Lentils like Shammah the son Agee, a Hararite defended

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 and struck the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory. (2 Samuel 23:11,12 NASB)

Eleazar fought until he was exhausted and he was unable to release his grip from his sword. Shammah, by contrast, defended something we would probably consider to be almost worthless, a plot of ground full of lentils.

The term, plot of ground, is a general term and it is very difficult to know how much land or what kind of land was intended. It was fertile enough to grow lentils. Lentils, barley, and sycamore figs are all mentioned in the Old Testament as food of the very poor. The food was ready to harvest, but the Philistines wanted to destroy what little they had.

The people of Israel fled or retreated. They were overwhelmed by the organized attack of a superior fighting force. They concluded that this particular small plot of ground was not worth dying for. Shammah stood alone against an organized military unit and saved the plot of ground.

The ISV translates David’s mighty men as “David’s special forces”. That is not a word for word translation, but it is the meaning. They were trained and they were willing to do the dirty work. Shammah wrested the plot of ground from the Philistines. But the Lord, not Shammah is credited with the victory. and the Lord brought about a great victory.

When we use the Word of God as the Sword of the Lord, do we regard some battles as just not worth the effort? The rewards are too small? We are too tired? Other believers will just call us picky, petty and unwilling to get along with other people?

The first point is that we need to be trained special forces with the way we use the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We must allow the Spirit of God to guide us. We must also be well trained and well equipped in our use of God’s Word. This does not mean that we should not say anything until we have mastered both Hebrew and Greek, but we should be constantly studying and improving our skills. We should be extremely careful with not only what we say, but the way we say it.

The second point is that we need to understand what God’s standards are. God clearly says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8,9 ISV) So we must be careful not to place a different value on concepts and ideas from what God in His Word tells us. In combat with evil, we must not waste our time majoring on the minors, dealing with every little issue as if that issue was the most important issue in the word. At the same time God places great value on issues the world views as trivial and unimportant.

The third and most important point is to effectively defend truth, no matter how unimportant the world views this truth, to …continue your vigorous defense of the faith that was passed down to the saints once and for all. Jude 3 Jesus described how important the minor details are. I tell you with certainty that until heaven and earth disappear, not one letter or one stroke of a letter will disappear from the Law until everything has been accomplished. (Matthew 5:18 ISV)

While we must “let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6 ISV), at the same time, we need to be both trained and equipped in the proper use of the Word of God to be one God’s special forces.

Are we willing to take our stand, alone, in a plot of lentils?

Image by Photographer User: Justinc Wikimedia Commons

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