I Want to Be an Abishai

Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him.- II Samuel 21:15-17a

David's battle against Goliath is legendary.  There are few children who couldn't give you the vivid details of the encounter.  But David's battle against Ishbibenob, the son of the giants?  Well, that one isn't told very often, but it should be.

Second Samuel tells the story.  Israel was at war. . . again, and frankly, David was growing weary.  He was tired of fighting, and though skilled as he was, he was physically fatigued to the point of fainting.  I can only imagine the look on his face when Ishbibenob stepped before him.  David barely had the energy to lift his sword against a man his own size.  How on earth could he muster the strength to fight another giant?  Fortunately for David, he didn't have to.

Abishai, one of David's warriors, obviously noticed David's distress and stepped in to slay the giant.  In so doing, he saved David's life.  Talk about a story to write home about!  I'd love to hear that letter.  "Dear Mom, Life here at boot camp is pretty rough.  The food is better than I expected, so don't worry about me going hungry.  The war is pretty much the same, so there's not really much to report.  Oh, but I did save the life of the king.  It was nothing really.  I mean, anyone could have killed that giant. . ."

Abishai.  What an interesting character, and what a role model!  I don't know about you, but I want to be an Abishai.  I want to help my brothers and sisters in Christ fight their giants.  I want to be one who is called upon to help.  I want to be willing to do whatever is in my power to strengthen and encourage my fellow Christians.  Not for my own glory, mind you.  But for the sake of the weary Christian.  Why?  Because I, too, have faced giants, and typically the giants came at a time when I felt too weary to go on.  During these times in my life, I've experienced the strength and encouragement that an Abishai can bring.  The check that arrived in the mail shortly after an unexpected bill surfaced.  The phone call that brought me out of my pity party.  The letter that reminded me that my work is not in vain.  The hug from a friend at church.  Giant-slayers -- each and every one.

Jason and I were recently talking about how self-absorbed people are as a whole these days.  They do what's good for them, when it's good for them with no thought of how it might affect others.  They walk down the middle of the street or parking lot, oblivious to the pile of cars waiting to get around them.  They take the closest park spot even though they know the old lady behind them needs it more.  They break in line because they're in a hurry (like everyone else isn't?).  Many people, I feel, are not bad or mean; they're just self-absorbed.  Abishai is the opposite of that.  Abishai noticed David's dilemma.  I want to be aware of the plight of others around me, not just focused on me and my needs.  I don't want to be self-absorbed!  I want to be an Abishai!

How about you?  Are you content to fight your own giants, or are you willing to help your brothers and sisters fight theirs too?  The choice is yours, but let me tell you there's no grander feeling on this earth than knowing that you've made a difference in someone's life.