Small, but significant
June 25, 2012
by Dr. Tom Rakow, Grace Bible Church, Silver Lake

In the big scheme of things, it seemed insignificant. It certainly didn’t seem worth the risk. After all, it was just a field of barley, located in a place of obscurity. In the end, what difference would fighting for a field of grain really make?

It seemed unreasonable to stand against so great an enemy for such a small prize. This is especially true when we realize that the other Israelite warriors involved in this lopsided conflict proved to be cowards by running away. Nevertheless, the Lord used this seemingly insignificant battle, in an insignificant place, in a powerful way.

You see, roughly 3,000 years ago, a man named Eleazar chose to stand his ground, and in so doing, allowed the Lord to bring about a great victory.

The biblical record of this man named Eleazar is quite brief. The Bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 11 that Eleazar “…was with David at Pas Dammim when the Philistines gathered there for battle. At a place where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines. (v.14) But they took their stand in the middle of the field. They defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.”

It is no wonder that Eleazar is listed as one of David’s favorite friends. He stood with David when the rest of “the troops fled from the Philistines” (v.13b). How about you? Have you ever had someone faithfully stand with you when others jumped ship? More importantly, have you faithfully stood with someone during one of their darkest hours? What a wonderful difference just one person can make.

We know that Eleazar didn’t shy away from this army of Philistines gathered for battle. Indeed, he refused to allow his commitment to be controlled by negative circumstances. In fact, the negative circumstances that Eleazar and David faced being so vastly outnumbered by the enemy ultimately served to reveal to others (even folks like us, some three millennia later) the power of genuine faith and commitment.

In 2 Samuel 23 we find another brief bio of Eleazar recorded. Here we are also told that Eleazar stood his ground and struck the Philistines. Nevertheless, the Bible also informs us that he did this, “…till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword” (10b). Now, friend, that’s real commitment! Eleazar continued to swing the sword until it had to be peeled from his hand.

Yes, Eleazar was faithful to perform what the Lord wanted him to do. Ultimately, the Lord used this unwavering dedication and devotion to bring about, “a great victory” (1 Chronicles 11:14c). He honored the Lord, encouraged David, decimated the enemy, and enriched Israel. We are told, “ . . . The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead” (2 Samuel 23:10).

So, how about you? What has the Lord called you to do? Are you remaining faithful? Perhaps the field Jesus has placed you in seems so small and insignificant, that you wonder, “What difference is my life making?”

Friend, don’t lose heart. As we see with Eleazar, small fields are sometimes places where a great victory can take place. Remain faithful. Stand true to what God’s word says, and what He has called you to do. Keep fighting for what is right, even if everyone else flees.

The apostle Paul told the believers in Galatia, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:10). And again, as Paul charged the Christians in Corinth, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).