From 1 Chronicles 12-14
More and more warriors are joining David’s band of brothers. They are specially gifted for their role. God is calling them and inspiring them to loyalty in his anointed Christ. They all want to see him made king. In the gospel Jesus calls all to come and follow him. Join his army so to speak. In today’s post I will call upon you to come and follow Jesus.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
David has been anointed king and more and more people join his band of warriors. Today we have a look at his ‘mighty men’.
12 Now these are the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he could not move about freely because of Saul the son of Kish. And they were among the mighty men who helped him in war. 2 They were bowmen and could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand; they were Benjaminites, Saul’s kinsmen.
3 The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, both sons of Shemaah of Gibeah; also Jeziel and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; Beracah, Jehu of Anathoth, 4 Ishmaiah of Gibeon, a mighty man among the thirty and a leader over the thirty; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad of Gederah, 5 Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite; 6 Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korahites; 7 And Joelah and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor. (1 Chr 12.1-7)
The author refers back to when Saul was alive and trying to kill David. Clearly at that stage people would be reluctant to join David, even though he was anointed and predicted to be next in line. But even then they joined his forces. They recognised who he was.
Would you find it hard to declare allegiance to the messiah when you may be persecuted for it?
Some of the warriors who join David are gifted with ambidexterity. They can use bows and sling stones with both hands equally.
8 From the Gadites there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors, expert with shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were swift as gazelles upon the mountains: 9 Ezer the chief, Obadiah second, Eliab third, 10 Mishmannah fourth, Jeremiah fifth, 11 Attai sixth, Eliel seventh, 12 Johanan eighth, Elzabad ninth, 13 Jeremiah tenth, Machbannai eleventh. 14 These Gadites were officers of the army; the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand. 15 These are the men who crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it was overflowing all its banks, and put to flight all those in the valleys, to the east and to the west. (1 Chr 12.8-15)
The warriors joining him come from various tribes. Once again being included in the list is a matter of pride. But they had a dangerous job which required sacrifice.
‘The least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand.’
They crossed over the Jordan. The event is repeated a number of times in Israel’s history. Always marking new beginnings.
16 And some of the men of Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to David. 17 David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.” (1 Chr 12.16-17)
Even people from the tribe of Benjamin want to join David. This comes as a surprise because Saul was from Benjamin. Of all the tribes, they would be the most likely to oppose David. So David questions their loyalty.
18 Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said,
“We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.”
Then David received them and made them officers of his troops. (1 Chr 12.18)
The Spirit clothed Amasai and he recognised God was with him (cf. 1 Cor 12.3)
Amasai responds favourably and assures David of his sincerity. The Christ needs brave and loyal men for his cause.
Near the end of the chapter the author expresses the intentions of all who joined David’s army.
38 All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king. (1 Chr 12.38)
And David was made king, King over all Israel.
“Like gathers to like—the brave to the brave, the good to the good. It is human nature at its best which recognizes and rejoices in superiority. Homage and obedience should be freely rendered where they are justly claimed and truly deserved. Observe the qualities and exploits of these sons of Gad who gathered to David and offered him their swords. They were men of might, bold as lions, swift as eagles; men skilful in the use of their weapons, apt for war, brave in danger, “good at need;” men whose deeds were in the lips of a nation, memorable and unforgotten. We may discern in the qualities of these valiant Gadites the qualities which (mutatis mutandis) should characterize Christians as the soldiers of Christ and combatants in the ‘holy war.’ (Spence-Jones, H.D.M. ed., 1909. 1 Chronicles, London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
In the gospel, Jesus bids us to come and follow him.
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.”
So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him,
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (Jn 1.35-51)
Jesus followers are not quite the warriors described in Chronicles. But Jesus is about to break their hearts, train them, teach them to be brave, show compassion and be humble.
- The soldiers of the cross are devoted to their commander,
- The soldiers of the cross are qualified by Jesus for the conflict, and
- The soldiers of the cross are used by God to perform mighty deeds.
Christ calls upon every hearer of the gospel to enlist under his banner.
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