Monday, April 24, 2017

Tekoa

Ikkesh, the father of Ira, one of David's Mighty Men was from Tekoa.  There is not a lot of pre-David Biblical information about Tekoa but long after David and his Mighty Men were dead, the shepherd who would become prophet, Amos, came from Tekoa.  Amos prophesied during the time of Uzziah, King of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel.

In relation to the Mighty Men, there is not a lot of biblical data provided about Tekoa.  However, I did find in my research that at one time the olive trees from Tekoa were used in the Menorah during Chanukah.

Only the purest of olive oils was used for the Menorah. Do you know how it was prepared? Well, to begin with, no ordinary olives were used for the oil of the Menorah. Preference was first of all given to the oil of the olives growing around the city of Tekoa. No, not Tokyo, my boy, good heavens, no! Tekoa is a town in the Holy Land of Israel, where the Prophet Amos used to live. This town was located in the province belonging to the Tribe of Asher, whom Yaakov blessed with the words: "Asher's bread shall be fat and he shall yield royal dainties" (Gen. 49:20). The olives had to be grown on virgin soil which had not been artificially manured or irrigated. The olives had to be ripe and fresh from the tree, and only the first drops gently squeezed out from such choice olives could be used for the Menorah!

T is for Tekoa the home of the Mighty Man Ira's father, Ikkesh.

Further interesting reading about Tekoa







Saturday, April 22, 2017

Shammah


Shammah, or Shamhuth in 1 Chronicles 27:8, probably was one of the Three who risked their lives to get a drink of water for the king.  He and Eleazar shared a bond as the only two who were described as standing their ground in a field while everyone else fled.  Shammah, "when the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils....took his stand in the middle of the field.  He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory."

There's no detail of his hand being frozen to a sword but I can almost hear the two of them boasting about the victory.  Just when their egos might be getting too inflated perhaps a gentle reminder from the Holy Spirit might have come, "Boys, the LORD brought about a great victory.  You two are the ones who got to hold the sword and watch."

We all carry the boasting strand mixed in our DNA.  We tell our war stories building ourselves up in all that we did or didn't do, but in the end, when the miracles are the only explanation for the trouble we were able to find our way through, the humble person knows they had nothing at all to do with winning the fight.  It is indeed the Lord who brings about our victories.

I wonder, as Shammah and Eleazar stood in those fields of lentils and barley, their swords raised, were they hearing the words Moses had heard generations before:

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Perhaps the LORD is saying the same to you, dear reader.  Be still.  The LORD will fight for you.  He didn't tell Moses he might fight for you or he'll think about fighting for you or even that he'll decide if you're worth fighting for.  

He WILL fight for you.

Just

Be still.



S is for Shammah

2 Samuel 23:11-17
Exodus 14


Friday, April 21, 2017

Ribai, father of Ithai


The loyalty of David's Mighty Men is something that God seems to want me to be sure is understood in the stories of their exploits and devotion to the man after God's heart.  Ribai's son, Ithai would become a loyal follower of David and be counted as a Mighty Man.  For whatever eternal purposes these stories have made their way into the scriptures, it seems to me as I am studying these Mighty men, God has placed a strong emphasis on the leader's need for loyalty among those who follow him.
As we read yesterday, life and limb were risked by David's Mighty men for a simple drink of water for their leader.

Ribai's boy carried the qualification of loyalty too.  A native of Gath, he left his native Philistine city and committed himself to David.  When David's son Absalom rebelled against David, Ittai went with the king and refused to return to Jerusalem even after David said, "Why should you come along with us?  Go back and stay with King Absalom.  You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland.  You came only yesterday.  And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going..."

Ittai's loyalty is admirable.  He answered David, "As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be."

He was loyal to David through all difficult changes and circumstances.  Because of this loyalty, David made him a commander of a third part of his army, along with Joab and Abishai.    

R is for Ribai's son, Ithai.  A foreigner loyal to a king.



2 Samuel 15:18-22; 18:2, 5

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quench


There is a story recorded about a day David was thirsty.  He was surrounded by his enemy, the Philistines, and said, "Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem"(where it just so happened to be where the Philistines were).  The story goes then "So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David."

But what did David do?  His "Three" risked their lives for their leader's thirst and when they brought it to him, "he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD.  'God forbid that I should do this!' he said.  'Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?'  Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it."

The leadership of David was such that the Three risked their lives for his thirst to be quenched.

Q is for Quench

1 Chronicles 11:15-19

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Philistines

There is a saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."  No truer saying could be used to describe David's relationship with the Philistines.

The Philistines, on more than one occasion were an enemy to the Hebrews, especially under King Saul.  However, they were a friend to David, who even after killing their giant warrior Goliath, years later would give David refuge when Saul was hunting him down to be killed.  (1 Samuel 21:10-15; 27:1-28:2; 29:1-11).

Perhaps during those years of "friendship" were when David studied and learned things from the Philistines that he would later use to his advantage when he and the Mighty Men battled them before, during and while he was king.

On the battlefield, one can never be certain your friend one day may become your enemy the next.  David certainly could attest to that.

P is for Philistines.