“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, ESV
I have always loved the stories of King David’s mighty men found within 2 Samuel 23. From defeating enemy troops singlehandedly to traveling under the cloak of night behind enemy lines to retrieve a drink of water for their King, the daring deeds and brave exploits of the mighty men have always captured my attention and challenged my heart. Especially this one - the story of Shammah.
It takes place in a field of lentils. Most would look at the field and see no value in it. Why fight for beans? Why defend this ground? What made this farmland worth their lives? The men with Shammah saw no reason to stay. They ran hard and fast from the enemy, surrendering the ground before the fight even began. But Shammah didn't. Shammah stayed. To him, this wasn't just about lentils and the bowl of bean soup they could make once harvested - this was about the ground that He was to keep for the King. He had not been told to leave his post. He had not been commanded to station himself anywhere else. This wasn’t just ground. This was his ground. And knowing that this was the place that the king had planted his feet, made it worth dying for.
Years ago, as I read Shammah’s story, God spoke nine words to me that I will never forget. He said, “Niki, your kids are your lentils. Fight for them.” I realized in that moment, that I too had been given ground to keep for the King. My home was my bean field. Motherhood was not to be seen as just a drudge through the ordinary for me. God wanted me to see it as kingdom work and live each day for His glory.
Isaiah 61: 1-3 tells the story of God's people whom He set free, dusted off, clothed, and anointed. In verse three He calls them "oaks of righteousness” and tells them that they have been planted (which in the original Hebrew means "put in place") by the Lord for the display (the showcase and exhibition) of His glory (splendor and magnificence)." He wanted them to know that wherever He had put them in place – they were there not by accident, but on Kingdom assignment. And when they believed that and walked in that reality, God knew that they would approach their everyday ordinary differently. We will do the same.
When we believe and embrace that our lives matter and that we are here on purpose - we will no longer see the place where He planted our feet as a useless "bowl of beans." We will see it as our God-given ground. We won't let the enemy take it. We won’t cower or run. Silence will no longer be an option. Our prayer times will draw battle lines. We will boldly share the good news of Jesus. We will mother differently, wife differently, manage differently, teach differently, friend differently, pastor differently, and serve differently...because it won't be for nothing anymore. It will be for His Kingdom. And the people He had placed within their lives? They will be our lentils.
· Take a moment and list all of the “bean fields” that God has placed your feet in during this season. This can include schools, jobs, sports teams and volunteer positions.
· Now, take a moment to list some of the people – the “lentils” – that God has placed in your life during this season.
· Do you feel that you live your life intentionally and “on purpose” in the places and relationships God has planted you in? Why or why not?