David’s Mighty Men

David’s Mighty Men

Mighty men

“David’s Mighty Men” are real-life superheroes, and their true stories – the kind of stuff typically relegated to mere legend – can be found in both II Samuel 23 and I Chronicles 11-12.  For example, Jashobeam killed hundreds of men with a spear at one time.  When everyone else ran away, Eleazar struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword.  Benaiah took down a lion in the snow, and he killed an Egyptian giant by snatching a spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killing him with it.

However, the qualities and deeds of David’s army can sometimes be unexpected.  Consider those from the tribe of Issachar: “Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…” (I Chron. 12:32a).  Indeed, true strength is not limited to physical muscle.  A place among the mighty men is not reserved for only those who can swing swords, sling stones, and shoot arrows.  Wisdom is needed.  Discernment is highly valued.

In addition, reflect on those from the tribe of Zebulun: “Of Zebulun, 50,000 seasoned troops, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David with singleness of purpose” (I Chron. 12:33).  The English Standard Version uses the wording “singleness of purpose,” while other translations say “with undivided loyalty” and “not of a double heart.”  Later in the text, the Chronicler emphasizes that they “were of a single mind to make David king” (I Chron. 12:38).  Applying this principle, imagine the strength of the spiritual army of God – of the church – if all would have singleness of purpose in making JESUS king.  The church will truly be “mighty” if, in everything we say and do, it is all about Jesus and no one else.

As it turns out, there is a time in the early formation of David’s armed forces when these mighty men do not look so mighty.  They are “in distress,” “in debt,” and “bitter in soul” as they are on the run from King Saul (I Sam. 22:1-2).  Additionally, the Philistines (the enemies of Israel) have seized control of Bethlehem (David’s very own hometown) and placed a garrison there.  In the midst of this anxious and affliction-filled scene, one finds the following:

“And David said longingly, ‘Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!’ Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the Lord and said, ‘Far be it from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.’ Therefore he would not drink it. These things did the three mighty men” (I Chron. 11:17-19).

Can’t you envision the scene?  David is going through a tough time in his life, and he says something like, “Man oh man, what I wouldn’t give for some of that Bethlehem water right about now?!?”  It’s just a random exclamation, but these three men hear their beloved leader talking, and, beyond all reason, they put their lives on the line in enemy territory just to get David some water from that well in his hometown.  What an incredible gesture of love and respect!  When they return, David is absolutely floored. This is a gift he feels that he does not deserve.  It is one he is unworthy to accept.  So instead, he pours it out as a drink offering to God, for only the Lord is really worthy of such sacrifice. 

Truly, this is the kind of thing that mighty men do.  In contrast, so many of us only go when commanded or when we have no other choice.  That is not strength.  It is lame, pathetic, and weak.  The example of these three mighty men challenges us all, and it makes me ask, “Is there MIGHT which can be drawn from the selfless, unprompted act?”  Someone once told me: “Craig, when you are feeling bad about yourself, wallowing in self-pity or self-loathing, you need to go and do something for somebody else.  Give.  Serve somebody.  You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel.”

This is true because there is an energizing strength in service and sacrifice.  Therefore, I challenge you today – especially those who are just not in a good place when it comes to self-esteem or self-worth – do something for somebody else today.  “The random act of kindness.”  “Just because.”  You will find out that Jesus is right about real “might” when He says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

한국어 읽기