We are coming to the big finish of our sermon series, Chase the Lion, based on the book by Mark Batterson.
We have been learning about chasing God-sized dreams, scary dreams, scary as chasing a lion, dreams that
are so much bigger than we are that they cannot be accomplished without divine intervention, without God’s
help. This cannot be any old dream. It is a dream that is given to us by God. These can be personal dreams or
group dreams. We’ve been looking at the dreams of King David and his Mighty Men to create a united nation of
Israel under one king. What they would do has lasted to this day, 3,000 years later. You can think of it in a couple
of different ways. There is the continuation of the Jewish people, but it is also through Judaism that we receive
Jesus. We are here as Jesus followers or people who are investigating Jesus. We are the descendants of what
David and his Mighty Men accomplished.
Now, I would like you to get out your Bibles, and we are going to be doing something a little different today. We
won’t be reading this whole passage aloud, but I would like you to look at it. It starts at 2 Samuel 23:24.
2 Samuel 23:24-39 NIV
24 Among the Thirty were:
Asahel the brother of Joab,
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem,
25 Shammah the Harodite,
Elika the Harodite,
26 Helez the Paltite,
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa,
27 Abiezer from Anathoth,
Sibbekai the Hushathite,
28 Zalmon the Ahohite,
Maharai the Netophathite,
29 Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite,
Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin,
30 Benaiah the Pirathonite,
Hiddai from the ravines of Gaash,
31 Abi-Albon the Arbathite,
Azmaveth the Barhumite,
32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite,
the sons of Jashen,
Jonathan 33 son of Shammah the Hararite,
Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite,
34 Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maakathite,
Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
35 Hezro the Carmelite,
Paarai the Arbite,
36 Igal son of Nathan from Zobah,
the son of Hagri,
37 Zelek the Ammonite,
Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah,
38 Ira the Ithrite,
Gareb the Ithrite
39 and Uriah the Hittite.
There were thirty-seven in all.
You will notice that it is a list of names. That’s one of the reasons we are not reading it aloud. Not one of the
most engaging texts, but that doesn’t make it any less important. It is a listing of the rest of David’s Mighty
Men. We have met several of them already: Josheb, Eliezer, and Benaiah, The one who chased the lion into
the pit on a snowy day, which is how this whole series got started.
Then there are these thirty. All of them joined this cause with David that was bigger than themselves. In a way
the list is like the signers of the Declaration of Independence. These were people who were rebelling against the
injustice of King Saul. It is important to see who they are. Some of the names may seem obscure, perhaps most,
but after John Hancock, how many signers of the Declaration of Independence can you remember?
There were 56.
So, look at this list and think of the sacrifices they made. They were doing it for the generations that came after
them. We are their beneficiaries. Then notice the last name on the list at verse 39.
“And Uriah the Hittite. There were 37 in all.”
Interesting, Uriah was one of David’s Mighty Men. Think about that for a moment. If you are not familiar with
him, hang on. We will be coming back to him.
How many of you are familiar with Guinness beer or have at least heard of it? The brewery was opened in Dublin,
Ireland on December 31, 1759. It is situated on a 4-acre piece of land. The location was great as it was situated at
the western entrance of the city. Not only that, but it was next to the place of an annual fair were lots of people
would want to drink beer. However, that is not why Arthur Guinness chose that location. He knew that Ireland’s
Grand Canal was scheduled to be built right next to the brewery, so he would have an easy way to ship and
distribute his beer far beyond Dublin.
One other thing, Guinness didn’t buy the property. He leased it. That sounds like a good sense with a new
business, but he didn’t lease it for 6 months or a year or two. His lease was, or should I say is, for nine
thousand years! he put down £100 and agreed to pay £45 per year. Even for 1759 that seems like a pretty good
Why did Guinness want 9000 years rather than 5000 or 10,000? Who knows, but one thing is for sure. He was
in it for the long term. The business has had a philosophy over its 259 years, “consider long and act quickly.”
This is a good idea, and something that David’s Mighty Men had to do before joining a rebel force. If they failed,
it wouldn’t only be David who would be in trouble. All their lives would be on the line. Thinking long and hard,
but then acting quickly.
As Mark Batterson says, “One of the biggest mistakes we make is thinking in terms of one generation. It’s not
only short-sighted; it is also selfish. We think that what God does for us is for us. And it is, but it isn’t. It is also
for the third and fourth generations. We think right here, right now. God is thinking nations and generations.”
(Chase the Lion, 189-90)
What are you doing today that will make a difference one hundred years from now? With this we are talking
about a blessing that will continue to the third or fourth generation at least. As it says in Psalm 78:6:
So the Next Generation would know them, even the children yet-to-be-born, and they in turn would tell their
Back in 1914 there was a young man named Ben Mahn in Jeannette Pennsylvania. He would preach to anyone
who would listen. Soon a church was formed meeting in a room over a butcher shop. In five years, they were
moving into their first church building.
Not too long after that a teenager by the name of George Wood came to know Christ through that church. By 1932
George and his wife Elizabeth were on their way to China as missionaries. They shared Christ as best they could,
and while they were there they had three children including their youngest also named George.
By the time that the Christian missionaries were forced out of China, George Wood, Senior had built the church
up to two hundred people. When the Wood family left, this Chinese congregation was forced underground.
Finally in 1983, the church was able to be a little more open. This congregation resumed with a Chinese pastor
who had worked with Wood and resumed with 30 members. When the pastor died in 2004, there were 15,000
The pastor was asked how it happened. The 96 year old man said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today,
and forever, and we prayed a lot.”
There is no way that Ben Mahn in Jeannette Pennsylvania knew that when he started preaching that it would
result in the church flourishing in Qinghai Province China.
We can think of the upcoming generations, but truthfully we have no idea of how far the ripples of our actions
That is the message of Abraham. God promised him more offspring than stars in the sky, (Genesis 15:5) more
than there were grains of sand on the seashore. Abraham and Sarah didn’t have their one son, Isaac, until he
was one hundred and she was ninety. The ripples of that still continue today. It is a promise that is still being
Elizabeth Wood, missionary wife, would tell her son when he got upset, “Now Georgie, it won’t matter 100 years
from now.” Elizabeth’s original statement is great because it helps us keep things in perspective and focus on the
things that are important. But, what if we turn that statement around? What we do will matter 100 years
from now. God is paying attention to what is happening in our lives today, but at the same time God is
considering generations ahead. We won’t be able to see it, but other people will benefit from our faithfulness
As much as we like to think of the early church is a group of people who had it all figured out, they were just as
prone to squabbling over who is right or better. In the early Corinthian church, different groups quarreled
whether they should be following Paul or Apollos. Paul explained that they were all parts of a process, links
in the chain, that are controlled by God. In I Corinthians 3:5-7, Paul writes, “What after all is Apollos? And
what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
I planted the seed – Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is
anything, but only God who makes things grow.”
We can even know that what we are doing is important, but we don’t know where God will take it, 100, 1,000
years from now.
Elizabeth Fry came from a socialite family in 19th century England. She was one who saw the troubling way that
prisoners were treated as well as the plight of the homeless who are dying on the streets. Those were two
gigantic lines that she chased.
She spent a night at Newgate Prison and was horrified by how the women were treated. Children were in prison
with their mothers. They had no opportunity for schooling, so Elizabeth formed a school. She also formed the
British Ladies’ Society for the Promoting the Reformation of Women Prisoners. It was the first nationwide
women’s organization in Britain. She had several meetings with Queen Victoria both before and after she was
queen. Victoria also provided financial support to Elizabeth’s causes.
In 1819, Elizabeth came across the body of a boy who had frozen to death. Soon after there was a shelter for those
in need in London. The model was used all over Britain.
In 1840, Elizabeth did the thing that may have had the most far-reaching effect. She founded a school for nurses.
This program inspired Florence Nightingale to volunteer to help during the Crimean War after her course in
Germany. There are so many ways that we are beneficiaries of the work that Elizabeth did and the dream she
What we do will matter 100 years from now.
Few of us know much about our great-great-grandparents, but their decisions have incalculable influence over
our lives. Did my great-great-grandfather see the Russian Revolution coming and encourage my great-
grandparents to emmigrate to the United States? I’m definitely a Heinz 57 person when it comes to my ancestry:
a little Russian, little Finnish, a little German, a little English, a little French. If just one of my ancestors had made
a different decision, I wouldn’t be here today. The same is true for you and your ancestors. But each one of these
ancestors tell a story. When we see the genealogies in the Bible, we can get lost in the list of names. Half the time,
if not more, we can’t even pronounce them, but they tell the story, the story of God’s people. They tell our story.
Matthew tells the story of Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, Son of David. There are 42 Generations in Jesus’
genealogy recorded in Matthew.
There is a strong connection in two places with our story of David in the Mighty Men. “Jesse the father of King
David,” and “David was the father of Solomon whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.” (Matthew 1:6)
You may be aware that after David had been king for a while, he committed adultery with Bathsheba. To cover
it up he had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed. The plot twist is that Uriah was not some random
person in David’s army. He was one of the Mighty Men, one of the people who helped David obtain the crown
and realize God’s dream of uniting the Israelite people under King David. Then David used that crown to betray
Even with all of that, God still had Jesus born into that family line. Out of the worst mistakes and heartbreak God
still produces miracles. It wasn’t the first time, and it was far from the last time.
Several years ago, Nicole Poindexter was out of work at the beginning of the new year. As she was figuring out
next steps, she wanted to make it a productive time. One of her New Year’s resolutions was to read the Bible from
start to finish. Nicole had so much time and was so absorbed by what she was reading that she finished it by the
end of the month.
There is a benefit to looking at and contemplating individual verses of Scripture in detail, but there is also the
excitement of seeing the thread of the narrative and the constant thread through Scripture by reading a book
of the Bible, or the whole thing, right through.
Nicole bonded with God’s promises in a whole new way. She could see God’s hand in her life including this time
at home. During this time she started researching solar powered electricity as a potential business in Africa. Soon
as she was on her way to Ghana.
She said, “On the last day of the trip, it was Ghanaian Independence Day, and I was asked to stop in at a prayer
service for the country. As I watch the room full of people praying, I realized that it was easy to make this dream
about me and my success, but I knew that God brought me to Ghana to be a blessing to them.” (Chase, 49)
Nicole is living out the first verse she memorized after becoming a Christian from Genesis 12:1-2. “God said to
Abraham, ‘Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to a land I will show you… I will bless
you… And you will be a blessing.'”
In 2015, the village of Affulkrom got electricity and changed the lives of 125 people. In 4 months and 4 more
villages the total reached 750 people. Electricity provides so many opportunities from communication, to
education, to health care, including refrigeration for medicines. What will that region look like 100 years
What is your God-sized dream? The invitation to chase the lion is not merely some words. It is a call to be part
of and participating in the adventure of God. It is good to pray for God’s protection, but God is also the one “who
goes before us, the God who fights for us!”
Jesus didn’t die just to keep you safe. He died to make you dangerous.
You are a lion chaser!
Do what you were made for.
Chase that lion!
Chase the Lion is going to be our theme for this year. As we close the sermon today let’s read the Lion Chasers
Manifesto together again.
- Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
- Run to the roar.
- Set God-sized goals.
- Pursue God-given passions.
- Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
- Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
- Stop repeating the past. Start creating the future.
- Face your fears. Fight for your dreams.
- Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go.
- Live like today is the first day and the last day of your life.
- Burn sinful bridges.
- Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.
- Don’t let what is wrong with you keep you from worshiping what is right with God.
- Dare to fail.
- Dare to be different.
- Quit holding out.
- Quit holding back.
- Quit running away.
- Chase the lion!