2 Samuel 23:9-10
9 Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, 10 but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead. NIV
The last devotion was about Eleazar and how his trust in God, along with his determination and perseverance, brought a great victory to Israel, and how spiritual grit can help bring you through incredible challenges, difficulties, and battles. Eleazar fought so hard, he could not let go of the sword afterwards.
I want to look at that same story, but from a completely different perspective, though the details of the story do not change. Eleazar trusted God, defied the odds, fought hard, and saw a great victory over his enemies. But with this alternative perspective we can learn another very important lesson.
Eleazar could not let go of his sword. The battle was over…the enemy was defeated, but his hand was still on the sword. I think we need to learn to let go of our sword at times…to let go of our sword after a difficult season. Look at these words of wisdom from King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8…1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. NLT
In our spiritual lives we will face great battles, great obstacles, and great enemies. But when we have faced those things with God’s help, fought hard, and seen a great victory come to pass, we must learn to let go of the sword. We must learn to live in peace as well.
I think one of the ways we do that is by not living with a chip on our shoulder. My guess is that every person who reads this has been hurt, harmed, or betrayed by someone during the course of their life. And (hypothetically) maybe you had to fight to clear your name and was ultimately vindicated in the matter. But maybe the pain of it has caused you to hold on to the sword, and every time that other person’s name or memory comes up…the sword is right there!
If you continually live your life with a sword in your hand, it will affect those near to you. They want peace; you want to fight. They want to live life moving forward; you live life with your eye on the rearview mirror. King David was an incredible warrior whom God called “a man of war” (1 Chronicles 28:3), yet he is the same one who wrote these words in Psalm 34:14…“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
There’s a time for every purpose under heaven. Men, let’s learn to let go of the sword. There’s something new God wants us to pursue.
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek,
but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.