Men of Valor

And David said, “Oh, if only someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem. You know the one I’m talking about, the one by the gate!” (2 Sam. 23:15)

What does it mean to be a Mighty Man of Valor?

What does it take? In the Old Testament, God gives us a perfect example. A story comes to us from the glory days of King David. Here is how the story unfolds. A garrison of Philistines had invaded the Valley of Rephaim and had control of the City of Bethlehem. King David and his mighty men were held up in a stronghold called the Cave of Adullam. And apparently, there was a particular well in Bethlehem that had some very good tasting water. Water that would remind the King of the true value of His homeland, for there was no mistaking the reality - Bethlehem was the City of David. 

You’ll Notice: King David didn’t order anyone to get him a drink of water. He wasn’t even talking to anyone in particular. He was just thinking out loud. He was hot and thirsty and wanted something cool to drink… from His home.

Not Mere Men:

Josheb, Eleazar and Shammah were lounging close by, probably trying to stay safe and out of the sun. Yet hearing the desire of their King; they moved as warriors and servants, not as mere men. As they glance back and forth between each other, they knew what was required. They look around… apparently no one else was paying attention to what their king had said. And without a word, they each quietly get up. They stoop to retrieve their weapons from where they lay close at hand. Slowly they make their way through the crowd; till at last, clear from the throng surrounding the King, their paths join. As they disappear over the crest of the rise, their heads are close together, quietly planning. No one noticing their departure.

 Three – Out of A Million:

At this time there were over a million warriors who drew the sword in defense of Israel. From out of all these warriors, thirty-seven earned a special place of honor, being immortalized in God’s Word for their heroism. Of the thirty-seven, three earned a special distinction for a specific act of selfless service to their King. God honored these three above all the rest, and it seems fitting to recognize their sacrifice and call them Men of Valor.

The Bible says they, “broke 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” (2 Sam. 23:16).

As these three valiant men, reach their destination, one lowers a vessel into the cool depths of the well. When he brings it up again into the fierce heat of battle, it is cold and wet. Its dripping as he clutches it against his chest, the coolness soaking through his tunic. Once again his hand is free and he is able to swing his sword effectively. No drawing back and no moment to waste, for this cause was as sweet as the drink itself. To bring pleasure to their King!

Overwhelmed by the Act of Valor – Devotion!

King David’s heart explodes with gratitude and humbled honor at the devotion of these warriors who faced certain death. As they stood before him with blood still dripping from their swords. He cried out, “There is no way, O Lord, that I could drink this! Is this not the blood of the men who laid down their lives for my cause? And for what! So that I could have a drink of water?” And he wouldn’t drink it. He poured it out on the ground as an offering before the Lord. The water soaked into the soil with the blood that still dripped from the warriors’ clothing. These are the things that are done by Men of Valor.

What is required to become a Man of Valor? I would like to propose that it takes more than gifting or mighty exploits, more than courage and determination… It requires Devotion!

  • It is the way a person hears the desire of his King!

How did Josheb pick up his spear and slay 800 Philistines? It was the way he heard! How did Eleazar find the courage to defy the Philistines and single handily wipe out an army? It was the way he heard! How did Shammah stand in the middle of a field of beans and fight Philistines all day so there was a great victory in Israel? The Word tells us it was God who brought forth the victory (2 Sam. 23:12)! Devotion gains the favor of God. How could these mere mortal men accomplish such supernatural things? It was because they considered their own lives already dead. They lived only to serve God’s anointed King of Israel.

Something To Live For:

They were self-less servants with an ear for the King. Their motivation was to live and die a thousand deaths for God’s Anointed. These three Mighty Men of Valor didn’t have a death wish. They had just found something to live for that was more important than their next breath. They discovered that nothing in their lives could compare to the honor of serving God’s anointed King. Nothing they could do on their own brought them the fulfillment they received in serving their King. In sacrifice they discovered the key to really living.

And live they would… an example for all generations!    (Rom. 12:1-2)

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