In my morning Bible reading the other day, I read something that struck me as odd. Sometimes I’ll read a passage that immediately I’ll know God is using to teach me something. Likewise, I’ve learned to pay attention to the oddities, because usually He’s trying to get my attention. I’m thinking this is one of those times…
Here’s the passage:
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 and struck down the Philistines, and the LORD worked a great victory. 2 Samuel 23: 11&12
To put this in context, this chapter begins with the last inspired words uttered by David, then moves on to discuss the 30 men that were most often with him as he fought battles against the Philistines. Of those 30, three are mentioned in particular, the most recognizable is Eleazar, who killed so many opponents and his hand so tired, it “froze” to his sword. But that isn’t what struck me as odd.
It was the fact that Shammah was in a field of lentils. Lentils. Not merely did he stand in it; he took a stand in it. The verses don’t say whether the field was Shammah’s own field or not. Nevertheless, he defended it.
I’m a research girl, but the historical and Biblical significance of lentils is pretty extensive, and I could cite numerous articles discussing its significance. Suffice it to say, lentils were a very important food in ancient times. And Biblically? Well, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils. So I’m guessing that’s saying something BIG.
I’ve watched Gone With the Wind too many times to count, and when I think of Shammah in his field, I picture Scarlet (It’s a stretch, I know. But it’s how my mind works.) digging for that last little carrot that the Yankees didn’t get. She is bound and determined to provide for her family – her people – and will do anything to achieve that goal. Despite all her shortcomings, her family matters. Tara matters.
And that’s how I imagine it was for Shammah as well. That plot of lentils mattered. It mattered enough that he was willing to fight to the death for it, presumably.
The lentils could feed his compatriots, his family and friends, and his king. Shammah was willing to take a stand to fight for what was important, what mattered to him… a plot of lentils.
At this point, I’m asking myself, what is my plot of lentils? What matters? What’s that important to me? Because obviously, God wants me to know that the rest of the verse is even more important:
…and the LORD worked a great victory.
Oh, yeah. The LORD worked a great victory. Not a victory; a great victory! It’s pretty much a done deal, because He’s in the fight. Um, Hallelujah! I can breathe a sigh of relief. He’s got this.
But I still need to show up for the fight. Do my part. I need to take a stand, find my plot of what matters and prepare for the clash. Even though God’s got it covered, if I’m not standing in the midst of the battle, the victory is further away instead of closer.
So why wouldn’t I want to go stand in the lentil field and fight? He’s already worked the victory for me. For me.
And for you.
So go find your plot of lentils and take a stand.
Because the Lord has already worked a great victory.