D DAY: CHASE THE LION

The story of D-Day - On June 6, 1944, the Allies invade Western Europe in the largest amphibious attack in history. During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.Message Title:  “D” Day - (Discipline Day)

Beniah - the Lion chaser
Josheb-basshebeth - raised his spear and killed 800 enemies

As we continue to get to know King David’s mighty men, we are now introduced to another elite warrior under his command.

Open your Bible to our Text for today: 2 Samuel 23:9-10
9 And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. 10 He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.

Big Idea: Victory is won not on the day of the battle, but in our preparation beforehand. “No one achieves his or her 500 pounds dream without daily disciplines”

What can we learn from the life of Eleazar? Let me share three principles related to disciplines that we can draw from these two verses.

I.  WALK WITH THOSE WHO WALK WITH GOD      
v.9 “Eleazar was with David...”

Eleazar was wise enough to recognize who he will follow. He is an elite warrior and could have gone to serve in King Saul’s army but instead went to David, an outcast and being pursued by the King. What attracted him to David? I believe the reason the other men have.

David although not perfect, is portrayed as a man and a king after God’s own heart.

This came about when Saul, Israel first king choose to disobey God’s command by walking in the way he sees right in his own eyes.

David is skilful as a youth. 1 Samuel 16:18 ESV

One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”

His dependence on God - Psalm 23 - “The Lord is my shepherd” sums up David reliance on God for everything.

His trust in God - 1 Samuel 17:40-51 - David trust in God to defeat Goliath with a slingshot.

His loyalty to others -1 Samuel 20:41-42 - David’s loyalty to Jonathan, the king’s son. He fulfilled his promise to show kindness to his son.

2 Samuel 9:6–7 ESVAnd Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”

His respect for those in authority - 1 Samuel 26:10-25 - David spared King Saul’s life when he was given an opportunity to kill him.

He was a strategist and a courageous leader. He was a wise leader.

Proverbs 27:17 ESV Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

David was not perfect in many ways but he was anointed by God to lead Israel in a critical time of transition. Given the same opportunity would you not walk with him even just to carry his personal stuff? David opens the book of Psalm with these words, “Blessed is the man who walks...”

Psalm 1:1–6 ESV Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Eleazar was with the right person, right place and time. David’s greatness rub off to him. God’s blessings flows in the life of God’s anointed one to those who follow them.  Eleazar dream within David’s dream. It is a dream with a dream. 

The had been with Jesus:

Acts 4:13 ESV Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Go find someone who walk with God and walk with them. Who is the David of your life? One of my David is an 84 year old man. He has wealth of knowledge and experience in walking with God. Ask them to mentor you, to provide coaching or to disciple you. Do everything you can so that others can speak into your life and help you chase your 500-pound lion. We all live such busy lives and if we are to busy for walking with those who walk with God, we are missing a lot.

We should not only walk with those who walk with God, but also make all the effort to walk with God.

Genesis 5:22–24 (ESV) 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

John 15:4–5 (ESV) 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Walk with those who walk with God and walk with God.

2.   TAKE THE HIGH ROAD
“…and the men of Israel withdrew.”

What caused these men to withdraw? Was is it fear of the enemy? Was it the weather? Was it the food they ate or did not eat? Or fear got the best of them and they went the opposite direction. Whatever their reason, what’s clear is they took the easy way out. The Pulpit Commentary on 2 Samuel has this to say about the history of the place.

The Pulpit Commentary: 2 Samuel Chapter 23

It was situated in the valley of Elah, and, as being upon the border, was the scene of numerous conflicts, whence its name, “the boundary of blood.” It was there that David slew Goliath.

“The boundary of blood” - Many lives have been spilled in the battle field. It was decision time for these men. They were “two inches away” from a right or wrong decision.

“We live in a culture that celebrates fifteen minutes of fame, but God honors a lifetime of faithfulness. We can call this generation, “the microwave generation”. A generation that is fixated with quick solutions, quick rich, instant gratification, quick fame, instant this, instant that, quick this and quick that. Where what is important and eternal gives way to peer pressure and conformity. 

The longer we live, the more we should believe in long obedience in the same direction”.

It was decision time for Eleazar whether to go with the crowd or stick with his commander in chief. Eleazar took the high road and stood with David. I believe that he drew his courage from his leader. He was two inches away from greatness or failure. To run and fight another day might have made sense to him but he did the opposite and stayed.

Did you know the total number of possible combinations in just the first ten moves of a chess game is 165,518,829,199,544,000,000,000? That’s a lot of combinations and possibilities. The game of life is far more complicated than a game of chess. But that shouldn’t make you nervous, not if the Grand Master is the One ordering your footsteps. “After all, it’s in Him that we “live and move and have our being.”

The Bible places a high value on the importance of discipline

1 Timothy 4:7–8 ESV

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Discipline as Apostle Paul defines it = Training in godliness. Developing a character, a lifestyle that is Christ-like. It’s value extends beyond this life - the life to come.

1 Corinthians 9:26–27 ESV

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

The high road is taken by those who have disciplined themselves in godliness. Those who take the high road are those who walk with those who walk with God and those who walk with God. There is no other way to do it. There are no shortcuts. Taking the high road is not business as usual. It forces us to rethink everything in the light of God’s will.

Illustration: The Story of Nicole Poindexter

The Story of Nicole Poindexter: Decided instead of worrying she has no job made a new year’s resolution to read the Bible cover to cover. With so much time in her hands she finished it by the end of January. She also started researching solar powered electricity as a potential business in the continent of Africa. God spoke to her through the promise of God to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-2 “God from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you…I will bless you… and you will be a blessing.”

Her dream became a reality. He left home to Africa. In 2015 125 Africans in the village of Affulkrom got electricity for the first time in their lives. Four months and four villages later, the total was up to 750 people.

If you don’t have a dream, take the high road. Keep learning while you’re waiting. Get into God’s Word, and God’s dream will get into you. You don’t find destiny. Destiny will find you if your life is consumed with God.

The reality is you cannot conduct your life with the “business as usual” attitude.

Illustration: Kodak Moment

For nearly a 100 years, the Eastman Kodak company dominated the film industry. It controls 85% of camera sales and one of the top 5 valuable brands in America. In 1996 Kodak had 140,00 employees and valued at$28Billion. In 2016 they stopped making profit and in 2012 filed for bankruptcy.  What happened? They failed to jump the curve. Instead of embracing the changing technology, they decided to do it the way it had always been done. They missed the decisive moment. They missed the Kodak Moment.

Just like the men who withdrew from the battle, you cannot afford to do it all the time. Life is to short to ignore the challenges in front of you. You cannot keep on retreating from the opportunities before you. What is the 500-pound lion that you need to chase? Education? Relationship? Career? Serving the Lord? Sharing Your Faith? Generosity? Spiritual Growth? We need God’s anointing today more than yesterday and even more tomorrow.

Matthew 5:37 ESV Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Let’s embrace the pressure, the challenges before and take the higher ground, the moral ground. Excellence honors God, so we need to get better and better in whatever we’re called to do. It happens little by little, day by day.

3.   ENDURE TO THE END
“He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword.

We’ve heard it many times, “Picture paints a thousand words” but scientifically speaking, “a picture paints a million or even a billion words”.

Picture this in your mind:

Beniah locked eyes with the 500-pound lions. Josheb-Basshebeth raising his spear with eight hundred enemy soldiers and Eleazar’s hand, froze to his sword when he took his stand against the Philistines. Just one verse was given to their heroics but its more than enough to help us understand what kind of men they were.

James, writing after Jesus’ life on earth, talks about the power of discipline and perseverance. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Hebrews 10:36 (ESV) For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  

To endure is to suffer patiently. To remain under pressure. In the game of baseball, you don’t win on a loaded base.

Romans 5:3–5 (ESV) 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produce character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope do not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Hebrews 12:6–7 (ESV)6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

I challenge you to endure with us. Living Hope is no near perfection. From the leaders down to the youngest member we all need the grace of God. You might be two inches away from giving up or two inches away from a decision that will change the trajectory of your life.

When God tells you to go “just a little farther,” “endure a little farther”, a divine appointment might be two inches or seconds away. If you ignore the prompting, you miss the miracle. Nothing sets us up for a miracle like going the extra mile-”just a little father.” That’s when God shows up and shows off. One small step of faith can turn into a giant leap. One chase can change the trajectory of your life or someone else’s eternity

And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.” Those who failed to WALK WITH THOSE WHO WALK WITH GOD, TAKE THE THE HIGH ROAD and ENDURE TO THE END, missed out

Our three 500 lbs dream for the next three years

1. For us to be RISK takers in sharing the Gospel - EVANGELISM

2. For us to be REDISCOVER our first love - Christ - DISCIPLESHIP

3. For us to RELEASE unprecedented amount of compassion into the broken world. - MISSION

 

 

Discussion Questions:

1.           What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?

2.          “You can’t just pray as if it depends solely on God; you also have to work as if it depends on you.” What do you think this quote means?

3.          How does our culture often celebrate fifteen minutes of fame over a lifetime of faithfulness?

4.          How does God prepare us for our future?

5.          What do you need to start doing every day that will help you achieve your dreams?

6.         How can I pray for you?