Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Valley Where Giants are Slain

“Eleazar the son of Dodo, was with David at Pas-dammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle” (1Ch 11:12-13)

May I introduce to you Eleazar, the son of Dodo. Now, I don’t know if Dodo was a good dad or not. I only know he had a really strange name. There’s only two ways to pronounce it, and neither are very flattering. One reminds you of a stupid bird, and the other, well, let me just say it rhymes with bird, if you know what I mean.

I can only imagine what high school must’ve been like for young Eleazar. “Hey, dodo head!” you can hear Biff call out during recess, “gimme your lunch money!” I’m only speculating, but the point I want to make is nevertheless true – you can indeed amount to something great, even if your dad wasn’t such a good example. This is what we learn from Eleazar’s story.

The morning sun broke slowly over the hillside to cast its golden dawn upon a rather large field of ripened barley, ready for harvest. But instead of farmers with plows and sickles, this field was manned with soldiers carrying swords and spears. It was the elite fighting force of David. They were there to keep a raiding garrison of Philistines from swooping down and stealing the crop. But something happened for which they were not prepared. On this day it would not be a detachment of Philistine soldiers; no, it would be a whole army of them.

Silhouetted on the ridge of the hill, backlit with the morning sun, the Philistine army rose up against David and his few men guarding the field below. David’s men scattered, and the Philistines assumed they had won the field without lifting a finger. But as the dust settled they noticed two lone men standing back to back in the midst of the field, swords drawn and eyes flashing, ready for war.

It was David and Eleazar. And what happened next is one of those amazing stories from the Bible that tend to sound almost like fairy tales. These two men, empowered by the Spirit of God, fought valiantly that day against the Philistines and routed their army. The Bible says Eleazar’s “hand was weary, yet cleaved unto the sword.” He didn’t stop until the job was done, and the Lord brought a great victory through his efforts, together with David.

Sometimes it takes a dodo to do what others deem impossible. And the Lord sees to it that such a person is never left alone in battle – He Himself will step in and make the difference in the valley where giants are slain.

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