In 2 Samuel we read about a guy named Eleazar the son of Dodo. He was one of the three greatest of David’s mighty men – and a wonderful example of how to face a battle that brings you to a point of great weariness. Let’s take a look at Eleazar and see how he responded to weariness in the midst of battle.
“ . . . 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mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle and the men of Israel had withdrawn. He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the LORD brought about a great victory that day . . . ” 2 Samuel 23:9-10 (NASB)
The first thing we learn from Eleazar is that everyone, even mighty men of God, grow weary in battle. God did not rebuke him for growing weary in battle. That is normal – whether it is a physical battle or a spiritual one. The real issue is what we do when we face that weariness.
Eleazar was wielding a sword in the battle against the Philistines that day. Swords are heavy – and when you get weary – you just want to drop your sword. Whether you completely drop it to the ground – or just drop it and no longer use it, as a weapon in the battle really doesn’t matter. The worst thing you could do in the midst of a battle is to drop your sword. Eleazar didn’t drop his sword. In fact as he fought that day he found that as the battle raged – he clung to the sword that was in his hand. The word clung means that he held tightly to it. The imagery of that verse is that he held so tightly to it that it would have been difficult to know where hand ended and sword began. It was as if he was fused with the sword he drew and held that day. No matter how weary he was – he clung to the sword and continued to use it to decimate his enemies. The result that day was a great victory – one that was granted by Jehovah Himself!
Whether you realize it or not, you face a sword fight every day. The way to victory in your battles is in fighting with the Word of God, which is referred to in Ephesians 6 as the “Sword of the Spirit.” The lesson that we need to learn from Eleazar about the use of swords in a time of weariness though, is that we need to cling to our sword until it fuses with us. Eleazar clung to his sword in the battle with the Philistines – and we need to cling to ours in our battles as well.
Our problem is that too often we either drop or lay down our swords when we get weary. Either of those two choices, dropping our sword or laying it down, are horrible options for us. It is in that moment of weariness that the battle is won or lost. Consider Jesus, who after 40 days of fasting experienced a weariness that few if any of us will ever know. Yet it was in that weary condition that the devil himself came and tempted Jesus three times. Even though weary, Jesus did NOT let go of the sword of the Spirit. Three times He unsheathed the sword of the Spirit. Three times he answered the devil’s temptations and lies with the Word of God. And just like Samuel of old, when faced with the wicked, worldly Agag, He hewed Satan to pieces with that sword. Every temptation was defeated and the evil one lay slain at His feet. Was that because He was the Son of God . . . no. Was that because Jesus had something we don’t have . . . no. It was simply because Jesus took the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and used it against the enemy. In His weariness He didn’t drop that sword – He clung to it – fused with it – and one could not determine where His hand ended and the sword began.
Oh to have such a strong grasp – to cling to the Word of God. To do it even more when we get weary. To cling to the mighty Sword of God until we cannot see the end of us and the beginning of Him in us. To speak that Word with the same confidence as our Lord – and to hew to pieces every temptation, every lie, every deceitful desire that seeks to lead us astray.
The victory in the day of Eleazar was not attributed to him. You will note in the passage in 2 Samuel that it says clearly that the LORD brought about a great victory that day. We will not be aware of how awesome we are in that day. We will be glad that we held fast to the Word of God. We will be glad that we clung to the sword of the Spirit and used it as God intended.
Some may say, “Well, that was another day – a much different time.” It was a time in the past – but when we see that Jesus used the perfect tense when He quoted God’s Word – we will see that the Word He used is just as strong today as it was in the day He used it. The Greek, when translated to show the perfect tense, would read this way. Jesus said, “It stands written, (having been written at a time in the past with the reality that it is still written now, and will be forever written and the same in the future) man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!” Each time our Lord quoted the Word of God He quoted it in this way. He used the perfect tense. That tense emphasizes that the Word God gave at whatever point it was given was just as authoritative in the time Jesus walked the earth – and it speaks with the same authority and power in every generation that will ever exist – and even will have that authority for all eternity. By the way – that means it has just as much power to hew Satan and his temptations to pieces today.
Are you weary? We all get weary in this life. Something you might want to know as well is that Satan seems to do his best (or more accurately stated, worst) work when we are weary. If you are weary – don’t let go of the Word of God! Don’t lay down your sword – no matter how tired and weary you become. That Word is your key to victory. Don’t drop your sword – draw it! Be ready even in your most weary moment. And when the evil one shows up, as he will most likely show up in those moments, take that sword and by quoting, holding fast, believing, and becoming fused with (or one with) the Word of God . . . hew him to pieces to the glory of God! May the Lord put that sword firmly in your hands – may you become more and more skillful in wielding it – and may you enjoy times of worshipping God joyfully for the great victory He gives through it!