Posts Tagged ‘glioblastoma’

2 Samuel 23:8-39 (Part 2 of 2)
David’s Elite Warriors

Glioblastoma. It was a word until yesterday that was not a part of my vocabulary. I did not even know that it was what caused the death of Senator John McCain a couple of weeks ago. Now, it is a part of our family’s vocabulary. The preliminary diagnosis of yesterday’s MRI is that glioblastoma is what is afflicting my 79 ½ year old father.

He had a mini-stroke two and half years ago in 2016 and at that time they saw a little tiny abnormality in his MRI then but no one was too concerned. My dad recovered from that pretty well. His speech patterns returned to normal. His mind got back to its quick-witted pace. He just moved a lot slower after the mini-stroke but, hey, he was 77 so…you are naturally going to move slower. However, here in the last six weeks his mental and physical state declined rapidly. Forgetfulness. Confusion. Bazaar behavior began cropping up. My stepmom, Sharon (my dad remarried about two years after my mom died in 2010. A romance of two who had lost long-time spouses to death), said that he would get stuck in memories of the past as if they were current events. He began to be unable to dress and bathe himself. All of these bazaar and peculiar behaviors, confused and nonsensical conversations, and detachment from reality came to a head this weekend. So much so that she had him transported to the emergency room to get more assistance from the medical world than she was getting from dad’s neurologist. During that visit, they decided to do an MRI. That scan revealed a large gray mass in his brain. The neurologist on-duty at the hospital, a long-time doctor, told my stepmom that his professional experience tells him that the mass is a glioblastoma cancerous mass. This type of brain cancer is really aggressive. It had grown from a pea size in 2016 to a noticeably large mass in 2-plus years. They will do a biopsy today (which means drilling into his skull near the mass and inserting a probe to analyze the mass and take tissue from it) to confirm the diagnosis. If it is true (which it most likely will be), the prognosis is not good. Typical sufferers from glioblastoma last 12-24 months after diagnosis. Due to its location, there is no real significant surgery that can be done. The only treatment is chemotherapy and radiation. There are about 5-10% of patients that have lived well beyond the typical 12-24 months but it is not common. There is a really small percentage that have fully recovered. At my dad’s age and state of general health, I am just not sure his body is up to the challenge.

All of that said and having shed a few tears over my once ten-feet-tall-and-bullet-proof-dad, it got me to thinking about my dad’s legacy. What is that? What will be said of my dad? His legacy I think is that he was a pastor first and foremost and that (now that I am in full-time ministry) he has two sons in full-time ministry. My brother has been a full-time pastor for thirty something years now and I am now (since 6 ½ months ago) a full-time pastor myself. You can say what you will about my dad. He was a flawed man for sure. But bottom line, his legacy is me and my brother. That will live beyond him. We grew up in it. My brother accepted it. I fought against it but eventually went into the “family business”. That’s the legacy.

That was the thought that came to mind when I read about David’s mighty warriors this morning in 2 Samuel 23:8-39. That thought being leaving behind a positive legacy, leaving behind disciples, is what we are all about as those who are the children of God:

8 These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite,[a] who was leader of the Three[b]—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.[c]

9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah[d] held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.

15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 17 “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men[e] who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
David’s Thirty Mighty Men

18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty.[f] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty[g] and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.

20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[h] from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[i] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.

24 Other members of the Thirty included:

Asahel, Joab’s brother;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
25
Shammah from Harod;
Elika from Harod;
26
Helez from Pelon[j];
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
27
Abiezer from Anathoth;
Sibbecai[k] from Hushah;
28
Zalmon from Ahoah;
Maharai from Netophah;
29
Heled[l] son of Baanah from Netophah;
Ithai[m] son of Ribai from Gibeah (in the land of Benjamin);
30
Benaiah from Pirathon;
Hurai[n] from Nahale-gaash[o];
31
Abi-albon from Arabah;
Azmaveth from Bahurim;
32
Eliahba from Shaalbon;
the sons of Jashen;
Jonathan 33 son of Shagee[p] from Harar;
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
34
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah;
Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh;
35
Hezro from Carmel;
Paarai from Arba;
36
Igal son of Nathan from Zobah;
Bani from Gad;
37
Zelek from Ammon;
Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
38
Ira from Jattir;
Gareb from Jattir;
39
Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all.

In this passage, we see that David’s legacy is not the mistakes he made. David’s legacy will be the love that he had for the Lord and the organization that he left behind that served Israel as a whole nation for another 40 years after his death. He left behind disciples that loved him dearly and carried on the quest for excellence that David instilled in them and the love of God that David taught them and lived out in front of them. Sure, David was flawed and sometimes just morally out of bounds completely but that’s not the legacy that we remember. We remember the love of God. We remember the strong nation that he built and handed over to his son, Solomon.

That’s the legacy that my dad will leave behind – my brother an me. We will carry on the family business of ministry in his honor. We will carry on his insatiable thirst for knowledge about God and theology. We will carry on his desire for excellence in what you do. We will carry on his love for Jesus Christ that he lived out in front of us.

What legacy will you leave your children?

Amen and Amen.

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