Don’t forget the trash

Here’s a progression of leadership that I find interesting, not that you have to be recognized “leader” in this sense to make the lessons noteworthy.  This is, however, a true countercultural mindset that I personally find very informative and challenging.

And David realized that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

In other words, one of the main reasons God blesses me is for the sake of His people.  (Wait…you mean it’s not about me??) Continue reading “Don’t forget the trash”

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Shields at full

A few more thoughts on the story of our hero, Shammah, lest we leave him fighting in a field of lentils.

Back in the day, names usually signified something—an important characteristic of the person, or an event when the child was born, something like that.  Names were important, not just something to throw around casually.

Many are familiar with the name “Shammah” as one of the covenant names of God, meaning “There” or “Present”.  (1) The name “Shammah”, used in this context and for this soldier of Israel, actually means “desolation, horror.” (2) Gag!  Whatever happened for this poor baby to get such a moniker?  Who knows, but the name stuck, as names generally do, particularly when we don’t want them to…

It gives me pause to consider why God would allow one of the mighty men of battle to have a name so closely sounding like His own,  yet with entirely opposite meaning.  Just a few thoughts:

  1. Many times it is in the very place of utter abandonment and horror that God chooses to show Himself the most astonishingly present. (Consider the cross, for example…)(3)
  2. Even when circumstances seems the most desolate, the fight continues, must continue, will continue. (The Philistines weren’t just going to call it a day and go home.) (4)
  3. God is not intimidated by numbers, for OR against. His name of Shammah, His presence and power, are ready to work through us and for us as we stand our ground. (5)

Thanks for readin’!!

  • Strong’s Concordance #8033
  • Strong’s Concordance #8047
  • Romans 8:28
  • Hebrews 12: 1-2
  • Philippians 4:13

Field of dreams,…oops, I mean lentils

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

I like lentils.  They’re probably not a fast moving item at the grocery, but they make a good soup.  To me, lentils come in a plastic bag, ready to be washed and cooked.  Never gave it much lentilsthought beyond that, until I read this story….

Once upon a time, David’s Israelite army was (yet again) fighting the Philistine army.  That’s hand to hand combat, close encounters of the really scary and dangerous kind, but this time the face off was not among the caves or in the valley, it was in the middle of a field of growing lentils. (Pity the poor farmer.) The battle was so fierce that the Israelites all retreated…except one guy named Shammah.

Here’s the quote: “ 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.   But he took his stand in the midst of the plot, defended it… ” (1)

I wondered why it was significant enough to include the part about lentils??  So I looked up what a “field of lentils” might look like.  Ouch.  Don’t every try to fight Philistines in a field of flowering lentils.  The plants grow to between 18 to 24 inches high and have branching vines, and I can only imagine what the footing would be like!

So here’s Shammah in the middle of tall, vining flora twisting around his feet with taller, fierce Philistines going for his throat.  By himself.  Abandoned.

Most of us can relate.  We’re doing what God wants us to do, to the best we can, when suddenly all those who were fighting with us in this thing called life up and retreat.  Not only do we still have to face the attackers, but the vines of depression, disillusionment and despair keep threating to make us fall right onto the enemy’s sword.  We are by ourselves.  Abandoned.

Well, not exactly.  Like good ole’ Paul Harvey would say, here’s the “rest of the story”:

“…and struck the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.”

Interesting how one person that stands his ground plus God equals more than a whole army.  In fact, just in the chapter before this story, David writes how God makes our hands ready for battle, how by our Lord we can run over a troop. (2)

Just a little encouragement.  Stand your ground with God.   (And try some lentils next time you’re at the store.)

To be continued….

  • 2 Samuel 23: 11-12, NASB
  • 2 Samuel 22

Whole lotta shakin’ going on

(pixabay)
(pixabay)

Here’s another part of the story about Prince Jonathon and his little sortie against the hillside Philistine party.  In fact, it’s probably a bit of an overlooked, but really important segment of the account. 

Once the prince and his side-kick armor bearer finished off the enemy soldiers on the hill, (which was 2 against 20, BTW), God then sends an earthquake, which had to be pretty scary to everyone, including our two heroes who had just put themselves in great peril for their nation and, more importantly, their God.  

Seems like a pretty unconventional way of saying “well done”.

[I find it mildly amusing, or sad, probably both, when we call a natural disaster an “act of God”.  Primarily because so many people in our society no longer even believe in God, (although one hears His name thrown around repeatedly in various ways), but also as if He is to blame for acts of His creation, (any more than a parent can be blamed for their adult children’s decisions, as much as we like to do that these days.)  But I digress…]

The result of this act of God was that a large portion of the Philistine army was eradicated by this “natural disaster”, providing additional overwhelming victory for the Israelite army.  So, as scary as surfing on what was originally terra firma was for our two, their persistence and faithfulness (gotta love that old-fashioned word!) paid off big.  The earthquake needed to be properly interpreted as God’s intervention rather than an unfortunate interruption in Jon’s plan

The point: what seems like a setback, a disappointment, or even a disaster may just be God’s rearrangement of our otherwise comfortable terra firma for a greater “victory”. 

Check it out for yourself at:

1 Samuel 14

Romans 8:28

Ephesians 3:20-21