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None Less Than My Best

Greetings!! I am Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite; servant of David, Anointed of God. My Lord has granted me special honors to come and tell my story to this honorable assembly tonight. My role in history is small, and many would not know of my exploits performed in the name of my God in the service of my King David. I dare say, only two of my adventures were ever recorded in His Holy Word, but those were recorded for good reason I assure thee.

Perhaps, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me explain, after David escaped Saul by fleeing to Nob and the cave of Adullam many men gathered to him, about 400 in all. (1 Sam. 22) I was with that group, myself and my two comrades. We became David’s Three, it was us who braved the Philistine army to bring him a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem (2 Sam. 23), but that was a minor trifle compared to what I am really known for accomplishing for my master David and His God.

The Philistines were camped at Pas Dammim for battle, my King David and I taunted them. It was grand! We hurled insults at them and mocked their gods! We called them names and spoke ill of their courage in battle, and their skill with the sword. We told them that just one of our men with God on our side could put their entire army to flight! Ahhh, they did not take too kindly to that. Haha, no they did not. They were so infuriated that they attacked with a fury that few have seen in a Philistine since!! They fought so hard that they put the Israelite army to flight. As the retreat was being sounded, I fell back with my men and we fled.

I couldn’t help but recall our taunting to the Philistines before, and our boasts of the power of our God compared to theirs. I remembered my master’s battle with the giant, and I stopped running. I turned half way around and I glanced back at the chasing Philistine army. Time began to slow down for me. The world was moving as though in a dream. I looked back towards my comrades and I felt great shame at the lack of faith and courage that we were displaying that day. I turned my face toward heaven, and with my sword in my hand I cried out to my God and I turned to face the Philistine army, knowing I stood alone to face them.

I knew not whether I would live or die, no, I feared I would die before I had struck down just three of my enemies that day, but I had resolved in my heart that I would not run from these heathen men but would stand alone if I must to honor my God with my best. I would not stop fighting until I had fallen dead at their feet or my God granted me victory! I gritted my teeth and I bent my legs with my sword held low and point up I awaited my fate as I watched the approaching army gain precious distance closer to me in slow motion. I could see each man’s face as he faced me, I could hear each war cry. My eyes scanned the battle lines as I stood defiantly before them – one man against hundreds with only a sword in my hand and God at my back. It was a strange sensation watching each step that the Philistines made move slowly through time, bringing them closer and closer to me and my doubtless death. Each second seemed like an hour, and with each step my resolve to not give less than my all that moment, my final moment, grew. Finally the last few steps were about to be covered and I raised my sword to meet my first, and maybe last opponent. With the clang of the metal on metal, time regained its normal momentum. And the last battle of my life, I thought, began its final stage.

I had fought many battles and lived before this one, and most I fought with zeal and vigor, yet at this moment I fought with such energy, with such strength and yet with such smoothness and precision as I have never fought ever again. It was as though God fought through me that day. I slew my three, and then three more, and then three more and so it continued for what seemed days. It never slowed, never quit. With every man I cut down, three more appeared before me ready to avenge their brothers death. I grew weary with the effort, yet I did not falter in my vow. It became a struggle to even stand, let alone lift my sword and with each stroke and swing and stab of my blade I grew even wearier. Yet I did not stop, I could hear myself screaming in my mind, or maybe it was in my ears, I cannot even remember if I was thinking it or screaming it: “I will not stop giving my God my best today until I am dead at their feet or I stand victorious over them today!”

Do you know what it means to give your best? Do you really, I thought I did that day, until I reached it and I was neither dead nor victorious. So I continued giving. I gave it to the Philistines over and over again, beyond the point I could even comprehend the passing of time. I could not even feel my arms but I could see them swinging my sword and with every stroke I saw another man fall. I was tripping over bodies left and right, literally climbing over them, and slipping on the blood stained ground. Each time raising again to face another man. It seemed endless, and then it was over. It seemed unreal. I turned and stumbled around half blinded by wounds on my head I had no memory of receiving, seeking frantically to find my next opponent before he found me, but I found no one, for there were none left. I stood in an open field full of dead men, hundreds, strewn in piles all around me and slowly it dawned on me that I had defeated the entire army. I lived! I was victorious!! My God had granted me my prayer despite my own lack of faith! I tried to drop my sword but my hand would not obey my command. The muscles of my arm were stiff as a dead mans, and my hand would not be opened. As my fellow Israelites rallied to my side, there was not a single Philistine left alive. They had only to pick the loot from the bodies.

That day I understood a new meaning to giving God my best. I understood that surrender to God meant not surrendering to anything else until I had achieved victory or I stood before my Maker in Heaven. To fail in the day of adversity is weakness indeed!

I tell my story to you today to encourage you that you too may bring victory against overwhelming odds! That you too may do great deeds that will be remembered for generations to come as fabulous feats. It does not require great skill or great ability for I certainly did not have the skill for what I accomplished that day. It only requires a steadfast determination to give nothing less than your absolute all to God and that will be enough. For nothing is impossible with God!!!

Adapted from 2 Samuel 23 by A. Read Wall, May 12, 2007 for dramatic effect


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