Lesser known characters :: Aeneas


Acts 9:32-35 records of an account in which a man named Aeneas is healed of his palsy (paralysis). The account states that Peter, an apostle of Jesus, came down to the saints who lived in the city of Lydda and there he found a man named Aeneas, who had been a paralytic for eight years. The Scripture states that Peter found Aeneas and Peter told Aeneas, Jesus Christ, makes you whole, now rise up and make your bed. Aeneas does rise immediately and those in Lydda and Saron who saw Aeneas turned to the Lord.

What can we learn from Aeneas?
The name, Aeneas, which means “to praise” is of Greek and Latin in origin. But the bedridden and paralytic life of Aeneas was far from any reason for him to have to praise his Creator. From the account, we learn that it was Peter that found Aeneas, when Peter goes to the saints that dwelt in Lydda, which implies that Aeneas was either in the presence of the saints or was connected in some manner to the saints that dwelt there. Peter also explicitly qualifies that it will be not by him or by any other means, but by Jesus Christ, that Aeneas will be made whole and asks him to rise and make his bed. Aeneas had the option to doubt Peter and the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ and not do as he was told, but the Scripture states that Aeneas rose immediately which is a testament of his faith in Jesus Christ. The end result of this miracle was that all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron (two cities) saw Aeneas and turned to the Lord. The implicit and immediate faith of Aeneas brought about salvation to all in not one but two cities.

When we are asked to rise up and be made whole, can we implicitly trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who can make us whole and immediately obey. Immediate obedience is praiseworthy, since by doing so, not one but two who observe us, may be saved!

Acts 9:32-35 (KJV)
32
And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.
34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.

Lesser known characters :: Adino


Adino was one of David’s three chief warriors. The other two were Eleazar and Shammah. He was a chief among the captains. He once lifted his spear against eight hundred whom he slew at one time (2 Samuel 23:8). Adino was a loyal soldier of king David. Once, during harvest time, when David was in the cave at Adullam, the Philistines had their garrison in Bethlehem and pitched their troops in the valley of Rephaim (giants). David desired to drink from the well of Bethlehem. When Adino and the other two heard of the kings desire, they fought the army of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem and brought it back to David. David equates the water to the blood of Adino and the other two warriors and refuses to drink it because these men jeopardized their very lives for fulfilling the desire of their king. (2 Samuel 23:13-17)

What can we learn from Adino?
We must be like Adino, willing to go behind enemy lines, breaking through the troops of the enemy (the devil), even if it seems gigantic, jeopardizing our lives to fulfill the desires of the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. It is the God’s desire that none perish (2 Peter 3:9). In other words, it is God’s desire that all drink the living water that flows from him, the God who made himself of no reputation and took the form of a man, born in Bethlehem, so that all may have life, life abundant and eternal.

2 Samuel 23:8, 13-17 (KJV)
8
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

13
And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

Lesser known characters :: Abner


Abner, was the uncle of king Saul (1 Samuel 14:50). He sat by the king’s side (1 Samuel 20:25). In his allegiance to the Saul, after Saul’s death (2 Samuel 1), when David is anointed king over Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-7), Abner makes Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth the king over Israel (2 Samuel 2:8-11) which results in a long war between the servants of David and the house of Saul (2 Samuel 3:1). During one of the wars, Abner kills one of David’s nephew, Asahel, the brother of Joab and Abishai. Abner warned Asahel twice to turn away and not pursue him, but when Asahel does not heed, Abner kills Asahel piercing him with a spear under the fifth rib. Abner grew strong in the house of Saul (2 Samuel 3:6), but when Ish-bosheth, whom Abner had made king over Israel, questioned Abner’s sexual fidelity to the house of Saul, accusing him of fault concerning Saul’s concubine Rizpah (2 Samuel 3:7), Abner was angered and sought to make a league with king David, recognizing that the Lord was with David (2 Samuel 3:9-18). He was willing to turn over the kingdom of Israel to the house of David and David agrees to be at peace with Abner, sending him away. But Joab and Abishai, hear of this truce and call Abner back to where David was and Joab takes Abner aside, when he comes,  and smites him under the fifth rib and murders Abner, without David’s knowledge. At Abner’s funeral, David laments for Abner and refers to Abner as prince and a great man who had fallen in Israel (2 Samuel 3:38).
David called Abner a prince and a great man when Abner was dead and when he was alive, David had called out to Abner referring to him as a valiant man, and expressed that there was no one like Abner in Israel. But, at that point, David also stated that Abner was worthy of death. (1 Samuel 26:16). This is because, Abner, whose responsibility it was to guard the LORD’s anointed Saul was sleeping on his job and this endangered the life of Saul, since David and Abishai entered Saul’s camp and could have easily killed Saul.

What can we learn from Abner?
When we are assigned the responsibility to keep God’s anointed (people or possession), we cannot be sleeping on the job! Doing so is worthy of death.

Lesser known characters :: Abiah and Joel


Abiah was the second son of the prophet Samuel. His older brother was Joel. Both Abiah whose name meant “The Lord is my Father”, and his brother Joel were appointed to be judges by their father, Samuel, to succeed him, but they were both evil and walked not in the ways of the Lord. They were driven by greed for money and took bribes, perverting justice, which was not in accordance to how the judge of a just God should conduct themselves. So when Samuel, appoints his own sons, Joel and Abiah as judges over Israel, the elders of Israel gathered together to meet with Samuel at Ramah and told him that since he was old and because his sons were not following in the ways of the Lord as did their father, they would rather have a king appointed to judge and reign over them. While on the surface, this may seem like a simple and much needed request, the undertow of how serious this request was, is only evident from what God tells Samuel as a response to the request of the people for a king. God tells Samuel that the people’s request was in essence not a rejection of the judgeship of Samuel but a rejection of the kingship of the Lord (1 Samuel 8:7). God’s reign over his people was being rejected by his own people (1 Samuel 8:7). The was the start of the decline of Theocracy (reign of God) and the beginning of Monarchy (ruling by a king) in the history of the Israelites.

But what triggered this? The answer is in the Bible. Samuel’s age was no doubt a factor. He was becoming an old man in age, but more than Samuel’s age, the elders of Israel had no confidence in the ways of Samuel’s wicked sons, Joel and Abiah, which is what they express (1 Samuel 8:5). Imagine for a moment, if Abiah and Joel were followers of the way of the Lord as did their father Samuel. If this was the case, it is highly likely that the people may have continued to let the Lord reign over them through his prophets as they did so during the times of Samuel.

What can we learn from Abiah and Joel?

  1. As parents, we must watch out for our children so that they are not far from the Lord. The warning is clear and evident, as we observe the life of Samuel, Abiah and Joel; “Even children of God’s own prophets (missionaries/pastors/preachers/teachers/evangelists etc) can be far from the Lord.”
  2. When justice is perverted, people draw away from a just and Holy God and turn toward seeking human lordship and justice over divine.
  3. Wickedness in us can lead to the rejection of the Lord and His kingship by the people around us.

1 Samuel 8:1-7 (KJV)
1
And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
3
And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
4
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5
And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
6
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Lesser known characters :: Abishai


The middle name of our beloved son Reuben, is Abishai, meaning Gift of God the Father and this name was chosen from the account given of a man recorded in 2 Samuel 23, in the Bible. But who is this Abishai in the Bible?

Abishai was the nephew of king David. He was born to Zeruiah, David’s sister (1 Chronicles 2:16). David had other nephews and nieces, but it is Abishai who is called out and referred to as the one who was most honorable than even the mighty men of David (2 Samuel 23:19).

Abishai was a man of war; a military captain. Abishai avenged the death of his brother Asahel and killed Abner (2 Samuel 2:18-24; 2 Samuel 3:30). He killed 18000 Edomites in the valley of salt who warred against the king (1 Chronicles 18:12), and was made captain for having raised his spear and killing 300 men, who were enemies of David (2 Samuel 23:18; 1 Chronicles 11:20). Abishai was no doubt a man of war, but he was no ordinary man of war. He led the armies of David, courageously and valiantly, but what is interesting is that he recognized with his brother Joab, that the result of their battles were not because of their doing, but because the outcome was, as God would will for God’s own good (2 Samuel 10:10). In essence, he was engaged in battle, after submitting to the will of God.

He was given a third of David’s men (2 Samuel 18:2) and entrusted by David, the king himself, on some of David’s most personal conquests; not to lay hands on Absalom, David’s son, who revolted against his father and king (2 Samuel 18:5,12) and to pursue Sheba, the son of Belial, the son of Bichri, lest he escaped (2 Samuel 20:6).  He could not stand it when someone revolted against his king, for when Shimei, the Benjamite, from the house of Saul hurled curses on king David, Abishai sought to go and kill Shimei whom he refers to as a dead dog (2 Samuel 16:5-14) and even when Shimei repents of his sin of rebellion against the king, Abishai is still fervent in avenging the LORD’s anointed king, who had been shamed (2 Samuel 19:21).

It is recorded of Abishai that he was most honorable than even the mighty men of David (2 Samuel 23:19), but his claim to fame did not come as a result of his relationship association with a king, but because of his honorable service to the king. Abishai was willing to die for his king. When king David asked, “Who will go with me, into the enemy camp (the camp of Saul)?”, it was Abishai who first responded and accompanied king David, behind enemy lines, right into the camp of Saul. There Abishai is restrained of his fervor to fight and kill for his king, because David admonishes him not to raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 26:6-9).

What can we learn from Abishai?

  1. We must be willing to fight for our kin and be engaged in spiritual battle, only after submitting to the Lord, for his will to be done.
  2. We must be willing to serve the Lord, in such a manner, that God can entrust to us, the most personal of his requests; be it to protect his family or to pursue the sons of Belial.
  3. We must be fervent in stopping anything and anyone who brings shame and dishonor against God’s people and his anointed (if it has not been allowed by God himself).
  4. We must be willing to go behind enemy lines and be willing to die for our King of kings and Lord of lord; for Jesus Christ.

Can God say of you and me, “He/She is more honorable than any of the others soldiers in my army?”

References:

  • Abishai was the nephew of king David. He was born to Zeruiah, David’s sister (1 Chronicles 2:16)
  • Abishai slew eighteen thousand Edomites who warred against his king, in the valley of salt (1 Chronicles 18:12)
  • Abishai partnered with his brother Joab, and led the armies of the king against the kings enemies (Syria and Ammon), valiantly and with good courage, submitting themselves to the will of God (2 Samuel 10:10-14; 1 Chronicles 19:11-15)
  • Abishai was a military leader who was appointed captain of David’s mighty mighty men, for with a spear, he killed 300 men who were enemies of the king (2 Samuel 23:18; 1 Chronicles 11:20)
  • Abishai was the man who offered to go behind enemy lines with his uncle David into the camp of Saul and was willing to kill Saul, in his loyalty to David (1 Samuel 26:6-9)
  • Abishai with his brother Joab, pursued Abner and avenged the death of their brother Asahel, whom Abner had killed in battle (2 Samuel 2:18-24; 2 Samuel 3:30)
  • Abishai was entrusted a third of David’s men and entrusted to deal gently and not touch Absalom (David’s son) who had revolted against king David (2 Samuel 18:2,5,12)
  • Abishai was the one who offered to go and kill Shimei, a Benjamite (from the side of Saul), when Shimei hurled curses on David (2 Samuel 16:5-14). Later Shimei repents and seeks David’s forgiveness, but Abishai had not forgotten Shimei sin against David (the Lord’s anointed) and wishes to seek revenge by killing Shimei (2 Samuel 19:21).
  • Abishai was charged by king David to pursue Sheba, the son of Bichri; a son of Belial, lest Sheba find himself fenced cities and escape them (2 Samuel 20:6)
  • Abishai was a man of whom it is said that he was more honorable than even the fighting mighty men of king David (2 Samuel 23:19)

Discipleship Series :: The Continuation


Jesus said, that one must, continue in the word of God to be his disciple (John 8:31). The word ‘continue’ is used in the context of the word ‘abide’. To abide is to be implanted or grafted. We must be like branches grafted to Jesus, The Vine. We cannot be a disciple of Jesus and not be part of him or let him not be part of us. But how can we know if we are abiding in Jesus or not? The answer is “fruitfulness”. When we abide in Christ Jesus, we shall bear much fruit (John 15:8); the fruit of the Spirit. Our life will be fruitful. In other words, it will be filled with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, against which there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Point(s) to ponder:
If we are disciples of Jesus, are we implanted with and in him and bearing much fruit of his Spirit?

John 8:31 (KJV)
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

John 15:7-8 (KJV)
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Discipleship Series :: The Compassion


How can one tell if you are a disciple of Jesus or not? The short answer is “love”. In fact, Jesus expresses, that all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another (John 13:35). But what kind of love must this be? The answer is given by Jesus as well. We must love one another as Jesus loved us (John 13:34). But what kind of love is this that Jesus loved us? He loved us with love that is greater than great love, for great love has one, who is willing to lay down their life for their friends, but while we were still sinners (enemies, not friends of God), Jesus loved us and gave his life for us. In like manner, we must have compassion and  be willing to lay down our lives (i.e., be selfless) for one another.

Point(s) to ponder:
Are you a disciple of Jesus? or in other words, “Do you have compassion?”; “Are you willing to lay down your life for the other?” The same are the questions, I ask myself.

John 13:34-35 (KJV)
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.