"DO NOT LET GO" Text: 2 Sam 23:8-10 "These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. 9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil."
Intro: Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite was a descendant of Benjamin. He was one of the three mighty men with David in his wars, and fought with him, and for him: when they defied the Philistines; clapped their hands at them daring them to fight; so did David and his mighty men, as Goliath had defied hem before: that were there gathered together to battle.The men of Israel were gone away; fled when they saw the Philistines gather together to fight them so David, and his three mighty men, were left alone to combat the Philistines.
In the roll of one of the most honored in King David's army, there was Eleazor who was counted worthy to be part of the first "three Musketeers" so to speak. This first ranking triad of fighting machines was the best of the best of 30 men. There were ten groups of three's, each had it own captain over whom the Tachmonite was chief. So, Eleazar was the third man down the line of 30. He didn't get there by being derelict of duty.
None of the three mighty men were mediocre or average in military prowess. They would put both Generals McCrystal and Petraeus to shame by comparison. But while Eleazar was not the best of the three, the Tachmonite being number one, he is nevertheless noted as a man who would not quit, a fighter who would not let go of the sword in his hand until the battle was done. He had a disposition of perseverance. That sword seemed welded to his grip and with it he slew an unknown number of the evil Philistine enemy of the Jews. Perhaps it wasn't even as many as the 800 slain by Adino, but the thing which stands out about him was his will power to stay with the fight until the victory was won. This tenacity was why his grip became so tight that once the fight was done, he could not immediately let go of the sword. Similarly, some of us have held a paint brush, or a tool that must be gripped firmly like a screw driver, or a dollar bill, so long that we had to force our fingers to let go.
Eleazar's heroic sword-grip was looked upon as proof of his valor and it became his mark of honor and renown.
There is a story here for our application. Can you see where I am going with this?
I. WE OBSERVE THAT ELEAZAR'S GRASP SHOWS HIS APPRECIATION OF THE SWORD AS A WEAPON BOTH OF DEFENCE AND OFFENCE.
1. He had confidence going into battle with his trusty, dependable, proven sword. A sword is no good unless it has been proven by being tested. A soldier could not do much with a weapon in which he had little or no confidence in battle. Eleazar risked his life upon the dependability of his weapon.
2. A weapon may be used both for ones defense against the oncoming bad guys, or as an offensive one when going after the bad guys.
3. There are evil forces for us to battle daily. Eph 6:11-13 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
What is our weapon for battling against the forces of sin and of evil today? It is a sword, the sword of the Spirit. Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" and Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
4. It is a mistake to go into a spiritual battle without a trusty sword. This is the plight of the modern and liberal theologians who do NOT go with an inspired Bible in hand. Such men do not accept this bible as the authoritative, complete inspired and dependable word of God. They make excuses for passages they say are in error, or not inspired, or inserted along the way by some scribe other than the original writer. How can such men enter a pulpit and hope to defeat the evil in this world with a bible that they say is flawed or unreliable? They are not being realistic!
5. God's "sword of the Spirit," His Holy Word is the only successful weapon against evil and the only tool capable of changing the human hardness of heart making it receptive to His inspired truth. It was the only weapon effective in bringing us down to our knees in repentance of our sins and trusting in the one and only giver of eternal life with all of its accompanying riches and rewards, amen!
Others may have produced in us a "turning over of a new leaf", but that didn't last. Mama may have shamed us into not smoking and drinking, but that may not have been effective when Mama was not around. Our parents may have warned us about licentious behavior, fornication, lying, cheating, and for the time we towed the mark just to please them; but that may change when young boys become men, and young girls become women, then they often throw that all away for a moment of "the pleasure of sin for a season," only to discover that in taking fire into ones bosom, one absolutely does get burned, perhaps irreparably!
6. The efficiency of God's Word does not consist in knowing the mere letter of it, but in the adorning the doctrines and duties which it teaches and in the virtues which it commends, such as honesty, justice, purity, benevolence, holiness, and integrity. It took such men to fill the offices in the first Baptist church in Jerusalem, Ac 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business." Doesn't it make you sick when you read about all of the dishonesty in government, the business world, churches and in all of society? When the truth come out of what they have done and are doing, one wonders how in the world this nation of ours can survive much longer!
The U.S.A. is on a slippery slope playing footsie with the enemies of Christ, and I for one am sick and tired of our national leaders forsaking our Christian heritage and roots in order to bow down to them out of fear they might get offended if we proudly stand upon our Christian roots.
We are offended when our President bows in respect before the king in Saudi Arabia, etc., and we are angered when he says, that we are no longer a Christian nation.... HOW WRONG HE IS, HE WANTS US TO BELIEVE his declaration, but we KNOW BETTER.
The vast majority of "we the people" still believe that our "Almighty God" is NOT the same as the false gods of the world, and that JESUS CHRIST IS the SON OF GOD and that the pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock and all those up unto 1776 when our founding fathers produced, under God, the Constitution, the people of this land were mostly a religious people of the Christian faith.
Ronald Reagan said something like this: "that if America ever ceases to be one nation under God, it will be a nation gone under!"
Beloved, gird on your swords and prepare to battle the enemies of our times. You MUST USE THE SWORD of the SPIRIT, our human words will not be sufficiently effective. God's WORD IS ALWAYS EFFECTIVE IN WHAT HE SENDS IT TO DO. Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
This is not a time for acquiescence to the status quo; it is a time to stand up and be counted among the many who have not bowed the knee to Baal. 1Ki 19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." Today this is YOU AND I.
Be like the three Hebrew children who wouldn't bend, they wouldn't bow, and they wouldn't burn because God delivered them out of the hands of their captors. We are admonished, 1Co 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." "Quit you....." means, "man up, conduct yourself like men." Don't be a wimp (a weak, ineffectual, timid person ) or a woose (coward and fraidy cat)!
II. ELEAZAR GRASPED HIS SWORD FIRMLY AND WOULD NOT RELAX ITS HOLD. WHY? it was HIS ONLY HOPE of survival.
1. The enemies of the cross of Christ know that if they can wrest our sword from out our hands we would be weak and defenseless. If our grasp of our Bible sword be weak, I mean if we are ignorant of this bible, or if we doubt the truthfulness of parts of it, if we allow skepticism to dwell in even a part of our viewpoints about the bible, all the enemy needs do is STRIKE A BLOW at our weak points to cause us to lose our grip on the other POWERFUL aspects of this holy word of which we have no doubts. If we allow the Bible to be wrong in one place; how are we to determine if it is correct in the others? We can't! Either love, believe and defend this sword or else reject it all!
Not only will the Bible be ineffectual against them if we are not firm in our belief of it, but this will leave us weak and an indefensible coward on somebody's church roll. Such an army cannot win victories for the LORD! A Christian who doubts the effectiveness of using the sword of the Spirit will lose in the battle of minds and wit.
Never allow the enemies of Christ to cast doubts upon the account of creation or the miracles of the Bible; the flood, Noah's ark, parting of the red sea, Jonah and the whale, the virgin birth of Jesus, the feeding of the 4,000; 5,000 plus, the many healings, the raising of Lazarus and others, and of course the real death of Jesus for our sins, and his rising from the grave followed by his ascension to Heaven.
These are all genuine and real happenings. No myths, nor hocus pocus, no fairy tales, not allegorical, not figurative, but genuine facts with no fiction, amen, and amen!!!
2. Worldliness, avarice, appetite, lust, and malice may so loosen our grasp upon the principles of the Word of God that it causes us to lose our grip upon it, and be compelled to surrender in defeat.... simply because we have allowed the devil to cheat us out of the firm convictions that this Bible is truth without any admixture of error. If we allow it, the world can steal away from us the joy of having hearts fixed upon God's word. Ps 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD." Ps 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me." The sword of the Spirit is our comforting means in times of trouble.
3. It requires true heroism to hold onto principles when "the men of Israel are gone away and the Philistines are arrayed against " us. When we feel that there's only a few of our kind of Baptists left, take comfort like Elijah did, the Lord still has others who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Just because we don't know where they are doesn't mean they don't exist. They do exist!
4. A true soldier should rather retreat than to lose his sword. It is his lifeline. A soldier without a weapon is powerless and the prey of the enemy. A nation doesn't send a soldier into battle without arming him well. So, you and I have been armed to the teeth with the only weapon we need to win. The SWORD OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD. GRASP IT FIRMLY, NEVER LET GO OF IT. NEVER SURRENDER IT. KEEP IT UNSHIETHED, ALAWAYS READY TO USE.
III. ELEAZAR'S GRASP WAS MADE FIRMER BY THE CONFLICT.
1. A true hero does not stop to take a body count of the enemy dead nor to consider a compromise, nor to hide himself from the battle through fear of ridicule, or of the arsenal of the enemy, but putting his strength to his sword rushes into the fray come what may. It is sink or swim! Do or die! Win or lose!
2. Don't be afraid of the rudeness of sinners for we are well equipped to handle their accusations IF we are KNOWLEDGABLE of our SWORDS POTENTIAL TO DISARM our attacker. The king of Syria sent his army to Dothan to arrest Elisha, whose servant after seeing them was distressed about what they would do to escape, was told by Elisha, 2Ki 6:16 ... Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them," thus referring to the chariots of the Lord which had come to aid their escape from harm.
4. Christian conflict requires a believer to have a firm grasp upon the scriptures, his sword, and the glory of the gospel. Jesus met and repulsed Satan's aggressions three times during the wilderness temptation each time quoting Scripture. Mt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Mt 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Mt 4:10-11 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
Perhaps there is comfort in having others fighting the battles along with us right by our side. But if we are fighting alone, it gives us an opportunity to shine as an individual and to show what one person can do.... with the help of God. Example, David slaying of Goliath.
IV. ELEAZARS FIRMESS OF GRIP AND FIERCENESS OF CONFLICT MADE HIS SWORD CLEAVE UNTO HIS HAND.
1. Whatever we cling to shapes the grasp, and will in proportion to the strength of the grasp, cleave unto the hand. The more firmly we grasp, the more efficiently we use the words and principles of the Word, the more deeply will they be embedded into our nature and cleave unto us thru life. Pr 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
2. Even when the hand grows weary, if the sword cleaves to the hand, we can still fight on. We never grow too old to fight the battle for God's truth and glory.
3. The sword of the Spirit has adhered so firmly to the hand of many a hero in God's army that even the threat of death could not break the grasp. Paul was not intimidated by such threats. Ac 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
4. Queen Esther was faced with a dilemma of speaking to the king without being sent for which could mean her death or keeping silent which would result in the annihilation of her people, the Jews destroyed out of the kingdom according to wicked Haman's plan. She met the challenge with courage, Es 4:16 .... so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." The truth was her sword and she risked her life with it.
V. ELEAZAR'S SWORD GRASP WAS MADE THE MARK OF HIS HEROISM AND HIS RENOUN. What we read in this passage is all we know about Eleazar. He is distinguished from the other men in the Old Testament who had the same name, as the son of Dodo, who's "hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day."
1. All true marks of honor are obtained through conflict and suffering. Paul was a marked man. Many were out to kill him because of the message of the gospel. He suffered for preaching Christ to the world. Ga 6:17 ...for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." 2Co 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;" His attitude was unscathed, Ro 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
There are many ways one might suffer as a Christian. It can cause us to lose some "so called" friends; it may limit one's advancement where they work; it can make some people uncomfortable to be around us; it may convince others that we live a boring life because we will NOT be the servant of sin along with them, 1Pe 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:" But no matter; 1Pe 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." 1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
2. This cleaving of the sword is the mark of God's greatest heroes. For Heaven's sake, DON'T LET GO of it. It was the thing God used to bring life to us.
3. Clinging to the true and right until the true and right cleave unto us is as heroic today as it was for Eleazar to cleave to his weapon. This kind of grasp will be our badge of honor in eternity because we did our best to "fight the good fight of the faith" (1 Tim 6.12)
If we rightly use the Sword of the Spirit it will gain for us great victories in the conflicts of our earthly life and in our heavenly kingdom it will produce great rewards, crowns and recognitions. Mt 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Can we truthfully say what Paul told young Timothy, 2Ti 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Amen!
Conc.: DON'T LET GO OF THE SWORD, which is THE WORD OF GOD, and of course you can't because it is what brought you to the lord; AND IT IS what keeps you there as His possession; it is your lifeline; your source of strength in time of trouble; your guide to wisdom; your shelter in time of storm. Jesus prayed to the Father concerning those which were given to Him by the Father, Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." The Word is the Sword, it is His truth, it has set us apart unto himself forever and forever.
The best place to invest our lives today is in a new testament Baptist church like Pleasant Ridge. We are to support it with our life, our time, our money, our talent, our interest and our body. Ro 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
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