Barley Fields and Bean Patches

    "And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mightiest. He was
with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was a parcel  
of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. And they set themselves in the midst
of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the Lord saved them by a great deliverance."     
I Chronicles 11:12-14.                                                                                                                                            

    "And after him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together
into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he
stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the Lord wrought a great
 2 Samuel 23:11-12.                                                                                                                           

    The Philistines were everywhere.. The smoke of their devastation hung in dark masses over the valleys near Jerusalem. Driven by fear and panic, the people were fleeing in wild disorder when a large force of Philistines, led by a fierce visaged leader, swept down upon them from the south and converged on Pasdammim, where David was supposed to have marshaled his forces.

    Sensing victory, the invaders prepared to sweep across a small field of barley in pursuit when, before their faces, a band of David's soldiers, led by a daring young man, rose up from the barley stalks with a shout and charged headlong upon the surprised enemy. The swords and spears of David's men, led by Eleazar, the Ahohite, drank deeply that day of Philistine blood. What had appeared to the Philistines as a routine clean-up job turned into a full scale rout, for they were driven back, losing scores of their most valiant men before the furious onslaught of those few soldiers, standing in the middle of a little barley patch. The Lord wrought a great victory that day and Eleazar went down in the records as the second of David's mightiest men.

    After Eleazar was Shammah, the third of the mighty three, who stood alone in the midst of a vegetable patch; and he also wrought a great victory over the Philistines as he drove them back in utter defeat and confusion.

    What made these men fight so furiously for what seemed so insignificant - barley and beans? It could not have been the size of them - for the barley was but a small field and the beans were but a tiny patch. It could not have been their intrinsic worth, for both were low in the scale of actual value. And what could have induced David to count these men among his mightiest and most honorable? There can be but one answer: these men had a keen sense of what BELONGED TO GOD and what BELONGED TO DAVID, THEIR KING. That was it! Not the size of the field that determined their stand. No. But it belonged to those they loved and that made it worth fighting for. And they defended those patches like they were fields of diamonds! God blessed them with great victories and David remembered them with great honor.

    God will do the same today.

    All truth belongs to God. Even the barley field and bean patch variety. It all belongs to Him. And the Eleazars and Shammahs of our day, who will take their stand for their worth, regardless of present day Philistines, who contemptuously play its value down, these Eleazars and Shammahs will know the approval of their God. They will not be forgotten.

    We are witnessing today a wholesale departure from the so-called "lesser" truths of God. True, we have those who are holding the high ground. I see groups of dedicated men who are defending the Deity of Christ from the modernists. I see others who have taken a determined stand not to give up the truth of His virgin birth; His sinless nature; the value of His atoning blood and the full inspiration of the Scriptures. Thank God for these men and women who are holding these truths high amidst the sneers and jeers of the enemy.

    But there is another battle being fought. Insidiously obscure. In the valley, where are the barley fields and the bean patches of the seemingly less valuable truths of God. Who shall contend for them? Scripture records the people fleeing before the enemy in preference to fighting for them. All except Eleazar and Shammah. Their hands "clave to the sword", so earnestly did they contend for these small patches of ground. I do not know whether these men loved barley and beans that much, but I am convinced that they loved David so much that whatever belonged to him, no matter how insignificant and inconsequential it might seem to others, they would defend it to the last breath.

    Where are the Eleazars and Shammahs today? I see many Christians running around with their little yard-sticks measuring the truths of God and throwing out all the little ones they think are not worth contending for, not worth living or even dying for. Whenever you see people begin to measure the truths of God and put little price tags on them, you know the Philistines are going to score an easy victory over them.

    I see young men with long hair like a woman's. God says it's a shame for a man to have long hair, (I Cor. 11:14) but these young men (and many of them profess Christ) pay no attention to what PLEASES GOD. They have "measured" that truth in I Cor. 11 and said it is "too little" and wear their hair to please themselves and to be LIKE THE PHILISTINES, eternal enemies of God and His Word.

    One may say, "Aren't you making a mountain out of a mole-hill?" Well, you tell that to Eleazar or Shammah. No truth of God is so small it loses the virtue of truth by its smallness. I say, let these Christian young men put it to the test. Their long hair cries loudly, "I am in rebellion against the Word of God telling me what to do. I am opposed to God setting standards for my personal life. I will do what I want to do and God Himself will not order me around." Is this not so? I say, put it to the test. You know what God says, now go and cut your hair so you look like a man and not like a woman. If the hair is cut to where it should be, that is, man-like, then that young man is saying, "What pleases God pleases me," and I see him taking his place beside Eleazar and Shammah against the forces of the world-like Philistines.

    Also, today, we have men who should be leaders in stability and they are advocating that the sisters in assembly discard their head-covering, that it is a non-essential. It is easy to see these men would never fight for a patch of beans. These men are teaching the woman to be a symbol of rebellion in the assembly, where submission to God's Word and to the Lord is our only assurance of blessing. Just mark this down. When you see a company of believers and the sisters are sitting there with uncovered heads like men, they are as rebellious as the men with long hair like women. Together they cry out, "We are in rebellion against God. We want to do what WE THINK IS RIGHT and no one, not even God, is going to tell us what to do." I say, when you see this condition, then you mark it down, it is a symbol that the glory of the Lord has departed from that assembly, no matter how much "action" is going on there.

    Then we have some men who are advocating that the sisters take audible part in the prayer meetings and worship meetings. Well, why not? When the symbol of divine order is counted a small thing, it is not long until this spirit pervades the whole. Remember, when the enemy waylaid Eve in the garden, he didn't cause her to steal a truck-load of fruit, only one little piece that fit in the palm of her hand. When Satan approached the Saviour in the wilderness, he did not suggest He turn a mountain into bread - oh, no!...just a stone. (Luke 4:3) Saints make big mistakes when they commit "little" sins; and they make bigger mistakes when they think size has anything to do with either good or evil. If it is right, it is right no matter how small a truth it is. If it is evil, it is evil no matter how small it may seem.

    All this talk today about "relating" to our present world. Does it mean that in order to present Christ, the Church has got to do it on the world's terms? Does a farmer, in order to feed pigs, crawl into the trough to do it? When Joseph was down in Egypt, he was not afraid to say a big "No," to Potiphar's wife and the lust of the flesh; and Daniel, down in Babylon, was not afraid to say "No," to the Babylonian customs and the love of the world, in order to hold the honor of their God.

    These simple folk who go tippy toeing around with hair like Rip Van Winkle; a beard like Santa Claus and shabby clothes like a broken down model for a "Goodwill Store" earn nothing but the world's contempt. In some places the standard is so low, you would have to back-slide to get in fellowship. When the Church can say NO to the devil and YES to God, it will be a great day in her witness on earth.

    May God give us more men and women who are not afraid of the world's sneer in preference to the smile of Christ. Christian witnessing (testimony) will never be easy, never be cheap and never be popular when it is done on Christ's terms, but it will be effective.

    It is high time that Christians face the fact that the Christian life is a life of conflict and that there is an aspect of it which demands the full armour of God, that demands facing the enemy of souls and be prepared to contend for all the truth of God. We shall not give up the barley fields and the bean patches. These smaller truths are as much of God as the larger ones - the Deity of Christ, the atonement, the inspiration of the Scriptures, etc. Show me the brother or sister who can value the little things of God in their life and I will show you one who will be faithful in the greater things as well.

    Oh, these noble Eleazars! These valiant Shammahs! Whose grip on the truth is so steadfast and sure that their hands as swordsmen in battle are weary, yet cleave they to the shafts. They cannot let go. Oh, for these Christians, who cleave to all the truth God has shown them, come high tide or low, whether in company or alone. Oh, these courageous Eleazars and Shammahs even today, who will not relinquish the truth of God at any cost, no matter how small it may seem to be. May God increase their number, these fearless fighters amidst fad and fashion, whose standard for defense is not what they like, but what pleases their God!
By - Leonard E. Lindstead

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