“There Was War Again”

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God promised that through King David, He would save Israel from the Philistines. Second Samuel 21 recounts four incidents when an older, battle-weary David relied on his mighty warriors to strike down the Philistine giants. Alistair Begg compares and contrasts David’s reign as described in these verses to Jesus’ ultimate, victorious, and eternal reign. Just as God granted victory to David’s men in battle, Christ’s followers can be assured of victory over the giants of Satan, sin, and death.


The following message by Alistair begg is made available by Truth for life. For more information, visit us online at truth for life dot org. I invite you to follow along. As I read from 2nd Samuel chapter 21 And beginning at the 15th 1st two, Samuel and chapter 21 and verse 15. And in this section we read of the ongoing war that was taking place with the Philistines. The timing of it is not identified for us, but here we are introduced to the ongoing battle between the Lord’s people and the Philistines. There was war again between the Philistines and Israel and David went down together with his servants and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary and H. B, One of the descendants of the Giants who’s spear weighed 300 shekels of bronze and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. But Abbas I the son of zero IA came to his aid and attacked the philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him. You shall no longer go out with us to battle lest you quench the lamp of Israel. After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Siddiqui. The fight struck down south who was one of the descendants of the giants. And there was again war with the Philistines at gull and L Hannah and the son of J r origin, the Bethlehem. It struck down Goliath get tight, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gaff. Where there was a man of great stature Who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot 24 in number. And he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel Jonathan, the son of shimmy, David’s brother struck him down. These four were descended from the giants in Gaff and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants. Amen a brief prayer speak. Oh Lord! As we come to you to receive the food of your holy word, take your truth and plant it deep in us. We pray for christ’s sake. Amen. Well, any of you are visiting may wonder why it is that we would come to a passage like this on this particular day. And it is because we are working our way systematically and consecutively through second Samuel at the moment and we got as far as verse 14, last sunday, which means we must pick it up here at 15 this sunday, I hope that we may have at least some sense that there is a point of contact between what we’re reading here and what we are celebrating as a nation on Memorial Day weekend, insofar as we remember those who gave their lives in the cause of the kingdom, our kingdom and we have here the record of those who were the servants of David, the king And what we have in this concluding section of Chapter 21 is the first of two lists of David’s mighty men. We will come to the others in a week or two from now and what we have are the names here of four warriors who played a significant part in the wars against the Philistines. And although there is not a great deal of detail in this, their role is worthy of mention. They were descendants. These four individuals of the giants of Gaff. Those giants, as verse 22 tells us, fell at the hand of David. God, you will remember those of you who have been studying with me for a while. You will remember that God had made a promise when David became king and the promise was by the hand of my servant, David, I will save my people from the hand of the Philistines. David was to be entrusted with the responsibility of doing what Saul and his group had failed to do. And so it was that hope for victory rested in David. But as is apparent, at least from this little section of 21, he was not operating singlehandedly and so he is here in these four incidents either mentioned or is it where on the sidelines? Unmentioned. And it would seem that what the writer has done here is akin to what we find at memorial celebrations and in cemeteries around the nation. And that is, he has if you like, provided for us a role of a roll of honor. These people did this in their day in order that when people would read this material, they would then recount the faithfulness of God and his provision for them and the story of what had happened would be handed down to posterity is very, very brief. One of the commentators referred to the writer’s approach here as a telegraphic brevity, but it is the kind of brevity that is appropriate for a list, isn’t it? For an honors list. And three of these four incidents appear again in first chronicles. Chapter 20. You can find them. The details differ there, but it is a parallel passage and the refrain that runs through what we have just read is there was war again. You will see that In verse 15 then in 18 then in 19 and in 20 and here in verse 15, we’re told that as the war continues with the Philistines, David along with his servants did what we have grown accustomed to seeing David do namely, He went down to them, went down into the battle and we’re told that in the fighting that ensued with just three words in english, David grew weary. He grew weary at this point. If you picture him there, he’s no longer the ruddy faced youth, handsome in his appearance with striking gays who was prepared to go toe to toe with a giant Goliath. By this point, life has etched lines on his face, life has stiffened his limbs. Life has extended his recovery time and everyone looking on recognizes that he is something of a shadow of the man he once was and he is as the text tells us battle weary. He’s weary now. What then follows are four incidents. And I want just to look at them briefly and then to consider what the implications of these incidents are. Or if you like to consider the what, what is described for us here then to consider the so what What difference does it make to the price of gasoline this morning kind of thing? And then the now what? But only briefly in the end. So first of all, then these four incidents, incident number one. You will see there then in verse 16, if you’re looking for a boy’s name. Here’s a suggestion, Ish B Bennett. Ah It’s just as well that somebody who has a name like that was a giant. You will notice that he was one of the descendants of the giants. The team we read about them earlier and we’re not going to go back and rehearse that a good bible dictionary will help you on your way. He had a spear that was a heavy spear similar to Goliath, but only half the weight of Goliath’s spear. If you remember that was £15 and this is £7.5. He also were told in the text has been armed with a new sword and it would seem that he decided he would try and capitalize on the fact that David now was weary from the battle and see if he might kill him, he thought to kill David. He thought to kill the king. But verse 17 tells us that Abbas I, the son of Zero Ia, came to his aid. Now we know a bit shy from the past and we know his brother, the sons of Zero. Ia. They were, they were pretty brutal and David on one occasion, back in 2nd Samuel three, you will perhaps recall, he says, all these two brothers, they I was gentle on this day, but they were more severe than I. And in many ways they were troublesome. But here it is that Abba shy proves his worth in defense of David by stepping forward attacking the philistine and killing him. And as a result, his name is now going to appear in the dispatchers. It will now be recorded for posterity that Abbas I stepped in to save the king. He killed the giant and he was responsible for this victory. What we then discover is that this close call led to David’s men essentially taking away his car keys. That is that is a very loose paraphrase then David’s men swore to him. You’re not going to be driving anymore, David? No, you shall no longer go out with us to battle lest you quench the lamp of Israel. What is this about? Well, if you remember way back, you remember that the very start of it all. The the lamp was burning in the sanctuary when the word of eli comes to Samuel and there it burned as a symbol as it were of the abiding faithfulness of God and of his purpose for his people and how God in fulfilling his purposes is raising up his servants and supremely this servant and the people look on the scene, they realize how quickly and how easily David could have been snuffed out and they realized that if the king were to be snuffed out, then it would mean the collapse of the community for the life of the king was the key to the life of the community. And we’ve seen this all the way through what happens to the king impacts the kingdom. Now, for those of you who are now familiar with the way in which we’re approaching this, I am assuming that already, as you sit there, you are sensing how the record here of these victories under David provides an anticipation of the ultimate victories under jesus, the king. I’m assuming that you’re there. If you’re not, then that’s okay because you will be there by the end. Because I’ll make it explicitly clear that’s incident number one, incident number two, in verse 18 Short to the point after this, there was again, war with the Philistines go, We don’t know where gold was. It might have been a suburb of a place called Geyser, which is mentioned in the parallel passage in first chronicles, 20 Civic A the hush a fight interesting. He’s got his whole name. But again, that’s appropriate. You don’t usually go and see memorials to the heroes of warfare in the past and it just says bob, you know, or or or tom now it would say the full name. So that people would be able to distinguish between one and another. And here into the annals of the military record goes the name of Civic A the who should fight, Who struck down Soph. Now again, you see if the writer had decided to flesh all of this out to expand it, there would be a whole back story to all of this clearly. But it isn’t there, The wider context is not provided. Nor is any indication given in that 18th verse, in the second incident of David’s part of David’s participation. If there was any participation at all. On the part of David incident three, in verse 19. And there was again, war with the Philistines. You see the refrain at gob same place and L Hanan, the son of J. R Oregon the Bethlehem. It struck down Goliath, the get tight the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. So once again, we have the record of another victory in David’s name. But once again, with no mention of David himself. Now, it will become immediately apparent to you that this verse contradicts what we have learned. Apparently contradicts what we have learned of the death of Goliath in first Samuel 17. Because we recall that at the very threshold of David’s engagement as the champion of the kingdom, he took down Goliath. And as a result of this apparent contradiction, the commentators just go up in a blaze and seek to provide all kinds of interpretations as to what is going on. The passage that I’ve just mentioned in first chronicles 20 actually says that the person who was killed was Lammy the brother of Goliath. So it gets worse because that means that this verse 19 not only contradicts apparently first Samuel 17, but also apparently contradicts the chronicles passage as well. Because they said it wasn’t Goliath who was killed, it was his brother. And so we’re not going to delay on this. I’m just going to give you a summary statement in a moment. But if you like, if your brain works this way, have a great life and simply google it and you will, you will have all let me give you one place. You might look at RK Harrison’s introduction to the old testament and they will find much there. That will be helpful to you. One possibility, of course is that there is another Goliath and so on and so forth. It seems most probable it seems most probable and least problematic, that the Chronicles passage actually preserves the original text and that scrabble accidental errors in transmission have given us The statement here in 2nd Samuel. Don’t be don’t fall off your horse in the hearing of that. Because remember that our doctrine of scripture is that it is absolutely infallible as originally given. And in the same way that we’ve seen in going through this. When we’ve come to some of those numbers that seem vastly disproportionate, we’ve had to reckon with the fact that in the scribe a work that is provided for us translation after translation, that would not be an impossibility. Anyway, Suffice it to say that when it was written in this way, it was never intended that we would get off our trolley and spend a long time trying to deal with this apparent contradiction. Incident number four Is then in verse 20 and there was again war at gas, where there was a man of great stature or it might be a man of great strife. It would appear that he was both a man of strife and a man of stature. And if the previous incident is overshadowed by a textual difficulty, this present incident stands the risk of being overshadowed by this physical abnormality and the way in which this man is identified Fascinatingly is not by his name, but by the structure of his hands and his feet. And I wonder just why it is that. It says he had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. And then it says 24 in number. It’s like the right, the writer thinks we can’t count or what, what is this? I I think it’s simply to make the point this, this was this was very, very significant. I’ve gone online to check and discovered that this actually is a genetic feature throughout the world in different places and at different times. Therefore it is not unique. And in fact in the literature, this particular verse in second Samuel 21 is given as evidence of this genetic abnormality which appears from time to time. But what what got this man in trouble was not his fingers and his toes, but his mouth. And it wasn’t his anatomy, it was his attitude. He taunted Israel in other words, he was identified right along with Goliath himself who when he had stood out on the battlefield before this boy fellow that was there to challenge him. He said quite proudly, I defy the armies of Israel, I defy the living god of Israel and of course we know what happened to him and here, what we discover is the exact same thing. And when he taunted Israel Jonathan, the son of shimmy or social translate. It’s also, you’ll find the name is the same name, chama. Um It’s, you’ll find it a number of ways. Two or three ways. Uh, the son of semi David’s brother struck him down that that sort of just a passing reminder to us, isn’t it, of how on that day when Samuel came to the house of jesse and he was looking for somebody that would be set apart as king. He had the brothers come out and in fact she my has mentioned or Sama is mentioned in that, that he came out and Samuel said, no, it’s it’s not him, it’s not him. And here quite remarkably interestingly, although he was not the one chosen to be king. His son Jonathan is the one who strikes down this giant makes a substantial contribution to the wars against the Philistines. And verse 22 gives us the summary. These four were descended from the giants and gas and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants. So, those are the incidents. What then of the implications? What are we to make of these, what what lessons are to be learned from these military annals? A list. That of course, is the question that you’re waiting for an answer for. And I have been struggling for an answer throughout the days of this week. Let’s remember that as we seek to do this, that we set always the narrative, the story that we’re dealing with in the great panoramic narrative of the bible itself. Let’s remember that when paul, for example, writes to timothy as a young man to encourage him to continue in his pastoral ministry. In the course of exhortation, he says to them, I want you to remember are the things that you have become convinced of knowing the people that you learned it from and how from infancy you have known the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith. In jesus christ, he’s referring to the old testament, He’s referring to the fact that when timothy took up his bible, the old testament and allow the pages of scripture, the unrolling scroll of scripture to fasten in his mind and to stir his heart, then it was in order that he might see beyond King David to the king who was to come Great David’s greater son. And so with that in mind then let me give you simple observations or implications and I don’t think there is any doubt but that you could add to each of these. I remember exams at school, I’m sure you had the same thing where you had one of those essay questions compare and contrast, remember. So for example, compare, compare the rain compare and contrast the reign of Queen victoria with the reign of Queen Elizabeth the second. And if you didn’t know anything about either one, you were completely at sea. Sometimes you could think of a number of contrasts. You couldn’t think of any comparisons at all. Well, these are somewhat random. We are comparing and contrasting the reign of King David with the reign of King Jesus. No one. David had a team, he had a team. He wasn’t a one man band, the four that are mentioned here. Abbas I Siddiqui al Hanan and Jonathan were representative of the fact that when it says that they fell by the hand of David, they were operating underneath his kingly rule. They were side by side with him in the battle. And of course the Lord jesus christ put together his team, his team of disciples. And as he nears the end of his earthly pilgrimage, he says to them in Luke chapter 22, you are those who have stayed with me in my trials. You are if you like my mighty men. Well, they didn’t seem very mighty, did they? No, but they were and many of these characters seemed less than capable for the task. But King David had his mighty man and jesus enlists his mighty men and women who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the king? Who will be his helper. Other lives to bring, Who will leave the world side. Who will face the foe? Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for him will go. That’s the question. That’s the question for our Children in vacation bible camp. That’s the question for our teenagers as we seek to nurture them. That’s the question. Mr businessman. Are you on the Lord’s side, would your name appear in the military annals of King jesus here he is full name on the Lord’s side. The purpose of our study is in order that those who are not may enlist and that those who are enlisted may take it seriously by thy call of mercy, by thy grace. Divine. We then around the Lord’s side savior, we are dying. Second implication if David’s lamp is snuffed out, the community collapses. If David’s lamp is snuffed out, the community collapses because he is the lamp of Israel, he knows that God is his lamp, God is his light. He is his is a reflective glory, if you like. And in the same way, if jesus, christ’s life was snuffed out than the community has collapsed, that’s what paul says. If christ be not raised, then your faith is futile and you’re still in your sins. So the idea that somehow or another, you know, our interest in these things are our concern about Jesus has to do with you know how it makes me feel or whatever that might be just dies before the instruction of the bible. Because the bible says, consider the history of this. These these are records of what took place and the whole of the gospels are providing us the records of what took place with King jesus. If he were to be gone, there is no reason to be present. Thirdly, David had his car keys removed, he was sidelined from the battle. Jesus is never sidelined from the battle, David on occasions was absent from the fray, jesus is never absent from the fray be thou my vision, o Lord of my heart, naught be all else to me save that thou art thou my soul’s shelter thou my high tower raise thou me heavenward. All power of my power. I fear no foe with you at hand to guide. Fourthly, Abbas, I had to intervene with his sword to save David. David was weary. The giant thought he could take him out and Abbas. I stepped in contrast. Put away your sword, peter. No one takes my life from me. I have the power to lay it down. I have the power to take it up again. I could have called angels who would have come and dealt with this instantaneously, David, the Earthly King was the need of his servant to intervene on his behalf, Jesus. The Heavenly King needs no such intervention. 5th Lee, and there are only eight. Fifthly David’s lamp was in danger of being quenched. Jesus lamp is unquestionable. That is actually why Justin helped us this morning by reading from the beginning of the prologue of john’s Gospel, so that we won’t be able to refer to it. Now, all things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made in him, was life. The life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. It hasn’t overcome it. No matter what you want to say about the rise of political ideas and social constructs and philosophies. Jesus is the light of the world. And the darkness has not put it out and the Darkness cannot put it out. We need to say this to ourselves again and again. 63. The wisdom or the kingdom I should say of the Lord Jesus christ is the fulfillment of David’s kingdom. He said, well, we know that one. I know you know it, but it’s good to rehearse it. The kingdom of the Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of David’s kingdom of her majesty’s jubilee. This is 70 years celebration like next weekend. That’s a long time. She’s in her 90s. She has out trained any other monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, but she will die and someone else will take her place, Jesus shall reign forever and ever and of his kingdom. There is no end. Seventh lee, the defeat of the giants foreshadows the ultimate defeat of all of our enemies. In the same way that we’re told that these individuals stepped up to the threat and dealt with it under David’s jurisdiction and at times alongside with the king himself in looking at that, we are to realize that in the same way that that was dealt with. So King Jesus deals with our enemies, Which is number eight as servants of the king. Were given victory over our gigantic enemies. As servants of the king. Were given victory over our gigantic enemies. What other gigantic enemies. # one Satan. He’s a liar and the father of lies were given victory over him. We do not listen to his lies? We do not subscribe to his views of marriage. We do not pay attention to his nonsense about gender. We do not listen to his claims. The Prince of Darkness grim. We tremble. Not for him, satan. And sin, thanks be to God who sets us free from sin? We say to one another all the time it remains. We deal with it. But in jesus it no longer reigns. It doesn’t have us under its control. So the victory over satan over sin and over death. Yeah. Over death. Mm. Who else has the answer to this? There’s nobody who has conquered death. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality then shall come to pass the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory. Death! Where is your victory? Death! Where is your sin sting! The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God. Who gives us the victory through our Lord, jesus christ? That was the answer on the thing this morning, wasn’t it? Why does he have to be human so that he might keep the law in all of its fullness so that he might bear the punishment for lawbreakers. In all of his reality, jesus. What for incidents from the military annals? So what a few observations now? What be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. Father, I pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in each of our hearts to clear out wrong thinking to enable us to think. The thoughts of the bible after the bible makes it clear to us to be reminded that you keep your promises and that all of your promises are stamped with the yes and the amen of jesus, so that we’re able to affirm that in jesus, our hope in life and in death is tied solely to him and in his name we pray amen. 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 org

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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...

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