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Play the Man

1 & 2 Samuel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:31:02
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Introduction: Welcome/Prayer
(Text) 2 Samuel 10
Explain title - Play the Man
It will be evident with the testimony I read near the end of the message
It is an older expression, simply meaning to “be brave/strong”, “play the part”… “rise to the challenge/situation”
Now the events of chapter 10, are first reported back in chapter 8 when we were given a summary of David’s conquests.
Chapter 10 focuses on one of those military engagements and actually sets the stage for David’s sin with Bathsheba… chapters 10, 11, and 12, are really one unit, however, there is a verse here in this chapter, verse 12, that points us to another verse in the New Testament, 1 Cor 16:13, both of which speak to how we ought to live in light of our circumstances regardless of what they may be.
2 Samuel 10 ESV
1 After this the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. 2 And David said, “I will deal loyally with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me.” So David sent by his servants to console him concerning his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the Ammonites. 3 But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?” 4 So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away. 5 When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.” 6 When the Ammonites saw that they had become a stench to David, the Ammonites sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob, 12,000 men. 7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of the mighty men. 8 And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the gate, and the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob and the men of Tob and Maacah were by themselves in the open country. 9 When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians. 10 The rest of his men he put in the charge of Abishai his brother, and he arrayed them against the Ammonites. 11 And he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. 12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” 13 So Joab and the people who were with him drew near to battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. 14 And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before Abishai and entered the city. Then Joab returned from fighting against the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem. 15 But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together. 16 And Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the Euphrates. They came to Helam, with Shobach the commander of the army of Hadadezer at their head. 17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together and crossed the Jordan and came to Helam. The Syrians arrayed themselves against David and fought with him. 18 And the Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of 700 chariots, and 40,000 horsemen, and wounded Shobach the commander of their army, so that he died there. 19 And when all the kings who were servants of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became subject to them. So the Syrians were afraid to save the Ammonites anymore.
Nahash, king of the Ammonites passes away. Hanun, his son takes over. (1 Chr 19)
David apparently had some deal with Nahash, and he intended to reaffirm it.
But Hanun’s men did not trust David and convinced Hanun of their thinking.
Hanun deeply insults David’s envoy… equal to an act of war
Ammonites prepare for war and hire about 33k men
David sends his army in response
Joab and Abishai in charge… they are surrounded… enemy to the front and back forcing them to split up
Joab took the best men against the Syrians
Abishai took the rest against the Ammonites
Plan was to help each other as necessary
Syrians flee, then the Ammonites flee.
Syrians regathered and restrengthen…
David himself goes out with all of Israel and defeats them… this victory results in the Syrians subjecting themselves to Israel and no longer did they assist the Ammonites.
This victory is what allows Israel to obtain full control over the 2 key trade routes we spoke about two weeks, the King’s Highway and the Way by the Sea.
In the midst of this historical account we have a line of faith uttered by a man of questionable character… Joab...
David’s general, his nephew, who has been guilty of spilling innocent blood, and who later will prove not to be so loyal to David..
In verse 12, Joab speaks words to encourage his men for the battle…
Essentially saying, Be strong, Do your part, and God will do His...
Let’s look at it more closely, 2 Samuel 10:12
2 Samuel 10:12 ESV
12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”

Do Your Part, God Will Do His

The first thing of note is the word courage...
This Hebrew word is חזק which essentially means “be strong” or to “become strong”… and it can often be translated as “courageous” as it is here… which makes sense if you think about it…
(Courage = controlling fear, requires strength)
Some translations, translate it as “Be strong and be courageous” or “Be strong and play the man” or something along those lines...
Therefore, Joab is calling his people to be strong, to be courageous… perhaps recalling to his own mind Joshua 1:9
Joshua 1:9 ESV
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
And to do this well, to its fullest sense, to become strong, to become brave, to play the man so to speak, one must use all their resources, all their faculties, all their abilities, all their physical prowess and mental aptitude for this effort.
It takes intentionality… this Hebrew word has a sense of action associated with it… hence the word “be”… it’s a call to action because normally the men aren’t at this state… or this level of readiness and fitness.
The Greek word here in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT, is the same word used in 1 Cor 16:13 for the term “play the man”…
Which by the way, is the only occurence of that word in the New Testament
So, they must focus themselves for the task ahead for the enemy is in front of them and behind them… they need to dig deep.
And to help them do just that Joab reiterates the command by connecting to a purpose…
For the people...
They are not simply fighting for themselves, but for others...
A person will typically only suffer so much for oneself… but often when faced by the possibility of harm and suffering coming upon loved ones… a person will often endure much more pain to prevent it…
For the cities of God...
So Joab asks them to remember why they fight...
Yet, though Joab calls his men to rise to the challenge… he also exhorts them to trust in Yahweh, regardless of the outcome.
Joab doesn’t beseech God for a victory here… he simply says “May the Lord do what seems good to Him’… in other words… may His will be done… whatever that may be.
But a natural connection should be made here by his men to encourage them...
They are fighting for the name of Yahweh… for His people, His cities...
So, it would be fair to think that God would be on your side… yet… there still is not a promise of a victory in that…
And Joab… showing unusual faith highlights that… fight bravely, fight well, but it’s in the Lord’s hand...
An understanding that the corrupt priest Eli himself understood back 1 Sam 3:18… though when he said it, he knew what was coming and it wasn’t good news.
1 Samuel 3:18 ESV
18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”
We can ask God for many things but often we are left in suspense about the answer… but we must understand that we are never alone...
It may well please God to answer us favorably and it may please God not to...
When we seek a need, we don’t find assurance in the meeting of that need… we find assurance in that He is with us…
Our ultimate need, as believers, has already been met… His grace is fully sufficient.
2 Cor 12:9-10
2 Corinthians 12:9–10 ESV
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
But we’re not fighting two armies… we’re not part of the Lord’s army… what does this have to do with us?
Everything… this mindset is what our mindset ought to be… we may not be fighting physical war, but we are definitely fighting a spiritual one, which oftentimes works itself out in the physical realm.
When I hear these words of Joab… of being strong, being courageous, playing the man… I can’t help but think of 1 Cor 16:13… a verse we now turn to see the mindset we ought to have today....
1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV
13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

Do Your Part, God Will Do His

Recall the context of 1 Corinthians...
A church, that Paul planted in Acts 18, is suffering under the pressures of the various wordly views and influences that exist at Corinth
So, he writes them this letter, reminding them of who they are… and dealing with a variety of issues within the church, and calling them to doctrinal fidelity (faithfulness), so that they may give themselves fully over to the work of Christ...
So, in part of his conclusion to this letter he admonishes them here in verse 13 of chapter 16… now… before we dive in let me acknowledge the presence of verse 14… 1 Cor 16:14
1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV
14 Let all that you do be done in love.
These admonishments must not be done outside the sphere of love… they are not to be done for selfish reasons… but are done with others in mind, namely Christ, but as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ....
Now, Paul gives these admonishments because the Corinthians were in a battle… whether they realized it or not… in fact, much like Joab and his men, they were surrounded… by evil forces...
And so are we today… the problem of living in a society with freedom of religion, is that it becomes hard to discern what is true and what is false, thus the enemy is often hiding in plain sight affecting our walk with Christ...
We would be fools to think we’re not in the midst of a spiritual war… even here in America...
So, Paul tells us to be watchful...
This can hold two meanings…
First, and most likely meaning, is to be anticipating the return of Christ…
Be ready for His return… as such live accordingly… we look ahead to the last days to motivate ourselves to holy living… that’s the point of Revelation...
Revelation was not written to tell you how the world ends… it was written to encourage holy living.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide insight on how it all ends… but it’s primary purpose was to tell us Christ is coming back… and in doing so tells us several times over that those who overcome are those who shall sit with Him.
So, Paul, wants us to be ready, to be anticipating the return of Christ… not forgetting, not neglecting our duties… to be like the wise virgins who were ready for their bridegroom even though He delayed...
So, just as Joab reminded the Israelites to recall why they fight, for their people and their cities....
Paul reminds us what we are to anticipate… and thus consider how we are to live in light of that anticipation
So Paul, at the least has an eschatological view in mind with this command… but this view also lends itself to the other potential meaning…
The second meaning, that Paul could be speaking to is to be watchful as Peter uses it in 1 Peter 5:8 in relation to the devil and sin
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Another way of saying this is “be on guard”...
The Israelite army clearly knew their situation...
They had marched to the battle field with weapons and armor...
There was no confusion as the threat that was before them...
Yet, for us… it’s not so clear… we can’t always see it… so we must be watchful...
We must be discerning what we allow ourselves to be influenced by… understanding that even the things we love dearly that contain truth, may contain poison that leads us astray… Col 2:8
Colossians 2:8 ESV
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Nor must we allow ourselves to get caught up in the affairs of this world… 2 Tim 2:4
2 Timothy 2:4 ESV
4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
Not that we don’t care about them… but they don’t dictate our behavior… and they don’t distract us from the mission.
We must be watchful and mindful of what could potentially cause us to take our eyes of the prize… off of Christ and His return...
And if we are so focused on Christ that we become ineffective in politics and this country goes to shambles… so be it… better that than becoming so focused on politics we lose sight of Christ.
Christ is everything! So be watchful...
This takes us to the second command here of “stand firm in the faith”...
It’s hard to be discerning if you don’t know where you stand…
It’s hard to fight a battle if you don’t know where your men are or how to tell friend from foe...
Paul has already mentioned this in the letter… he mentioned back in 1 Cor 15:1-2
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Elsewhere Paul relates this truth in this way… Gal 5:1
Galatians 5:1 ESV
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Phil 1.27
Philippians 1:27 ESV
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
This isn’t happening if Biden sitting in the White House causes you panic… if that’s the case you’re standing firm in American politics… not in the Gospel.
In 2 Thess 2:15 Paul clarifies that this gospel, this faith… isn’t just any gospel or faith… but that of Apostolic origin…
2 Thessalonians 2:15 ESV
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
So, be watchful… especially in the midst of this season… where are you standing? Where is your hope? Where is identity? What battle are you fighting?
And it’s not just with politics… it’s with other false religions as well… you’re not standing firm in the faith if you grab onto another teaching or tradition that is not rooted in the Scriptures… be watchful… test everything… be wise and discerning...
And the last two commands go together… “Act like men” or as some older translations have it, “Play the man” and be strong.
In other words, be mature, or grow up… be responsible, do what is necessary for you to be faithful to the life God has called you to in Christ...
This verse as much as I was reminded of it by Joab’s words here 2 Samuel 10:12… Paul’s words here in 1 Cor 16:13 always reminds me of a particular group of martyrs.
I sent out links in the pre-sermon email discussing the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer and Hugh Latimer… men who lived out 1 Cor 16:13 well… especially Latimer… and in doing so, were burned at the stake for it… I think of them, and a third, Nicholas Ridley, because of the words that Latimer said to Ridley while they both were tied to the stake.
At this time I want to read to you the account of Nicholas Ridley… the man, whom Latimer encouraged to play the man in his final moments.
READ THE STORY
Now, how is a man like Ridley able to live and then die in such a manner? What about Latimer with him?
They lived out 2 Samuel 10:12...
They were courageous against evil
They were courageous for their people, the lost sheep, their brothers & sisters in Christ...
They trusted God… come what may… for His grace is sufficient for them.
In doing so, they lived out 1 Cor 16:13 as well...
They were watchful...
They looked to the promise return of Christ… the day of resurrection
They didn’t allow themselves to be led astray by sentimental traditions that they grew up in, were educated in… they were discerning what was true and was false, and in love tried desperately to get the blind to see the truth.
They stood firmly in the faith...
And this is the key...
For it is this very stance… a stance grounded in truth, ground in the faith that they died....
They were standing in the Gospel… they kept the words of the Apostle Paul close to their heart, the Words of God in Galatians 5:1
Galatians 5:1 ESV
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
They were willing to die…rather than submit themselves to a yoke of slavery again…
And they did...
Rooted in the truth of the Gospel, Ridley, thinking of what is to come and where he was going, was able to play the man, to be strong, to be of good courage…
Likewise...
If we expect to live as we are called to live...
To fight this battle against the powers of evil and darkness… a battle not against flesh and blood, then we must live this way too...
We must be willing to “play the man”… to be strong and courageous… and we can when we look to what lies ahead… if we remember we have eternal life… and what Christ, the Son of God has done for us and promises to do for us...
We do our part, faithfully, and trust God… wherever that takes us… whatever may happen...
Do not let the cares of this world distract you or dictate to you, your faithfulness to God…
If He leads you to a stake, I pray He does not, but if He does, so be it… if He leads you to a life of comforts and prosperity, so be it… if He leads you to a life of hardships and toils, so be it… as long as it is all done in faith.
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