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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Strong as Iron

Today’s Verse:

Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man. ~2 Samuel 19:32


The name “Iron Man” refers to a fictional, comic-book hero who was always at the right place at the right time for others. It is a term that refers to a man who is sturdy, strong, and steadfast. Our devotion this morning is about a lesser-known man who came to the scene at a critical time in the life of David. This man’s name is Barzillai. Barzillai’s name means “iron.” We want to see how Barzillai is an encouragement for each of us to be men and women who can be used of God as he was.

We see his special renown.

We are told that he was a Gileadite. He came from a rich heritage of godly and courageous men whom God used. His heritage included men like Jephthah and Elijah. Gileadite men were mountain men who learned to live in the wild, deal with the harsh outdoor elements and wild beasts, and fend off ancient enemies. He was also a man eighty years of age when he is first mentioned in Scripture. He was a man who led a consistent life of devotion to his king and was there for his king when he was needed most.

We see he is a source of relief.

The first mention of Barzillai was during a very discouraging time in David’s life. David had escaped an uprising led by his son Absalom. He and the people who left with him brought very little sustenance with them and faced possible starvation. Barzillai came with two other trusted friends and, together, provided great relief to David and the people who came with him. At the neediest time in David’s life, Barzillai appeared and was a blessing to David.

We see his surprising refusal.

David invites Barzillai to return with him back to Jerusalem and to allow David to care for him. David is returning as king and desires to repay Barzillai for his special kindness. Barzillai refuses David’s invitation on the grounds that he is too old to return with David and that it would be better if he spends the remaining days of his life in the land of his fathers. Barzillai does not seek the king’s favor for his personal gain. Instead, he is graciously given the opportunity to live the remainder of his days in his own homeland. Barzillai is a man of unusual unselfishness.

We see his servant-replacement.

Barzillai sends his servant Chimham to return with David. Chimham is a younger man. He is the best servant Barzillai has. In sending him with David, he is allowing a much younger man the opportunity of serving the king and giving him the best years of his life.

So, what makes Barzillai someone worthy of our consideration? He is a selfless man who places others before him. He embodies a man looking for the needs of others so that they benefit, even if it means his own setback. Barzillai is not presented to us as someone who is seeking his advancement but the advancement of those God has placed in his life.

Are you someone God can use as a Barzillai? Someone whose life purpose is to be a blessing even if it takes second place to those around you?

Have a serving God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Job 18-21

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