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Two men, standing their ground.

One in a field of barley.

The other, poised for battle in a bean field.

Standing firm, these seasoned warriors—

strongest, bravest, closest, most resolved in their loyalty to the man chosen

for ruling and reigning over God’s people.

 Now these were the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.  –             I Chronicles 11:10

 These guys stayed by his side, helping David assume the throne.

(We can talk later about the Israelite who killed three hundred men in a single day!)

Wow! To have such men on your side when God’s plan unfolds—

not to mention when a king and his entire army stop at nothing to have you killed!

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After him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. He was with David at Pasdammim. Now there the Philistines were gathered for battle, and there was a piece of ground full of barley. So the people fled from the Philistines. But they stationed themselves in the middle of that field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.  –  I Chronicles 11:12-14

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And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.  –  II Samuel 23:11-12

The Philistines had taken over the town of Bethlehem—

the childhood home of David.

Finding refuge in a cave tucked in the hills beyond the town,

safely hidden from his enemies,

in gazing across the valley,

who knows what jumble of thoughts filled his mind,

and how long had it been since he had drunk from the well of his recollections?

An impulsive longing, spoken aloud…

And suddenly his friends were up to the challenge

(boys will be boys,

and men will be boys),

more than qualified, daringly ready to take the risk,

just to give the man a drink of  water!

Like young Marines stationed in desert land away from the battle,

incessant boredom, the order of the day…

Their future king wanted a drink,

all they had to do was slip in and out of the enemy’s camp.

Something to break the monotony—

being life-threatening only made it that much more of a thrill.

Guys—anyone thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?

One of the bravest challenged…

Why not? We’re just sittin’ here bored; nothin’ else to do anyway.

Droopy eyes lit up with the prospect,

devious grins spread across their unshaven faces.

Let’s go!

To fearless men, engaging the enemy is child’s play…

for these champions of Israel,

loyal in their allegiance, devoted to God and to their leader,

this was an opportunity to show support—

and have a little fun at the same time.

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Then three of the thirty chief men went down at harvest time and came to David at the cave of Adullam. And the troop of Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim.  David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.  And David said with longing, Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!  So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord.  And he said, Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it.  –  II Samuel 23:14-17

Never dreaming his friends would put themselves in danger

to satisfy his thirst,

he poured out his offering to the Lord,

grateful for their affection,

even more grateful for their safety.

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But back to our story of the barley and bean fields…

Give the evil one a smidgen?

He’ll not be satisfied till he gets all

all of you, all of yours, all of everything else you’re eager to give up,

all you’re unwilling to fight for,

every square foot of spiritual, physical, mental and emotional real estate

you and I are not willing to defend,

not gripping tightly enough.

Whatever ground God has entrusted to us

should be protected, defended, guarded,

no matter how small—

and never mind if others view it as insignificant.

If it was granted you by God,

and the enemy has his eye on it,

you better believe it’s worth defending!

 (Photo of Bethlehem, courtesy of Deror Avi, Wikimedia Commons)

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