As God blesses you and your particular Kingdom assignment, it will be important to not claim ownership of anything God has done as the result of your faithfulness. These moments are a test of our hearts, especially when those who abandoned us amid a conflict arrive after a battle has been waged to claim a share of the blessing, having shed no spiritual or emotional blood allowing them to make such a claim.
A section of scripture in II Samuel describes the mighty warriors of David, who accomplished unusual feats of heroism. One such warrior was a man named Eleazar. He stood beside David in a battle against the Philistine’s when the entire Israelite army fled in fear. The desertion left David and Eleazar alone to do the fighting. When the battle was finally over, the text says Eleazar had fought so long and so hard he could no longer lift his sword.
One verse caught my attention, “The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder” (II Samuel 23:10). If we have been walking with the Lord for any length of time, we will have sad stories to tell. Some of these are stories are about those who deserted us at the moment of greatest need, and after we fought an intense battle alone, returned to claim a share in the victory. Seeing a deserter return can challenge the depth of character for those who stood and fought and did not run away.
David’s mighty warriors were mighty in battle, but they were also mighty in character. David and Eleazar allowed the deserters to return to claim their portion of plunder. Imagine what it felt like to receive such grace if you were one who ran away? That expression of grace is the evidence of a real warrior heart.
In a conflict, whether natural or spiritual, at some point, we have all been cowards in need of grace. True warriors understand human frailty. The next battle the deserters faced with David would allow them to follow the example of a real mighty warrior – a warrior who saw the bigger picture of someone’s life than a one-time failure. The measure of true greatness happens when grace is offered to failed people instead of punishment and rejection.