It is fascinating to read the list of David’s mighty men in 2 Samuel 23. These are the men that I believe David intentionally gathered around himself, men who knew no fear and who would not retreat. As the warrior king, David surrounded himself with those who were likewise warriors and who would not shrink back when the odds were high and the battle was fierce and the adversary was strong and dangerous.
Notice these valiant men. There was Eleazar, who “arose and struck the Philistines until his hand clung to the sword (23:10).” His hand gripped so tightly to the sword that it became a part of the weapon and the weapon became a part of his hand and his hand could not be opened. Then there was Shammah, who took his stand on his plot of ground and defended it against withering opposition. Also there was Abishai who killed three hundred with one spear. Benaiah was literally a lion-killer, because the Scripture says “he killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day (23:20).” The list goes on of the mighty men whom David had gathered around himself. In addition to lion-slayers, there were also giant-slayers. In 2 Samuel 21, we read of Abishai, Sibbecai, Elhanan, and Jonathan, David’s nephew, who each killed one of the giants of Gath. David himself was a bear-slayer, a lion slayer (1 Samuel 17:34-36) and of course a giant-slayer, but he also had men around him who could also slay giants and lions and bears. David knew that he was much safer if he had warriors around him who covered his back. A man can go into any battle if he has the Lord in front of him and he has giant-slayers and lion-slayers and bear-slayers behind him.
Why am I saying all this about David’s mighty men? I am saying this about giant-slayers and lion-slayers because there will come a time in my life and there will come a time in your life when we will be faced with a lion or a bear or a giant. When a giant rises up in my life, I want to have some warriors at my side who have fought with giants before and have vanquished them. When I encounter a lion in a pit on a snowy day, I want to know that I can call on another warrior, a brother in Christ, who will wield the sword of the Spirit and will wage war on my behalf against the enemy that is too strong for me. When the forces of darkness threaten to overwhelm me, or when life just comes at me from too many angles and too fast and I am on the verge of surrender, I want to know that I can call for help to one of my fellow soldiers who is also standing firm in the fight and who is ready from his knees in prayer to lift up my name and my cause to the throne of heaven so that the great King of kings will come to my rescue. Every one of us needs a band of mighty men (or mighty women) who are there to fight with us. So I am in the ongoing process of gathering giant-slayers into my camp. O Lord, give me men who are giant-slayers, men who have killed the bear and the lion and who will never retreat to fight alongside me as we together press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Amen.