Battle For Your Beans
Jeff LyleCrosswalk.com blogspot for Jeff Lyle of TransformingTruth
- 2016 Mar 09
Sometimes you come across a bible verse or two that seemingly holds nothing of importance to you in the moment. Sometimes the Holy Spirit nudges you to go back and read it again. Sometimes, when you read it the second or third time, you discover a little treasure that you had previously missed. That's what happened to me when I read the following verses:
“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
Shammah... I can’t get him out of my head. Though I have previously known him as one of King David’s mighty men, I had never paused to think upon this episode where he defended a bean patch as if it were a goldmine. It would seem that he gained notoriety, in part, because of this valiant deed wherein a roving band of Philistine warriors made their way into Shammah’s town in order to steal, kill and destroy. While his peers fled the scene in order to avoid the intensity of the battle, Shammah is recorded as having stood his ground alone to deny even a patch of beans to these godless invaders. He had intense commitment and pulsing valor, and refused these marauders ownership of any part of the inheritance of Israel. Shammah belonged to God. And so did his beans.
Why this strikes me as significant resides in the fact that we note very few men and women today that will fight with this kind of tenacity. Oh, indeed, Christians are known at times for fighting – but this is an episode where immense commitment is given for seemingly valueless territory. I mean, c’mon, it’s just a bean-patch.Yet Shammah stands before us as one who is unwilling to sacrifice even the smallest portion to the enemy. He is the rare believer who sees the need for “what is right” in even the least of things. Because that patch of lentils was part of the covenant inheritance that God promised to Israel, Shammah thought it wise to refuse the surrendering of ground to the wicked enemy. The beans had value because they were given by God, not because they were outwardly impressive on their own. Battling for beans was actually a valiant endeavor to Shammah, in spite of the fact that his peers walked away from the contested place.
By the way, are you still defending your bean patch against the enemy?
We fight for the big things, don’t we? Let’s make a stand against abortion, the sanctity of marriage, the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s send our money and prayers to the third-world nations to supply rescue for the impoverished. We must lift up our voices against the tyranny of exploitation of the poor and vulnerable. All of these things are incredibly important issues, and I am personally involved in all of them to varying degrees. But what about the bean patches? Who will stand and fight for them? Who will look the enemy squarely in the eye and plant a No Trespassing sign into this oft-forgotten area of life? Many among our ranks have abandoned these patches of land and assumed that beans have little value and should not be deemed worth the fight. They turn and run and seek out better plots of land from which to eventually nourish themselves. They are among the anti-bean-counters and have no issues with surrendering this territory to their own private Philistine invasion. I guess it might not be that big of a deal until one realizes that any territory surrendered to the Enemy becomes his foothold for the next assault. Give the devil a foothold and it will undoubtedly become his stronghold. You see, that bean-patch you quit fighting for becomes his base camp for planning his next invasion of the adjacent acreage of your heart. The Enemy is not necessarily enamored with your beans, but he’ll take it in order to eventually own your gold.
I’m not going to tell you what your personal bean-patch is. You probably already know the little place(s) you’ve stopped fighting for. You may also be aware that the surrender of those areas also led to the more severe surrender of something more important in your life. A man surrenders his eyes to pornography and loses his family later on down the road. A woman surrenders her lips and ears to gossip and then the field of her friendships is burnt up. The Christian business person refuses to fight for the beans of integrity in their bookkeeping and eventually loses the entire field of their career when the government calls for an audit. A teenage girl allows some slick talking boy to sample her beans and he eventually brags to his buddies when he has become the first invader to steal her entire field. She’ll never get it back. She should have fought like Shammah when that Philistine boy first set eyes on the bean-patch. I’m not trying to be cute with this, I’m deadly serious.
You see, your bean patch is important.
May God grant us the spirit of Shammah who fiercely defended a field of lentils. May we remember that he won that fight and likely denied the Philistines other victories that might have followed. May we be wise to remember that the Holy Spirit saw fit to record this short account in Scripture for a reason. Shammah reveals that even the smallest of things are worth fighting for when we look forward in faith. Today’s surrender may become tomorrow’s disaster. Today’s well-defended bean patch might swell to tomorrow’s position as one of our King’s mighty ones. Would Shammah have enjoyed that inestimable privilege of being known as one of David’s Mighty Men had he not been willing to battle for the beans? All I know is that he did, indeed, battle. Will you? May our own King create in us a denying spirit that flinches not in the face of an un-entitled invader.“This bean-patch belongs to Jesus, thou Philistine! We will fight for it until the death!”