Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai

2 Samuel 17:27-29
27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert.”

Now these aren’t names that roll off the tip of your tongue, and even if you asked the most avid churchgoer if he has was familiar with these guys, most likely the answer would be NO. But there are some beautiful, unsung qualities that are at work in this story. All you have to do is read with a “hearing” ear and they jump off the page.

King David’s son, Absalom, was working hard at stealing the kingdom away from his father. Absalom’s following was large enough that David had to flee Jerusalem. Only David’s household and most ardent followers went with him, quickly leaving their homes to escape, and finding themselves in the wilderness…hungry, tired, and thirsty.

But here comes Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai coming to the rescue with the resources that all these people were lacking. But it wasn’t just their extravagant generosity towards those who were in need, but it was their attitude…the motivation with which it was brought. Verse 29 says, “‘For they said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert.’”

Notice what they DIDN’T say. They DIDN’T say, “Let’s bring David and his followers some food and things. If he gets his kingdom back, we should be rewarded quite well.” They DIDN’T say, “This could end up in our favor. All those people will be beholden to us for what we give them.” There was none of that. They said the reason they gave was because, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert.”

The reason Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai gave so generously was for nothing more than the sheer sake of kindness towards someone who was hurting and in need.

Let’s be men that are not only generous towards the hurting, the homeless, and the less fortunate with whatever talents we have (resources; time; labor), but that we also take time, consistently, to NOTICE those that need help. Let’s be men that engage in regular, random acts of kindness just for kindness’ sake. No badges. No bells. No “look at me.” We just do it. Those that do are Real Men.

Gene Pietrini

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