Phoenix Int’l. Raceway
February 27, 2014
“Heroes & Mighty Men
and Women of God”
Reading the book of Judges, with its battles and mighty warriors often feels like reading about comic book superheroes of both our childhood and many seemingly popular movies out of Hollywood today. We have Deborah, Barak, Gideon, and Samson. However, in my mind personally, I lean toward King David’s “Mighty Men” which you can read about in 2 Samuel 23: verses 8 through 39*. Try these guys on for superheroes! It is worth the read!
* You can read this at the end of this message.
…And after that if you are really interested then go to Amazon or your favorite book store and check out “The Lion of War” book series by Cliff Graham. One of our YWAM friends is directing the movie version (called “Day of War”) of this series that is done as a historical novel but sticks close to scripture as possible. That is because the Bible is the best historical record there is when it comes to highlighting points that are very important to God Himself. Lastly, you can also go directly to the website for the whole project at www.LionOfWar.com where you can also get it in comic book form on a digital device.
Okay, …back to our message purpose here:
I find it very interesting that God also uses a particular hero to get at another whole important way of looking at heroics and heroes. In the line of judges (or deliverers), of Israel before the days of King Saul, we also find Othniel.
First, let me give you a bit of insight about these Judges:
The book of Judges gives the story of the people of Israel in the Promised Land, but without their great leaders of the past—Moses and Joshua—and before the first of the kings…Saul. This lack of leadership resulted in repeated seasons of rebellion and idolatry during which God would raise up judges to defeat the Israelites’ enemies and to guide the wayward people back to Himself. The story of this era is a difficult one, summarized in the words of Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Hmmm, …doesn’t that sound like today? It does to me!
Okay, once again let’s get back to Othniel:
The account of his life is brief and straightforward (Judges 3:7-11). No drama. No display of prowess. But what we do see is what God did through Othniel: “The Lord raised up a deliverer” (v.9), “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him” (v.10), and “the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand” (v.10).
Judges 3: 7-11:
7 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. They forgot about the Lord their God, and they served the images of Baal gods and the Asherah goddesses on poles. 8 Then the Lord burned with anger against Israel, and he turned them over to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim. And the Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.
9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he became Israel’s first judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the Lord gave Othniel victory over him. 11 So there was peace in the land for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.
The Othniel account helps us focus on what is most important—the activity of God within the whole account. Interesting stories and fascinating people can obscure that. We end up concentrating on those people and events and fail to see what the Lord is doing.
When I was younger, and all to often even today, I wish I could be more talented or famous so that I could point more people to Christ. But when I finally get hold on myself (more like once God steps in and gets my attention) I always find that I was looking at the wrong thing. God often uses ordinary people for His extraordinary work. It is His light shining through our lives that glorifies God and draws others to Him (Matt. 5:16). “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
When others look at our life, it is FAR more important to me that they see God—not me. Not Kathy. Not our family. Not anything we have accomplished in our 28 years of ministry around the world or right here at all the races we have been blessed to serve at.
I guess my question today is …How do you deal with this truth?
Everyone out here today has a far bigger platform to speak from then Kathy and I do. My racing days have been over for years now. Yours are still there to the attract attention of others in the racing community and your home area. It does not matter whether you are the tire changer, engine builder, driver, owner, sponsor, or even the show sweeper. I will have more to say about this in Irwindale. We are talking about reputation and character next.
Meanwhile, I can only pray that the Word of God might dwell richly in Kathy’s and my heart from hour to hour, so that all may see that we triumph ONLY through His power and His plan.
Our limited ability highlights God’s limitless power.
I hope that you come to this same conclusion and relax in who you are and God wants to use you because I am praying that same prayer for you that I am praying for Kathy and me.
2 Samuel 23: 8-39:
David’s Mighty Men
8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time. 9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. 10 He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder. 11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. 12 But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.
13 Then three of the thirty chief men went down at harvest time and came to David at the cave of Adullam. And the troop of Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15 And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” 16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. 17 And he said, “Far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it.
These things were done by the three mighty men.
18 Now Abishai the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of another three. He lifted his spear against three hundred men, killed them, and won a name among these three. 19 Was he not the most honored of three? Therefore he became their captain. However, he did not attain to the first three.
20 Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. 21 And he killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; so he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 22 These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and won a name among three mighty men. 23 He was more honored than the thirty, but he did not attain to the first three. And David appointed him over his guard.
24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, 26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, 27 Abiezer the Anathothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, 29 Heleb the son of Baanah (the Netophathite), Ittai the son of Ribai from Gibeah of the children of Benjamin, 30 Benaiah a Pirathonite, Hiddai from the brooks of Gaash, 31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, 32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite (of the sons of Jashen), Jonathan, 33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite, 34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 35 Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, 36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite (armorbearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah), 38 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 39 and Uriah the Hittite: thirty-seven in all.