The famine over, what was next for David and the Israelites? Their problems may not be the same ones we face today, but their lives were definitely a series of ups and downs just like ours. In between the peaceful lulls were times of great stress and conflict. On this occasion, it was war:
“Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. And when David and his men were in the thick of battle, David became weak and exhausted. Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds, and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men declared, ‘You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?’” (II Samuel 21:15-17, NLT).
“David became weak and exhausted.” David was no longer a young man and the fighting drained him of energy to the point that he was about to be killed. But his nephew Abishai stepped in “and killed the Philistine.”
David’s appointed time on earth wasn’t over. God still had work for David to do; so He sent someone to come alongside David and help him. Ladies and gentlemen, this is one of the biggest assignments we have here on this planet.
In John 13:34a Jesus told His disciples: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.” Love isn’t merely a warm fuzzy feeling – I have a throw blanket that can offer that! Love is a verb and a verb means action. We aren’t to merely love in words, but also in deeds.
And in that same passage, Jesus went on to set the standard for that love: “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (John 13:34b). We are to love like Jesus. Selflessly. Unconditionally. Not merely with the “phileo” love of friendship, but with the all-encompassing “agape” love of God.
When we do truly love others, guess what? A lot of them will love us back. Some will even see Jesus shining through us. Others will see us sharing the love of Christ and it will encourage them to do a little sharing, too.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates