yahweh each day, our relationship with God will be proportionate to this level of investment. But, if we aren’t content with merely keeping the wonderful mo’eds – the Divinely given appointed times with Yahweh – but rather seek to give Him those times and more beyond, we will begin to discover the Revelation of Yahweh on a much deeper level still (Jeremiah 29:13).
Think about it! Do you admire the relationship Moses had with Yahweh? Do you desire to have an intimate walk with God like David’s? Do you really? Do you know that you can have that walk with God – if only you will break out of the boundaries of what is merely required and throw your whole heart and soul into doing that which pleases your King, going beyond – FAR BEYOND.
The real motivation for being willing to personally sacrifice, in order to go beyond what is required, is love and thankfulness for the king. David brought out devotion in his men because he was a godly man who did dynamic things like slaying Giants and yet refusing to harm God’s anointed. For his entire reign, David loved God and cared for his people. He was not a perfect man, but he was a man after God’s own heart. The Bible says that David was so deeply devoted to God that Yahweh even blessed Solomon more deeply, for David’s sake. This is really saying something, since Solomon became an idolater.
When Yahweh found it necessary to punish Solomon for his idolatrous sins, God told Solomon that He would take the kingdom from him – but it would not happen in his lifetime, because of David. Solomon reaped the blessing of David’s faithfulness. In other words, David was such a special and devoted follower of God, himself, that people were still being blessed by the sweet influence of his life, long after he had died! Truly, David was a very special King, whose reign was the Golden Era of ancient Israel.
Only a very special King can inspire his subjects to the kind of loving devotion displayed in David’s Mighty Men of Valor. And David was such a man.
But if David, a sinful and sometimes failing human, could inspire such devotion; how much more inspiring is our Heavenly King? Yahweh has an infinite number of attributes to admire. Here are just a few…
Yahweh is wise. “Wisdom is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve these ends by the most perfect means.” In other words, God makes no mistakes. He is the Father who truly knows best, as Paul explains in Romans 11:33:
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!”
And yet Yahweh is generous with His Wisdom. Scripture tells us that if any of us lack wisdom, we can ask of God, Who gives liberally. Truly Yahweh’s Wisdom is to be admired and His generosity in bestowing it upon humans is something for which to be thankful to Him.
Yahweh is infinite and omnipotent. God knows no boundaries. He is without measure. This attribute by definition impacts all of the others. Since God is infinite, everything else about Him must also be infinite. We can be devoted to Him knowing that He is the Great I Am – and there are no limits to what He can do. We can be thankful to Him knowing that this Almighty, Infinite One is also our personal Helper.
Yahweh is also Holy. This is the attribute that sets God apart from all created beings. It refers to His majesty and His perfect moral purity. There is absolutely no sin or evil thought in God at all. His holiness is the definition of that which is pure and righteous in all the universe. Wherever God has appeared, such as to Moses at the burning bush, that place becomes holy just for God having been there. God’s holiness is not simply a better version of the best we know. God is utterly and supremely untainted. His holiness stands apart—unique and incomprehensible.
The fact that Yahweh is truly Holy is something we can surely admire. But the fact that Yahweh can make failing mortals, like us, holy is something which inspires our thankful and wholehearted devotion.
Yahweh is the perfect KING to inspire the level of devotion found in the Mighty Warrior of Valor. He is All-in-all, deserving our wholehearted love and complete devotion.
So what does being a Mighty Warrior of Valor look like, in a spiritual sense? What does it look like to go FAR BEYOND what is merely required and what all good soldiers of the King do – to spiritually enter the realm of God’s Mighty Men of Valor who took on the Bethlehem Philistines to bring their king a cup of water!
It means going beyond what is required – meeting the commands but voluntarily doing more – on every level. So while the standard Christian soldier level would be to give the required 1/10 for tithe, the Mighty Warrior of Valor will give more than is required – why? Because their highest joy is going above and BEYOND the call of duty – so great is their love for the KING.
Going BEYOND what is required means that our gifts and talents are not just submitted to God to be used on highlighted occasions in Yahweh’s service, but then used the majority of the week to meet our own financial needs. Rather going beyond what is required means that our gifts and talents are exclusively employed, full-time in the service of our King.
The Bible tells us that Yah’s people can choose to voluntarily esteem a day or a period of time for special prayer and communion with Yah. These extra days that people may voluntarily esteem are not in replacement of Yahweh’s specified Holy Days, rather they are in addition to the Days given in the Torah.
Choosing to set aside more time to spend with Yahweh, on occasion is a spiritual act similar to getting the king a drink of water. It isn’t required, but is an act given out of love and special devotion, in a desire to go BEYOND with God.
Both Scripture and the historical book of Jasher tell of one man who did this – going beyond the Time Appointments that were required. That man was Enoch.
Using the book of Jasher, which the Bible mentions twice as a valid history book, let’s flesh out the details of Enoch’s story and see how he spent more than the required time with God – and what was the result of it.
And Enoch lived sixty-five years and he begat Methuselah; and Enoch walked with God after having begot Methuselah, and he served the Lord, and despised the evil ways of men. And the soul of Enoch was wrapped up in the instruction of the Lord, in knowledge and in understanding; and he wisely retired from the sons of men, and secreted himself from them for many days.
And it was at the expiration of many years, whilst he was serving the Lord, and praying before him in his house, that an angel of the Lord called to him from Heaven, and he said, Here am I. And he said, Rise, go forth from thy house and from the place where thou dost hide thyself, and appear to the sons of men, in order that thou mayest teach them the way in which they should go and the work which they must accomplish to enter in the ways of God.
And Enoch rose up according to the word of the Lord, and went forth from his house, from his place and from the chamber in which he was concealed; and he went to the sons of men and taught them the ways of the Lord, and at that time assembled the sons of men and acquainted them with the instruction of the Lord.
And he ordered it to be proclaimed in all places where the sons of men dwelt, saying, Where is the man who wishes to know the ways of the Lord and good works? let him come to Enoch. And all the sons of men then assembled to him, for all who desired this thing went to Enoch, and Enoch reigned over the sons of men according to the word of the Lord, and they came and bowed to him and they heard his word.
And the spirit of God was upon Enoch, and he taught all his men the wisdom of God and his ways, and the sons of men served the Lord all the days of Enoch, and they came to hear his wisdom. And all the kings of the sons of men, both first and last, together with their princes and judges, came to Enoch when they heard of his wisdom, and they bowed down to him…
And Enoch taught them wisdom, knowledge, and the ways of the Lord; and he made peace amongst them, and peace was throughout the earth during the life of Enoch. And Enoch reigned over the sons of men two hundred and forty-three years, and he did justice and righteousness with all his people, and he led them in the ways of the Lord.”
And it was in the year of Adam's death which was the two hundred and forty-third year of the reign of Enoch, in that time Enoch resolved to separate himself from the sons of men and to secret himself as at first in order to serve the Lord. And Enoch did so, but did not entirely secret himself from them, but kept away from the sons of men three days and then went to them for one day.
And during the three days that he was in his chamber, he prayed to, and praised the Lord his God, and the day on which he went and appeared to his subjects he taught them the ways of the Lord, and all they asked him about the Lord he told them.
And he did in this manner for many years, and he afterward concealed himself for six days, and appeared to his people one day in seven; and after that once in a month, and then once in a year, until all the kings, princes and sons of men sought for him, and desired again to see the face of Enoch, and to hear his word; but they could not, as all the sons of men were greatly afraid of Enoch, and they feared to approach him on account of the Godlike awe that was seated upon his countenance; therefore no man could look at him, fearing he might be punished and die.”
And all the kings and princes resolved to assemble the sons of men, and to come to Enoch, thinking that they might all speak to him at the time when he should come forth amongst them, and they did so. And the day came when Enoch went forth and they all assembled and came to him, and Enoch spoke to them the words of the Lord and he taught them wisdom and knowledge, and they bowed down before him and they said, May the king live! May the king live!
And in some time after, when the kings and princes and the sons of men were speaking to Enoch, and Enoch was teaching them the ways of God, behold an angel of the Lord then called unto Enoch from heaven, and wished to bring him up to heaven to make him reign there over the sons of God, as he had reigned over the sons of men upon earth.
When at that time Enoch heard this he went and assembled all the inhabitants of the earth, and taught them wisdom and knowledge and gave them divine instructions, and he said to them, I have been required to ascend into heaven, I therefore do not know the day of my going. And now therefore I will teach you wisdom and knowledge and will give you instruction before I leave you, how to act upon earth whereby you may live; and he did so.
And he taught them wisdom and knowledge, and gave them instruction, and he reproved them, and he placed before them statutes and judgments to do upon earth, and he made peace amongst them, and he taught them everlasting life, and dwelt with them some time teaching them all these things.”
And at that time the sons of men were with Enoch, and Enoch was speaking to them, and they lifted up their eyes and the likeness of a great horse descended from heaven, and the horse paced in the air; And they told Enoch what they had seen, and Enoch said to them, On my account does this horse descend upon earth; the time is come when I must go from you and I shall no more be seen by you.
And the horse descended at that time and stood before Enoch, and all the sons of men that were with Enoch saw him… and it was upon the seventh day that Enoch ascended into heaven in a whirlwind, with horses and chariots of fire.” (Jasher 3:2-29 & 36)
Scripture gives us a powerful memorial of Enoch, placing him high among Yahweh’s spiritual Mighty Warriors of Valor. Why was Enoch translated? The Bible tells us that it was because Enoch had spent his life loving God, regularly going far beyond what was merely required. To the degree that we pursue Yahweh – that is the degree to which He reveals Himself to us.
What about you? Have you ever thought of stopping your busy life long enough give God more time than He asks? Have you ever considered taking some Enoch time with God? This isn’t just a luxury done by retired people with nothing to do! Taking Enoch Time with God satisfies a deep longing in the Heart of your King! Taking Enoch Time unlocks for you deeper revelations of God than you will ever be able to I know, without it.
I know… You’re too busy! How would you pay the bills? How would meet your obligations?
Yahweh doesn’t require you to take time with Him like this, just getting away with Him alone for a period of time not designated in Leviticus 23. No, you don’t have to do it. But if you desire to meet the longing of your Heavenly King – like the three mighty men of valor – who risked everything just to bring the king a drink – you’ll be willing to accept the cost just to go BEYOND what is required into the realm of extreme love, devotion and service.
And as you do this, you’ll be blessed with deeper, sweeter revelations of Yah than you’ve ever experienced before. Such is the reward for taking your relationship with God from being just another faithful soldier to a Mighty Man of Valor level.
When we read Isaiah 40:31 “they that WAIT upon Yahweh shall renew their strength…” we think of patiently tarrying, abiding quietly until Yahweh’s Timing comes. But I’d like to give you another viewpoint of this verse today. A person who brings your food, serving your every need in a restaurant is called a Waiter. What does the Waiter do – He serves you by waiting on you.
Now at this point, maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you’re thinking – “Wow! I’m just getting the strength to obey Yah’s COMMANDS! I can’t even imagine trying to do more than He has asked of me!” If so, I want to tell you right now that this sermon isn’t for everyone. 95% of David’s army were good, loyal soldiers, who faithfully obeyed his commands. Most of Israel were regular, Torah-keeping folks – who were blessed by Yahweh and were among His chosen people. Very few chose to become Nazarites.
But if you’re feeling that your own soul is more like dry and dead bones – and your heart is worlds away from that level of love for Yahweh – then I want to remind you of the promise Yahweh made to us through the prophet Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 37:11-14 “Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith Yahweh GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I Am Yahweh, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I Yahweh have spoken it, and performed it, saith Yahweh.”
Remember, David’s three Mighty Men of Valor conquered the Philistines of Bethlehem and brought water to the king, not in their own strength alone. Yahweh empowered them to do those mighty deeds. This is why the Bible says “and Yahweh wrought a great victory” through these men.
How far you go with God is really your choice. So now the question comes to you, “Just how far do you want to go with Yahweh?”
Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."