“And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it.” (2 Samuel 23:11-12)
We miss so much when we gloss over the Old Testament. In addition to the Old Testament being revealed in the New Testament, and the New Testament being hidden in the Old, we rob ourselves of understanding important lessons we can discover from these great stories and heroes. It is not enough just to listen to the scriptures and hear them read at Mass. We must KNOW them. We must LIVE them.
I want to encourage you to read Chapters 22 and 23 of the book of 2 Samuel. There is a great lesson on loyalty to your king in Chapter 23. In these passages we see that King David is running for his life. He is hiding in caves like a wanted man because many seek to kill him. It was dangerous to be a defender of King David at this time. However, he had some loyal warriors who chose to go to their king and defend him at any cost. In 2 Samuel 23:8-13 we see the introduction of three of King David’s most loyal and valiant fighters. These three men chose to defend their king, even at the risk of their own life, because of their devotion to him and his kingship.
We, too, have a king. We do not, however, serve an earthly king as King David was in Israel. We serve the same king that David served in his life. We serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is our king, and we should live as if he is truly our king. The sins of this world are enticing. Adultery may look appealing and harmless. Pornography may seem like nothing but videos. Cheating on taxes may not seem like a big deal. Gossiping about someone in your church may appear to be not detrimental. Sin may seem fun, but with the Christian life the sins of this world are destructive. They destroy your soul.
The truth is Jesus Christ stood for us on Calvary. He took the sacrifice and punishment that we deserved. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (2 Peter 2:24-25)
It is not enough to say we love Jesus if our actions do not align with our words. It is not enough to go to Mass and pray if we go outside those walls and intentionally sin because of the world’s enticement. If we are to serve Christ, then that service requires obedience and sacrifice. King David’s mighty men did not just stand up and say, “we love King David, but its safer to stay here”. Later in the chapter, they choose to risk their lives to go get David a drink of water from a specific well that David mentioned. They did not say, “that’s too much to expect because we might die.” They did not respond by hiding in the cave with David. They chose to risk everything to serve their king.
How much are we willing to sacrifice to serve Christ? How many of the world’s pleasures and Satan’s enticements are we willing to turn from in order to be obedient to our King? What must we do for our actions to line up with our words when we say, “Jesus is Lord” and proclaim that we love Christ? Our words should not be the only part of our life that tells others we love and serve Christ. Our actions should also be an example for others to follow and to learn how to obey Christ as well.