Family Is Worth Fighting For!
When I was younger, I remember my parents offering me some particular advice in regards to certain difficult decisions, “You have to decide whether or not it’s worth fighting for.” Comments with similar meanings are used many times in our world and have often even been passed off as being too cliche’. Little did I realize that this is not only a stable platform from which to make serious decisions, but it is also one rooted in God’s word and sharing a heart after God. Allow me to explain . . .
2 Samuel 23:8-12 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder. And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the LORD brought about a great victory.
The words “Mighty Men” in the Hebrew means men who were Great, valued, or intense. People who were important, powerful, and ultimately able to do great things.
But one of these, Mighty Men” really stuck out to me. Eleazar was from the tribe of Benjamin and he fought beside David against the Philistines, probably at Pas Dammim:
1 Chronicles 11:11-14 And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam the son of a Hachmonite, chief of the captains; he had lifted up his spear against three hundred, killed by him at one time.
After him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. He was with David at Pasdammim. Now there the Philistines were gathered for battle, and there was a piece of ground full of barley. So the people fled from the Philistines. But they stationed themselves in the middle of that field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the LORD brought about a great victory.
During this battle, many of the Israelite soldiers were retreating, but Eleazar remained in his place and fought:
2 Samuel 23:10 He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword.
This is a mighty man . . . One who remembers where the battle is and stays and fights!
The Lord honored the faith and courage of David and Eleazar and gave Israel a great victory! But it’s not enough to observe the fight, we need to understand why the fight is worth fighting? “Why should they have risked their lives to defend a field of lentils and barley?” Because the land belonged to the Lord, that’s why!
Leviticus 25:23 “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land.
Leviticus 18:24–30 “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
“Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.’ ”
The principle is that Shammah didn’t want the defiled Philistines to control what belonged to God, and neither should we. Therefore, we must stand and fight!
This brings us to a threshing floor of realization mixed with a deeper line of questioning . . . What are the things that God has given us? The reason we need to ponder this is that it will lead us to answer the question, “What is worth fighting for?” I want to address this specifically by dealing with the relationships within the typical “immediate” family structure.
Our relationship with God Himself. Scripture clearly points out that God is the Initiator of the relationship we are in with Him. He chose Israel, not because they were special, but because He loved them. The same was true for Jesus’ disciples as He plainly told them in John 15:16a, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you . . .” Thus, all of us have been pursued by God and drawn into a relationship with Him because of His love for us. But we have to reciprocate this love since this is what is required in a relationship. As James tells us, we must, “submit ourselves to God” and cling to Him. There are many entities that try and separate us from the loving relationship we are in with our Father . . . Some from within, and some that bring the conflict from without. Whatever the case may be, we have to come to the conclusion that our relationship with God, though the Person of His Son Jesus, is worth fighting for. Have we sought His face today in ample time of prayer? Have we devoted a portion of our day to having Him speak to us through His word? Have we spent at least as much time feeding the spirit as we have feeding the flesh? As we take an inventory of all the time we have in any given day, allow your grip to be strengthened and raise the Sword of the Spirit to defend the most precious of all of our relationships, that of us to our Heavenly Father.
The spouse that God has given us. It’s very interesting to me, that immediately following the fall Adam blamed God for giving him what up to this point was a blessing. When God created the woman for the man in Genesis chapter 2, he was ecstatic! But no sooner had Adam neglected His relationship with God, the relationship of he and his wife suffered. “Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12) Within this one sweeping statement, Adam desecrated both of his relationships . . . First by blaming God for giving him the woman, and then trying to pass the guilt of this sin onto his wife. Adam’s problem was that for the first time, he was fighting with his wife and not fighting for her! Within the husband and wife relationship, God has allowed us to be more “interconnected” with one person than with anyone else on the planet which is why Jesus said, “The two shall become one flesh.” (Mark 10:8) Within the pages of Scripture, we have some of the most horrific sins committed within the marital relationships, deceitful plotting, lying, adultery, etc. But if this is all we see we have missed out on the fact that a marriage should be a reflection of the relationship of Jesus to the church! He will never leave us! He will never forsake us! He will always be faithful to us! He will never divorce us! In short, when sin became the obstacle that separated us, He went to the cross and and died for us because He believed we were worth fighting for! Therefore, if our marriage is a reflection of our relationship with Jesus, we need to stand and fight! We will pray for our spouse! We will love our spouse! We will defend our spouse, both in body and in character! We will cling to one another and encourage one another in God’s Word! As we stand at the precipice of the battle, our grip strengthens and we will stand and fight because our marriage is worth fighting for!
The children that we have been blessed with. Needless to say, as adults we clearly understand that the fight also rages for the souls of our children. As parents we walk a really fine line, trying to be both parent and friend, and mentor our offspring in the direction that we are going as we pursue the Person of Jesus. Not only is this not easy, but as they get older it can become downright combative. We are warned in in Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” So not only are we to train them, but we cannot provoke them within the process as this will hinder growth rather than nurture it. The problem is that this concept has led many parents to become timid and surrender their children to their own whims and desires, rather than focussing them to pursue what the Lord wants for them. I want to remind us that we have been given authority over our children and until such time as they belong to another as part of their immediate or “primary” family, they belong to us and we must fight. We have to view it this way . . . Everyone belongs to another. The Bible makes it clear, people either belong to God, or the devil. They either belong to the group of believers, or are in fellowship with unbelievers. Our children belong to someone, and until they are in another family relationship, that someone is us! Therefore we will stand and fight! Well how do we do that? Deuteronomy 6:6-9 gives us a clear strategy, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” We will pray for them! We will talk with them! We will walk with them! We will write it down for them! We will live the example for them! We will put our “following Jesus” on display for them within our homes! And, this will happen from the time we get up, until the time we go to sleep! This task may seem daunting, but the souls of the only people we are responsible for are at stake and so retreating is not an option! Do we feel the weight of the sword? Is the impression of the handle one with our palm? Is the blade an extension of our own are. Are we war-weary and exhausted? If the answer to these questions are not, “Yes.”, then there is a change that needs to occur, because what is at stake is far more valuable than most things that world wars have been fought over . . . These are the things that God has given and must be defended at all costs.
After looking at all of this, the answer to the questions, “What is worth fighting for?”, can be answered by one simple word . . . Family. God has seen fit, by His divine plan and purpose for us, to place these people within our lives in the most intimate ways that humans can be interconnected, and these relationships are worth fighting for! Oh, I know we may be getting tired, and this older body may be less fit to do battle than it was in times past, but the reality is that our family is at stake here! Therefore, we must tighten our grip on the hilt and allow the blade to flash in whatever direction the Lord may lead! Not until it sticks to our hand and our resolve is made clear, being forged in the battle we were chosen to endure, will we truly understand that whatever God has given to us is worth fighting for!