Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'll Stand Here

And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines.  But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory.  2 Samuel 23:11-12

I don’t think this was particularly strategic ground in any normal military sense.  We often find ourselves in struggles and confrontations with the world, and the issues seem minor.  It’s hardly worth the conflict or the effort.  We are told to be at peace with people as much as is possible from our side.  Blowing up about every little thing or blowing things out of proportion probably doesn’t do much to advance the kingdom.  

I’m sure there were those among the soldiers who were fleeing who thought Shammah picked a poor “hill to die on”.  Who cares about that pea patch?  That’s the whole Philistine army coming across there.  Sometimes, though, it is the small battles upon which the outcome of the larger war turns. 

We might find ourselves wondering if some of the “insignificant ground” we have surrendered as Christians has led to us being under such an intense siege in the culture war these days.  If we had been more diligent in condemning the belittling of marriage through no-fault divorce and moving marriage from a sacrament of the church to a profane, civil ceremony blessed by the state (profane in the sense of not being sacred within the church), we might not be looking at the travesty of the state acknowledging, approving, and enforcing the ludicrous concept of homosexual marriage. 

If we had pulled our children from public schools and refused to support a centralized, government-run education system when the Supreme Court began to separate knowledge from morality, we might not have a generation of virtue-challenged, moral morons today.

But these things have happened.  This ground has been lost.  Maybe all we have left is a pea patch, and, if that’s all we have then it is worth defending.  Maybe that’s what Shammah thought.  I’m tired of giving up ground.  It reminds of the scene in The Warriors where Cowboy and Ajax are running from the Baseball Furies.  Cowboy says he doesn’t think he can make it.  Ajax asks him if he is sure that he can’t make it.  Cowboy says that he is sure.  Ajax says, Good.  He had had enough running.  He was ready to stand and fight and let people know what the Warriors were made of.    

The Lord put it in Shammah's heart to have had enough running, enough compromising, enough backing down and giving in.  We can’t speak for others.  We can’t say if this is their place to stand, but I think we can know when it is ours. 

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:13).


julie said...

Yes indeed, and well said as always.

mushroom said...

Most of us don't really like trouble and drama, or we learn better as we get older. But it is starting to look like people need a dose of shock and awe.