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Toughness 101

a look at tough people in the Bible.

David's Mighty Men

2 Samuel 23:8-12, 15-21

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

1. Do you think it was easy to kill 800 warriors?

2. What traits do you think would be needed to do that?

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 lfled.
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!

1. What would you have done if you were Eleazar and the rest of your army fled?
2. Do you think he had a good excuse to quit? What were some of those excuses?
3. Why do you think he didn't quit?
4. Verse 10 says, “ He killed the Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his
sword.” What do you think that says about his character?
5. How would you feel about the army returning when it was time to collect the
plunder? Why?
6. Are you more like Eleazar or the army who wanted the plunder without the
7. What do you need to fight for in your life?

11Next 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
held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the LORD brought
about a great victory.

1. What in this passage whould you say makes Shammah a leader?

2. Who brought about the victory that day (Verse 12)?
3. How many people did God use to accomplish that victory?
4. Could God use you to accomplish a victory?

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 wel by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But
he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offereing 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 who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it.
These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
1. Would you have risked your life to give someone a drink of water?
2. How do you think these men felt about David?
3. What kind of things could love motivate you to do for your team?

18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty. 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 Thrity and was their commander, though he
was not one of the Three.

1. Why do you think Abishai was as famous as the Three? Was it because of his title
(Commander of the Thirty) or was it because of his actions?

20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a vailiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic
deeds, which included killing two champions 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 a great Eguption warror
who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him
with it.

1. Would you say Benaiah was at a disadvantage when he fought the Egyptian in
verse 21?
2. How did he react to that disadvantage? Did it stop him?
3. How do you react to a disadvantage or obstacle?

Hebrews 11:1, 32-37

1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope fore will actually happen; it give us assurance about the
things we cannot see.

32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of
Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33 By faith these
people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice and received what God had promised them. They
shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire , and escaped death by the edge of the
sword. Their weakness was turned into strength. They became strong in battle and put whole
armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back from death. But others were tortured,
refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the
resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were
chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with
the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and

1. What kinds of things were these people able to accomplish?

2. What kinds of things were some of these people able to endure?
3. According to verse 33, what enabled these people to do this?
4. According to verse 1, what is faith?
5. How can you show faith in God?
6. What would your life look like if you exercised more faith?

2 Corinthians 11:23-27

23 Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I
have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced
death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25
Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I
spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced
danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as
from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have
faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long,
enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I
have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

1. How would you respond to all these difficulties?

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing
this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not
driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down,
but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of
Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

1. In verse 7, Paul says, “ we ourselves are like fragile clay jars.” What does fragile
2. If we are able to break easily, where do we get the power to be tough (verse 7)?
3. How do you think God's power enables us to respond to troubles like Paul talks
about in verses 8 and 9?
4. According to verse 10, why do we go through tough times?

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

7 Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from
becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep
me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times, I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time
he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now i am glad to boast
about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That's why I take
pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for
Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1. Did the Lord take Paul's thorn in the flesh away?

2. What was God's reason for his response?
3. Does God always take our troubles away?
4. How does God usually respond to our troubles (verse 9)?
5. Why does Paul boast about his weaknesses (verse 9)?
6. What difficulties are you facing now? How can you see God's power in those

John 10:18

No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down
when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my father has commanded.

1. According to this passage, who decides whether Jesus lives or dies?

2. Can anyone take Jesus' life?

Matthew 26:53

Don't you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would
send them instantly?

1. Could Jesus stop his torture and execution if he wanted to?

2. Was Jesus a helpless victim?

John 19:1-3, 17-18, 28-30

Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. 2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns
and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. 3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked,
as they slapped him across the face.

17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew,
Golgotha). 18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on
either side, with Jesus between them.

28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29
A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and
held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “ It is finished!” Then he bowed his
head and released his spirit.

1. Why did Jesus choose to endure the pain?

2. How could this help you choose to endure trials rather than run from them?

Luke 24:34
who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”

1. Was the crucifixion able to stop Jesus?

2. Is anything able to stop us?

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