“And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were gathered to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away [“had retreated”-NKJV]: He arose, and smote the Philistines until His hand was weary, and his hand clave unto [“stuck to”-NKJV] the sword: and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.” –II Samuel 23:9-10
In the church today, there are plenty of slackers, but few attackers. Slacker or attacker…which are you?
The Webster’s New World Dictionary defines a slacker as “A person who evades duties and responsibilities; especially, one who evades military service in time of war.” An attacker is defined as “a person who accepts duties and responsibilities; especially, one who embraces military service and takes the offensive in time of war.”
It was certainly a time of war for Israel, David and his mighty men. Sadly, many of the Israelites had retreated. Perhaps they thought, “Look at all those mean and nasty Philistines! We’re outta here! We don’t stand a chance against them. This could get really messy if we stick around and fight. Besides, we’ve got other stuff to do.”
We are living in days of intense warfare for those who claim to be serving under our Commander-in-Chief—the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s too bad slackers outnumber attackers! Jan Johnson, a freelance writer from California, wrote, “Many believers are ‘rabbit hole’ Christians. In the morning they pop out of their safe Christian homes, hold their breath at work (thankful for the Christian at the next desk), scurry home to their Christian families, and then run off to Bible studies. They end the day by praying for the unbelievers they avoided all day.”
Slackers in the church! Oh yeah! They are slackers in prayer, in praise to God, in giving, in serving, in reproving the works of darkness, in reaching those no one else wants to reach and in making disciples. We are called to be attackers in battle because Jesus Christ has already won the war over Satan, sin and death! The true church is valiantly engaged in critical and relentless battles of the ages. Our true enemies are Satan, his lies, sin and the manifold effects of these unholy forces coming against us on every front imaginable.
“…For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil I John 3:8b.”
The retreat of the Israelites didn’t faze Eleazar. If anything, it stirred up the fight in him even more. The slackers’ retreat may be disheartening, but should never stop the attackers advance. The attackers are the conquerors!
Eleazar “…arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave to the sword (II Samuel 23:10a).”
True attackers take up, stick to and stick with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17b).” Attackers don’t fight until they are tired. They fight until the battle is won. God isn’t looking for people who never fail. God is looking for people who never give up! When we start with the Word of God, love the Word, obey the Word, speak the Word accurately into the pretty and ugly faces of all the fables, factions and forces arrayed against us, the Lord will give us great victories!
In the story of Eleazar, the slackers returned to spoil (plunder or strip the dead) after the battle was over. Slackers leech off the plunder won by the attackers. Slackers in the church today want the blessings without the battles, the freebies without the fight, the prizes without the price.
Slacker or attacker–which are you? If you are already an attacker, never settle into being a slacker. If you are a slacker you can arise like Eleazar and become an attacker—a true warrior who aggressively declares and demonstrates the truth, love, grace, mercy and righteousness of Jesus Christ in the face of even the most sinister, threatening obstacles and opposition.
The old time preacher Vance Havner wrote: “The church languishes when her members wear medals in the grandstand; she prospers when they wear scars in the arena.” Let the Lord examine you today through the words of a great hymn writer …
“Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause or blush to speak His name?
Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign: Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain supported by Thy word.”
–“Am I A Soldier of the Cross?” by Isaac Watts