Lessons from the List

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As 2 Samuel comes to a close, David provides the reader with a list of his mighty men, whose deeds were recorded for all eternity in the preceding chapters. As Alistair Begg explains, this record now serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness. Further, the account of David’s imperfect kingship directs us to the one perfect King, who records the names of His followers in the Book of Life.



The following message by Alistair Begg is made available by Truth for Life. For more information, visit US Online at Truth for Life Dot or GQ. I mentioned this morning that we would come back to the passage of Scripture, and it is a It’s a difficult passage of Scripture, both to read on to deal with. And so I’ve decided I’m going to read the Scripture right now while I’m still relatively alert. And so I invite you to turn with me to second Samuel into Chapter 23 on. I was reminding myself that in the exhortations that Paul gave to Timothy when he wrote to him as a young pastor, one of the things that he said to him after he had said, You know, don’t let anyone despise your youth on be an example in your speech and so on. He then immediately says, until I can devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture to the public reading of Scripture. One of the things that people tell me as I travel and actually arrive here and tell me is that there is a glaring lack of the public reading of the Bible by pastors in American churches. We’ve got screens, we’ve got phones, we’ve got all kinds of mechanisms, and it’s a bit like the same that we say to one another. You know, one thing you’ll never hear your grandchildren say is Let’s go up in the attic and re grandmother’s emails. And in this and in the same way, no one will ever be able to say, I remember how my pastor read the Bible unless the pastor actually reads the Bible. And tonight is a classic illustration of a knopper tune ity for for somebody to say, I don’t think we’ll read that section because it just seems to be such a long list. And the name’s air so jolly difficult and so having set myself up in that way, let’s read from there, said These are the names of the mighty men whom David had Joe Scheffer, Bashar Beth. A two chemin night he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against 800 whom he killed at once and next to him. Among the three mighty men was Elly A’s or the son of Dodo, the son of a whore. He he was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle in the Men of Israel, withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him on Lee to strip the slain. And next to him was Shamaa, the son of a G, the Harrow, right. The Philistines gather together at Lee High, 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. And three of the 30 chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the Cave of a Darling. When a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Ref. I am David was then in the stronghold on the garrison of the Philistines, was then at Bethlehem, and David said longingly, Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of that for him, that is, by the gate. Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem. That was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord and said, Far be it from Meal Lord, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives? Therefore, he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did now Abbas shy the brother of Joe at the son of Zero ir was chief of the 30. And he wielded his spear against 300 men and killed them and wanna name beside the three. He was the most renowned of the 30 and became their commander. But he did not attain to the three. And Ben I have the son of Joe. Hi A That was a valiant men of cabs, eel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two aerials of Mo help. He also went down and struck down a lion and a pit on a day when snow had fallen and he struck down an Egyptian Ah, handsome man the Egyptian had a spear in his hand. But when I went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptians hand and killed him with his own spear Thes things did Ben I at the son of Joe Iida on one and then beside the three mighty men. He was renowned among the 30 but he did not attain to the three. And David said him over his bodyguard as the hell. The brother of job was one of the 30 l Hannon, the son of Dodo of deathly him, shaman of Harrad a Leica Have Harrad Hell is the Paul Tight Ira, the son of a cache of Tuco, Abby Ezer of Anna, Thought of Nab, Unite the hush ified, Zalman. They are who? Height, My Harry of nettle. Far Helen, the son of Ghana of nettle. Far it I, the son of rib eye of gay bia of the people of Benjamin Benigna of Marathon. Obviously not the previous benign we just saw hid I of the Brooks of Gash Abby Alban the ARB A fight as my fifth of the Khurram Elia ba this year Alba night The sons of Josh in Jonathan Sham I O’Hara. Right? Ah, he m the son of shower to Harry, right? A little late, the son of Has by of Marka. Ellie, um, the son of a hit of El the Gila Night. His row of Cornell where I, er bite Eagle, the son of Nathan of Zuba Bani the Gadda Zelic the AMA night na ha ry of be Roth, the armour bearer of Joe AB, the son of zero Y eah, Ira. If right Gharib the Earth right, you’re ia the hit eight 37 in all and every one of them known to go on every name known to God Every one of them that was born was conceived by the power of God. Quite a thought, isn’t it? Lists are now just lists. You wanna heading it? ISS lessons from the list lessons from the list. And clearly it is a list of names. It’s not immediately inspiring, is it? It’s a reminder to us that while, as we’ve said on many occasions, the Bible is equally inspired, totally inspired. Not every passage of the Bible is as inspiring as another passage, and in some ways, you might regard the first seven verses the poem or the song that proceeds this as a little more inspiring. But nevertheless all of the scripture is provided by God. It’s inspired by Gordon is given to us so that we might be the students of it and learn from it. As I read through this list, and not just this evening, but as I read through it in preparation for today on incident, came back to my mind as a as a boy going, I’m pretty sure it was to Edinburgh Castle. If it wasn’t Edinburgh Castle, it was somewhere like that. And they had these gigantic books. They were on pieces of furniture, a bid like this, and they had lists and lists and lists of names. They were they were war records, and I knew that my grandfather had been in the first World War. I knew that because he was still alive and he had told me. But I wanted to go in those books to see if I could find his name on the list. I knew he was there, but I wanted to find out if other people knew he was there. And if they had recorded the fact that he was there on Yes, I found his name, William Millican, in the Cavalry, and I said to myself, It’s just one name of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of names, and yet it bears significance, as each of them does. And so, in coming to this list tonight and then looking at it, I thought along the similar lines, and we can’t unpack the totality of it. If we were to do that, it would become a serious within itself. But let me just try and guide our way through it by first of all, pointing out that in verses 8 to 12, you have the special mention, the special mention of thes particular names. First of all, this fellow, I call him J B. Now a supposed to Joshi beset with F. Yeah, so he’s just He’s just a baby to me. We’re on, we’re on, we’re close. And he was the chief of the three, so he wasn’t just part of the three, but he was the head of the three. And the reason he’s on the list is because he wielded his spear against 800 whom he killed at one time so you wouldn’t want him as an enemy. L e a Tzar is next in verse nine. He is the son of Dodo is an interesting name, isn’t it? Son of a hole. He and he was with David, we’re told, when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle and at that point, a number of the men they decided to withdraw by. The reason he made it into this list is because there’s 10 says he rose. He struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary. And the thing that marked him out, as it were that people would have talked about afterwards was you know, that his hand was actually fused to his sword because he had been holding it for so long on wielding it so effectively. I don’t really know much about that. I’ve Sometimes I think being using something, maybe a screwdriver and not doing it very well. And then all of a sudden, realising that when I got to take it out of my hand, it is very painful because your hand is sort of locked in that position. Well, that’s what he had done. And they spoke about him in those terms and then thirdly, Shama next to him. Shama, the son of a G or edgy the Harrow. Right? And we’re told there that he had also extended himself where there was a plot of ground full of lentils. When you read this, you realise that this is the kind of thing is why somebody would remember it and they would say to one another. Do remember it was where it always lentils where that that was where Shama was involved and the men had all made a run for it. But he actually took his stand. Stood there in the midst of the plot, defended it struck down the philistine means on that was it. That’s really it. The special mention of these three names that need to be understood in light of two things Number one in light of the Lord’s Promise. What promise? The promise that God had given by the hand of my servant David. I will save my people. Israel, from the hand of the Philistines, were going to make sure says God, that David and those under his jurisdiction will be involved in making sure that the Philistines do not prevail. So what has been happening here is actually in fulfilment of the Lord’s word or his promise. And it is according to the Lord’s power. You see there that Verse 10 bears testimony to this, doesn’t it? And the Lord brought about a great victory that day. Lord brought about the great victory down in verse 12 once again on the Lord worked a great victory. So you have these amazing feats of bravery which are only to be understood ultimately in terms of the saving outs of God. It brings to mind, doesn’t it, Sam 127 which we often quote except the Lord build the house, the builders labour in vain. I was interested, actually, because I remembered what I thought was the Latin of that opening phrase there, Missy Domino. Ooh, Dominant van Oh, are actually Frost Ra is two different words when they both essentially mean the same thing Without God, it’s all emptiness. That’s it. In a nutshell. Without guards, you can forget it on. I was fascinated to discover that that is actually the code of arms for the City Council of the City of Edinburgh in Scotland. Because when I googled the phrase in Latin it came up there with the picture and the framework and all the things that would be the crests would to God that the City Council of Edinburgh actually believed it in this day. But presumably on the day when they chose it as their motto. They believed it then, and these men believed it, hence their remarkable feats. Then, in versus 13 to 17, you have this amazing account of devotion of the devotion of these individuals to David himself, unnamed, but yet at the same time, unforgettable. The geographical context is significant. I think it has to do with the dull in. Remember the cave of a dull, um, 20 miles to the southwest of Jerusalem, actually quite a long way as well, from Gaff 10 miles to the southeast of Gaff. And it was 15 miles arm or from the cave of a dull, um to Bethlehem that is of significance, isn’t it? When you realise what happened? Because David, in this context 1st 15 suddenly gives expression, if you like, in a kind of wistful way, perhaps almost nostalgia as he finds himself in this context. And he says, Oh, I wish that someone would go on. Get me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem. That is by the gate. I remember how good that water was. I loved that. Well, I used to get that there. It would be fantastic if somebody would have done that. They took him literally. They didn’t exactly go down the road to get it. No, no, no. They went some 15 miles on. Look at the text. Then the three mighty men whose names we don’t know broke through the camp of the philistine, drew water out of the well of Bethlehem. That was by the gate. Noticed that the emphasis he says it was the well by the gate. It would be a shame. They went 15 miles and brought it back from the wrong Well, right? No, no, it was it. The well from the gate or yeah, was definitely Yeah, And they carried it and they brought it to David. So far, so good. But then he wouldn’t drink it. You go 15 miles, you fight the philistine to break through to get the water for the fellow who says, Oh, I could do with a drink of water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem and he doesn’t drink it. So you have this amazing picture of their devotion. If you think if you don’t think that David could inspire devotion, then you don’t understand. I don’t understand who’s going to do this unless they love this king unless they’re committed to the K. And so that is absolutely clear. But it also explains to us the nature of and the extent of his gratitude because it is actually a strange thing to do, isn’t it? From our perspective, somebody goes to that land and they bring it back, and then you will notice what he does with it. But he wouldn’t drink of it. He poured it out. That’s not there’s not a period after out. He put local church Bibles. He poured it out to the Lord. He ported. That’s the significance. That’s a significance. He poured it out to the Lord. In other words, he gave the fruits of their devotion to the one to whom their devotion belonged to the Lord. Because listen, it is Sam. What is it? Some 150 not to was old Lord, not to us. Oh, Lord, be the honour be the glory. But to you, a lord on what he’s actually saying, is this. That the water that was obtained by them by such an act of devotion is now viewed by David as being far too precious to be used simply for his own refreshment. It is, since their blood is represented in the willingness of them give themselves to avail themselves of this so that they could bring it back. He poured it out to the Lord two as a lord. No, they would never forget that. And that’s why it’s written down. Look at that final sentence there in verse 17. These things the three mighty men did. It’s just like yeah, okay, these things the three mighty men did now from 18 to 23 there are two mentioned, two renowned of the 30 but not in the three. OK, so you’ve got three. You were mentioned your three or unnamed. Now you’ve got to that air mentioned that are part of the 30 but they’re not part of the three, and it’s important for us to know this, otherwise it wouldn’t be written down. I mean, it may not be dawning on you like a like a thunderbolt of the moment. But there it iss andan abba shy. The brother of job. We know this fellow. We know either shy job and Asa hell, his brother, remember? Let me just get the refresh your memory of who this character is. He’s the one who when Soul was in a vulnerable position and David could have taken him out, it was abba shy who said Now let me please pin him to the Earth with one stroke of my spirit. Let me take him out. That’s ABBA shy. It was Joe AB who helps. Who. Joe Ab, along with Abbas, Shy his brother who took out Abner in that ugly episode, remember when he catches them in the corner and he sticks a knife in his belly? And that was because of the ASA hell incident where Asa hell had been killed. Remember when he was following after Abner and Abner and said to him, No, don’t keep running so close to me. If you keep running close to me, you’re gonna run right into my spear and you won’t like that. And he ran right into his spear and he didn’t like it. And his brothers didn’t like it either, and they decided we’ll take him out. That’s your character right here. Is that Bush? I also who, when shimmy I is doing his thing and picking up big clods of earth and throwing them across the border at David. It is Abbas, I who says to David, Let me go and take off, shimmy eyes, head, Let me. Why not just take his head off? Why would this dead dog be doing these things to you? The king? No wonder he gets a mention. It’s no surprise that David then made him a commander of a third of his entire forces. And actually, most recently, a few are up to date with things most recently in. I hope it’s here in 21. Yeah, you remember the war with the Philistines in Israel, and David went down with this servants, and he wasn’t making a job of it. And in verse 17 of 21 it says. But Abbas I, the son of zero y a, came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him on David’s men swore to him You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel. So it is Abbas I who steps up for him when he’s getting past the point. So he gets a special mention. And then, in verse 20 this other character been Aya, who was a door you will notice of great deeds, a doer of great deeds. And three of his deeds are mentioned here. He struck down two aerials of Moab. There will be a mixed milkshake for somebody. If they can tell me what to aerials of Moab actually are or where and no cheating. But he did that. He also struck down a lion and a pit on a day when the snow had fallen. You see again how this is how this is recorded. You’ve got a lentil field that says it was It was in the lentils that happened. No, no, it didn’t happen that day. It happened the day the snow had fallen. Snow didn’t fall a lot. So the lion and the snow and he was memorable. I x’d He was memorialized in relationships and also he struck down a big tension. Handsome Egyptian. No, there’s no commendation in this. It’s not like Wow, that was really good. I mean, there’s nothing you like better than to strike down a big, handsome Egyptian. No, no, no, no. This is a record of what these fellows did. These things Bonai are the son of Joe. Hi. Ada did on one a name beside the three mighty men. He was renowned among the 30 but he did not attain to the three. And David set him over his bodyguard. That only leaves us with versus 24 to 39 where we have the remaining names on the list of the 30. Although verse in in 39 tells us that there is actually 37 in all, which you can fiddle about with for your homework later on. All I want to notice of this list is the first name on the last name, and we’re through. The first name we’ve already mentioned is Asa Help on He had been killed in Chapter two. Yeah, Chapter two, second Samuel, Chapter two. That’s where he dies. Well, that’s Oh, that’s a long time ago. So at least it tells us this that the 30 that were David’s 30 is kind of his gang clearly had been there from early on. This wasn’t something that had just emerged on that it would seem that he almost had, If you like a Council of War that he had these fellows that were his crack troops so that whatever else was going on, he knew that he had them on his side. It’s a reminder in passing, incidentally, that all of us rely to one extent or another on those who are around us to make it possible for us to do the things that we do, which we couldn’t possibly do, were it not for the fact that we are surrounded and helped in that way. So as a health of first name And of course you will notice the last name, you’re I a hit, I’d well, the mention of that name, of course, brings up all kinds of sombre recollections, takes us all the way back to who your eyes wife Watts Bathsheba takes us back to the murderous activities generated by the king makes it clear to us that in the list of those whose very mentioned is on account of the fact that they defended the king, no matter what it is, the king who betrays his own man. I sat and looked at this. I said, David, why do you put this in the list? Why would you put this in the list you’re writing? The less. Presumably I can only imagine that he did it because he recognised that the greatest weakness in David’s kingdom was David. He was the greatest weakness. It’s sobering, isn’t it? So to put that there was not only to remind him on all of that, but also to remind him, and all of the amazing grace and forgiveness of God that it was God who had come by his profit to say to him, David, your sins are forgiven. I have established with you and everlasting covenant. You’re my man. The best of men are men at best, and he’s a reminder of that. Think, for example, of Saul of Tarsus. Think of solid Tarses now Paul the Apostle going through his days. Do you think there were many days in Paul’s life when something or someone mentioned something that took him back to the very same situation that had marked him in the persecuting of the church? That the classic moment where as the stones air hurled again Stephen, he says. Just put your jackets down here. I’ll look after them all. Do you think there were many days when that wasn’t part of his existence? I would be surprised on day, Of course, he writes of it doesn’t. When he writes to the Corinthians, he says, Listen, I’m the least of the apostles unworthy to be called on a parcel because I persecuted the Church of God Fact. But that’s nowhere. It finishes. But by the grace of God, I am what I am. That’s it, you see. Oh, it’s understandable that he, David we should be humbled by our failures, but no haunted by them, humbled by them, but no haunted by them. Resist full force every endeavour of the evil one to calm and insinuate into your heart and your mind. All of these things from the past that are buried in the sea of God’s forgetfulness. Yes, that was there. Yes, I did that. But I am what I am by the grace of God, a final observation, all of this record of violence because it is violence. As I read this again tonight, I was thinking of one of our dear sisters here who’s gone on to glory, who in the course of our studies have mentioned her before, said, We’re not going to have more killings again, our way. Alistair, I said, Well, I’m sorry, but it has kind of here, you know, is there’s nothing I can do with it. But all the record of the violence here is not to extol violence. Invite all the record of this is a far cry from the promise of the place and the promise of the piece, a piece that was going to be undisturbed in that great prophecy of Nathan. When he comes in Chapter seven, you could look it up again yourself. It’s actually a forceful reminder then and now that the reason all of this violence is going on and it’s not a kingdom of peace is because it is a limited kingdom. It’s a limited king. There is going to come one a king who would be greater than anything David ever conceived or knew the profits would pick it up after David died. Isaiah, we get up in the morning and right of the increase of his government, there will be no end and his wife says, and Who’s this? And Isaiah, says the king, Who is going to come? It’s the profit is going to come front to as a child is born unto us. A son is given and the government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father. He will be the prince of peace. David’s another prince of peace. No, you see, it only points forward when Jesus Then it’s standing before pilot and pilot system. Apparently you’re the king of the Jews. He said Well, you say that I am. He said, Listen, if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting. So why were they fighting? Because his kingdom is not of this world. We’re not fighting. We’re not finding a political battle. We’re not fighting. We’re not going in lentil fields and taking up arms. No, we serve the king, The Prince of peace. What kind of king rides a donkey? What kind of king? Where is a thorn filled crown? What kind of king has a cross for a throne? Onley Jesus! What an immense privilege to have got your name on this list. What an immense privilege to have our names included on the great list in the book The Lamb’s Book of Life. Oh, he’s going to be so in three years ago and we’ll go like I went to Edinburgh Castle would get those books. If they’re actually, they’re so I wanted. I don’t know When my name got put in there, I wonder when he put it in. Was it on that Sunday when the Sunday school teacher told me all about Jesus? Was it when I was 16? Somebody says, Smart, Alec says It was put in there in eternity before everything. I thought Thank you very much. I’m just looking for the date I got it Does this. Everything always comes back to childhood for me. You know, I put my Bible down. I said, You know, I’m too young to march with the infantry, ride with the cavalry, shoot with the artillery. I’m too young to zoom or the enemy. But I’m in the Lord’s Army. We won’t be a footnote in history. None of us. The only issue is he’s included us in the list, and he invites us to meet him at his table as a reminder to us that all our sins are forgiven and that we forget what is behind on. We press forward to what lies ahead. I guess the list helps us. There may be we Thank you, gracious father, for the lamp light of your word. We thank you that it rewards our study. We thank you that there is always mawr on. We pray that as we transition from that list to gathering around the table, spread for us by Jesus himself, that you will just come and meet with us in particular ways, individually and corporate. Leah’s a church family, for we pray in jesusname on. Then this message was brought to you from truth for life where the learning is for living. Learn more about truth for life with Alistair Begg, Visit US Online at truth for Life dot or GQ

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Alistair Begg is the Senior Pastor of Cleveland's Parkside Church (located in Bainbridge, Geauga County, Ohio), a position he has had since 1983. He is the...