In studying for this weeks message in 1 Samuel 22:1-6 I have been impressed with the quality of people that followed David, the kind of men that 2 Samuel 23:8-39 extols as "David's mighty men". These men became recognized as "Mighty Men of Valor". What kind of men were they?
"Everyone who was destressed, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was disconted gathered to him" (1 Samuel 22:2 NASB).
Did you get that? All of the stressed-out, messed-up, malcontents showed up at David's camp, and began following him. They weren't trying to become "Mighty Men of Valor", they were just trying to escape their situation, and they were looking for someone who would lead them. They all had one thing in common: They wanted out of a bad situation. Chalk it up to David's leadership skills that he was able to meld them into an efficient fighting unit. It's a wonder that David was able to turn this bunch of losers into mighty men of valor.
But here's another wonder: "For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the fooligh things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God" (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NASB). God isn't impressed with beauty, strength, talent and ability. All of these things he can use, to be sure, but they just don't impress him much. He created all of these things. He put together the genetic structure that allows people to be beautiful, handsome, strong, smart and able. But he isn't interested in promoting narcissism in any form. He doesn't require awesome celebrities or powerful people to accomplish his purposes. In fact, it seems that he moves toward the opposite.
Jesus tells a parable about a man giving a banquet for his son. We understand that the parable is about the Master of the Universe giving a banquet for His Son--the Son of God. He invited all the beautiful and influential people, but they started making excuses as to why they couldn't come. So the master said to his servants, "Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame." So they did, and yet there was room. So he said, "Go out nto the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled" (see Luke 14:16-24. Quotations are from the NASB 95 update). He didn't seek beautiful people, but needy people. The truth is, until we recognize that we are needy we probably won't come to him.
Look at the sort of men that Jesus called to be his disciples. Some of them were fishermen, one was a tax collector (which in that culture was a despised occupation), one was a political zealot. All of them were common ordinary men. None of them were highly educated. They were just regular people.
But here's something even more amazing to me. He isn't satisfied to call a bunch of misfits to himself, and surround himself with misfits. One of his disciples, a man called Peter would later write, "And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:4-5 NASB). He went on to say, "But you are a chosen race a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9 NASB). He calls sinners who are in need of a Savior. He brings them to himself, and He transforms them into something amazing. He equips us and prepares us to follow him and accomplish his purposes to his glory. So when people look on and see ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things, they aren't likely to say, "My, what amazing people!" But instead will say, "What an amazing God!"
The Lord My Strength
I love you, O Lord, my strength
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold,
I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
(Psalm 18:1-3 NASB)
Thus begins a powerful Psalm of 50 verses. The sub-title for this psalm reads, "For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the had of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul." It would seem that the historical background for this psalm is David's narrow escape from Saul's army.
We read about the incident in 1 Samuel 23:24-29. Saul and his men were on one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other. David had 600 men with him. Saul had 3,000. David was trying to escape, but Saul had sent out his troops and they just about had David surrounded. David records his recollection of that time in these words, "The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me. The cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me" (Psalm 18:4-5 NASB). David's outlook wasn't good. He was just about surrounded. Saul desperately wanted to destroy David, and it looked like this time he had it done. David writes, "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple and my cry for help before Him came into His ears" (Psalm 18:6 NASB).
David was at the end of his resources. He had tried to escape Saul's relentless pursuit, but it looked as though his plan had failed. Not only was David about to face the punishing wrath of the king, but all of the men who had entrusted their lives to David were about to be destroyed as well. So he did the only thing that he had left to do: He prayed. I don't believe that prayer was ever David's last resort. It was never what he did when all esle failed. He was a man of prayer. Prayer was his first resource, not simply his last resort. But in spite of a life of faithfulness and seeking after God, David found himself in dire straits. So he prayed.
Then there was an interesting turn of events. First Samuel 23:27-28 records, "But a messenger came to Saul, saying, 'Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid on the land.' So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Escape." What a coincidence! David prayed and Saul's well-executed and seemingly successful military maneuver was thwarted.
Have you ever noticed how those marvelous coincidences happen when God's people pray?
Charlos Heights Community Church
230 Russell Dr.
Hamilton, MT 59840
Pastor Del Abbey
Phone: 406 363-2896
Or use our contact form.
God has created us to be worshipers. We believe in a glorious God who is worthy of all our praise and adoration. We see our primary function as a church to be worship. Our goal, every time we meet, is to encounter the living God through worship (which, by the way, is not just singing), praise, prayer and the ministry of the Word of God.
People need the Lord. He sent his Son to die on the cross for us because there was no other way. If it was at all possible for us to get right with God by keeping rules and doing good works, do you think that God would have sent his Son to die? Paul wrote in Galatians 2:21, "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the works of the Law, then Christ died needlessly."* In Ephesians 2:8-9 we read, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."* We are not save by works, but by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6*) So we see our secondary reason for being here to be sharing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A third reason that we're here is to build one another up in the faith. Our ministry is to the Lord, then to one another, then to the world. We believe that we'll never get our outreach (evangelism and service) right until we get our upreach (worship) right.
*Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright (c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Our office is located in the east end of the parsonage on the northwest side of the parking lot. Pastor Del is usually in the study between 7 a.m. and noon Tuesday through Friday and all day Saturday. Please stop by. We'd love to see you.