II Samuel 23:8-16
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
-Edmund Edward Burke.
I am a huge classic movie fan. One of my favorite actors is Jimmy Stewart. In one of his greatest films, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, he plays a member of the U.S. Congress, fighting corruption in government. While the movie was released in 1939 its subject matter seems like a story from today’s newsfeed. In one of the most powerful scenes in the movie, Jimmy Stewart speaks with conviction before Congress:
“I guess this is just another lost cause… you fight harder for the lost causes than for any others. Yes, you’d even die for them…You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked. Well I’m not licked. And I’m gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these. And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me.”
In this weeks’ Bible reading we see David’s’ tribute to the “mighty men” who have faithfully followed him, even when their cause seemed lost. When they first came to David, I Samuel 22:2 tells us that the “mighty men” were anything but mighty. “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: “God used David to mold and shape these men into bold and faithful warriors; willing to die for a “lost” cause.
David formed this group by showing the men that they were not alone. God had drawn them together to serve and glorify Himself. Through David’s’ example of sacrifice and love, this rag tagged group of men learned the importance of standing together.
The bond between David and the mighty men is best shown in their willingness to sacrifice their all for their king. Second Samuel chapter 23 David tells the story of when the garrison of the Philistines was 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!” Tired and weary David longed for home, and a drink of cool water from the well of Bethlehem. Three of his 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.” They were willing to sacrifice their very lives to bring David a taste of home. While David rejected their gift because of its great cost, the gift showed their willingness to sacrifice their all.
This same portion of scripture highlights the action of “Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David”. When the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword:”. David saw Eleazar as a mighty man who would not run from a fight.
When you see Satan and the enemies of God so infiltrate our society, it’s hard to ignore the raging battle. Our world desperately needs Christians who are willing to become “mighty men” and fight for what the world sees as “lost causes”. We must realize we are not alone; God is the ultimate Victor. God calls us to willingly sacrifice our all, to be lights in a dark world. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10).
You may ask, “why would I want to fight?”. Let’s go back to Jimmy Stewards words, “… you fight harder for the lost causes than for any others. Yes, you’d even die for them…You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked. Well I’m not licked. And I’m gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause.”
Think of the agony of the cross, the women weeping when Jesus was buried and Satan’s’ cackling “You are licked.” “I won!”. But Jesus looked through the annals of time, He saw me…the lost cause…and the stone is thrown away. He is the Ultimate Victor. Why fight? Because I am the lost cause Jesus saw as worth fighting for.