Updated: Sep 29, 2021
Reading 1 - 1Ch 11:15-19
"Three of the thirty chiefs came down to David to the rock at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, 'Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!' So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD. 'God forbid that I should do this!' he said. 'Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?' Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it" (1Ch 11:15-19).
"There is something peculiarly touching and beautiful in the above scene, whether we contemplate the act of the three mighty men in procuring the water for David, or David's act in pouring it out to the Lord. It is evident that David discerned, in an act of such uncommon devotedness, a sacrifice which none but the Lord Himself could duly appreciate. The odor of such a sacrifice was far too fragrant for him to interrupt it in its ascent to the throne of the God of Israel. Wherefore he, very properly and very graciously, allows it to pass him by, in order that it might go up to the One who alone was worthy to receive it, or able to appreciate it. All this reminds us, forcibly, of that beautiful compendium of Christian devotedness set forth in Phi 2:17,18: 'Yea, and if I be poured out upon the sacrifice, and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all; for this cause ye also joy and rejoice with me.' In this passage, the apostle represents the Philippian saints in their character as priests, presenting a sacrifice and performing a priestly ministration to God; and such was the intensity of his self-forgetting devotedness, that he could rejoice in his being poured out as a drink-offering upon their sacrifice, so that all might ascend, in fragrant odor to God" (CHM, cited by AW Pink).
There is, perhaps, a New Testament echo of this incident: the "three mighty men" of Christ were Peter, James, and John; like David's mighty men, they desired the kingdom and glory for their master. But the apostles did not really understand that Jesus must first "pour out" his life (cp Mat 16:21-23; 17:4; 19:27; 20:20-23) before he could drink of the cup of joy in his Father's kingdom. So Jesus, who turned water into wine (blood) at Cana (John 2:8), did in fact pour out the "water", or blood, of his own body, on the cross -- like David, he could not drink fully of the joy until he had first experienced the sorrow (Heb 12:2).
Reading 2 - Eze 24:18,19
"So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. Then the people asked me, 'Won't you tell us what these things have to do with us?' (Eze 24:18,19).
"Ezekiel's wife died. His heart was bleeding; but he received orders from his divine Master that he should not mourn, nor weep, nor make any sign of mourning whatever. It was a strange command, but he obeyed it. The people understood that Ezekiel was a prophet to them in all that he did; his actions did not concern himself alone. He was a teacher, not only by his words, but by his acts; so the people gathered round him, and said to him, 'What is the meaning of this? It has some bearing upon our conduct; tell us what it has to do with us.' He soon explained to them that, before long, they also would lose by sword, and pestilence, and famine, the dearest that they had, and they would not be able to have any mourning for the dead. They would be themselves in such a state of distress that the dead would die unlamented, the living having enough to do to mourn over their own personal sorrows. It was a terrible lesson, and it was terribly taught" (CH Spurgeon).
Reading 3 - Luk 21:19
"By standing firm you will gain life" (Luk 21:19).
"Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev 2:10).
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised... we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved" (Heb 10:36,39).
"It is possible to 'lose self' for Christ's sake, and by that very means to gain it. On the other hand, a man may gain great possessions and 'forfeit himself' (Luk 9:25, Moffatt). For encouragement in the trials which would come upon his friends in the days ahead Jesus promised that 'in your patience ye shall win your souls.' Similarly, in Luk 17:33, the one who shrank back for fear of losing his life, was actually losing himself. At the judgment seat of Christ many will be consigned to the second death because they have avoided suffering and in some cases death in an unwillingness to share the sufferings of Christ. But those of faith who for Christ's sake have lost their lives will gain life, and self, for evermore" (John Carter, "Hebrews" 202).