and Zadok, a valiant young warrior, with 22 commanders from his own family.
A right joyous scene was that described in the concluding verses of this chapter, Never, probably, in the three and thirty years of his subsequent life did David sit down to his table in the royal palace at Jerusalem with so much gladness of heart as he did this day at Hebron. Never, probably, did the thousands of Israel gather at such a jubilant assembly as when they met "to make David king," and were with him "three days eating and drinking" (vers. 38, 39). The event justified their joy. They had every promise of national peace, prosperity, security. They were on the eve of a new era, in which their race would take a position and enjoy a heritage to which it had long looked forward, which had been long delayed, but which should now meet and crown their brightest hopes. They had four elements of strength; four sources, therefore, of satisfaction.
1. Large numbers. (Vers. 24-37.) "Six thousand eight hundred; seven thousand one hundred," etc. - in all more than three hundred and thirty thousand.
2. Discipline and equipment. The bands were "ready armed" (vers. 23, 24, 37, 38); many were "mighty men of valour" (ver. 30); many were "expert in war" (vers. 33, 35, 36).
3. Enthusiasm. "They were not of double heart;" they were undivided, single- minded, thorough (vers. 33, 38).
4. Wisdom. For they were doing the right thing for their country's we] fare; they were acting "according to the word of the Lord (ver. 23). Here was the strongest of all reasons for congratulation and joy, the surest pledge of national prosperity. That there may be joy in the Israel of God," in the Christian Church, that there may be a sense of assured victory and of security, there need be these four elements of strength; they are all of value, though not of equal worth.
I. THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST. A great multitude of men may be of very little account; a miscellaneous assembly is not an army. Nevertheless, it is better that the people of the Lord should be counted by thousands rather than by hundreds. There is more heart to praise God when the church is filled than when it is scantily attended. Many labourers are better than few in the harvest-field of Christian toil (Matthew 9:37, 38).
II. THERE IS GREATER STRENGTH IN DISCIPLINE AND CONSEQUENT PREPAREDNESS. Ten men well armed and "expert in war" will do more than ten times their number unarmed or ill armed and without knowledge of the way to strike; this is true in moral as well as in material contests, in Christian effort as well as in the "science of war." Christ has need, not only of those who, untrained, do the best they can at the moment, but of those also who, by careful discipline of mind and heart, have "bought up the opportunity," and can do well - can speak nobly, can devise skilfully, can execute admirably in the day of conflict.
III. THERE IS EQUAL STRENGTH IN ENTHUSIASM. Not to "have a heart and a heart" (ver. 33, margin), but to be of one undivided mind, one fixed, ardent, resolute soul; to be fired by an earnest purpose; to be eager for the work; to be inspired by an impelling, exalting devotion to the great King; - this is the source of power; this will carry everything before it. And yet is there one other element of more essential moment still.
IV. THE GREATEST SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND SECURITY IS IN A WISE OBEDIENCE, Everything will fail, however large the number, careful the culture, fervent the spirit, if there be not the "doing of the will of the Father who is in heaven" - if the commandment of Christ be disregarded. "Should it be according to his mind," it will be well; otherwise the brightest hopes will disappear in the darkness. In all our projects, methods, enterprises for the extension of his kingdom, we must proceed "according to the Word of the Lord" (ver. 23). Then will the issue be like that at Hebron on this gladsome occasion. We do not feast now as then, "three days eating and drinking," but we have, or may have, our joyous times, when the work and the will of the Lord are done, when a sense of unity and security is in the soul, and we look forward to a bright and victorious future in the service of the Son of David. - C.
I.INTELLIGENCE is required.
And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David.
I want to run a parallel between the case of David and that of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I. HERE IS A VERY COMMENDABLE EXAMPLE. Many of these men of Judah and Benjamin went to join themselves to David.
1. Because they bad heard that he was the Lord's anointed If Jesus be God's anointed, let Him be your beloved.
2. Because of his personal excellences.
3. Because he was so misrepresented and abused by his enemies.
4. Because they believed that he had a great future before him.
II. A. CAUTIOUS INQUIRY. See what David said to them.
1. He set before them the right way; He said, "If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you." Here are three questions —(1) Do you come to Christ and accept Him?(2) Do you come with a desire to maintain peace among your Christian brethren?(3) Do you come with the intent of helping the Lord Jesus Christ to spread abroad His truth?
2. He set before them the wrong way: "But if ye be come to betray me to my enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it."Some betray the Lord Christ to His enemies —
1. By giving up the doctrines of the gospel.
2. By their inconsistent lives.
3. By apostasy.
III. A CORDIAL ENLISTMENT. "Thine are we, David, and on thy side," etc.
Man is not an independent being. He is dependent for his life, his thought, his feeling — dependent upon God his Creator and his Preserver. He is dependent for the comforts and conveniences of life — dependent upon his fellow-men. And he that seems perhaps to be the most independent amongst us, is after all the most dependent upon his fellows. Man was never made to be independent here. He was never made to be alone. Some such circumstances as these gave rise to the peculiar position of the son of Jesse, as we read of him in the text. David was then combating against a twofold enemy — Saul, the king, his predecessor in office, and the Philistines, the hereditary foes of Israel. Let us mark the concurrent circumstances of these times. David's cause was not the winning side when these secessions broke off from the strength of Saul and attached themselves to the cause of the son of Jesse. He was as yet in point of numbers and of strength in a very small minority. He was not in power; and, so far as human appearances went, he was very far from power. Every appearance was against him. He himself, though the captain of a band, was a fugitive. And Saul was in power, for Saul was king. David is possessed of but scanty resources, but Saul can command the ways and the means and the supplies of a kingdom. And yet these men come, and they volunteer their services to the son of Jesse. They came not to the throne of one that rules, but they came to the cave of one that hides himself. No marvel that David should have suspected their proper aim, and should have inquired, inquisitively, as to the motive of their coming, as to the object of their visit in this the day of his distress and of his darkness. And this accounts for his inquiry in the verse preceding my text. We would learn from this text the value and the estimate to be set upon Christian co-operation. The downcast and the down-trodden may be rallied by a sympathising word, and may be aroused; and thus arise to his work and to his labour from the very consciousness that he is not altogether alone. Christian co-operation was given to Elijah. The assurance that God one day gave the Tishbite, that there were still seven thousand men who had not bowed the knee to Baal, mightily reassured the prophet. And when we come to inquire into the circumstances of this case a little further, respecting David, we are enabled to find out what was the kind of help, the quality of the help that he obtained. This may be judged of by considering the time in which the help was vouchsafed. As I have said, it was not in the time of his prosperity, but it was some time anterior to that, and in the time of his greatest adversity. Now, it is a law, or axiom, a practical law, that those men are most to be trusted in prosperity that have stood the firmest in the day of adversity. And verily, in practice, these men receive the reward of their fidelity. These men came and chose not the winning side; but there was a mark about even that declining interest — "Thy God helpeth thee." That decided the question. If God be for David, what can Saul do against him? "If God be for us, who can be against us?" God is not forgetful of your work and labour of love which you have showed toward His name. Mark, for instance, His twelve — His chosen ones. They had attached themselves to the person of the lowly Jesus, when there was no mark of distinction, of royalty, of kingly power: at His call they obeyed. Never were there purer days in the Christian faith than when the Christian faith was persecuted. Thus was it with David's auxiliaries: they looked not to the present adversity, but to the future glory. "Thy God helpeth thee," was sufficient as an indication of what would be. These were powerful men. Their faces were like the faces of lions; bold as a lion; "and they were as swift as the roes upon the mountains." They were able to ford the depths of Jordan at its full, and in its overflowing, and to rout their enemies to the east and to the west. Truly, with such auxiliaries, David might well thank God, and take courage. But this was not all. His hopes begin to brighten, his prospects begin to look up. Day after day added its gradual increase to his army, until by and by it became a mighty host like unto "the host of God." That is what the Scripture says. Each tribe sent its proportion. Thousands, tens of thousands, flocked to the standard of David, and enlisted in defence of the cause of the son of Jesse, until well-nigh half a million of men may be counted, from the enumeration of our context, as having resorted to his cause. This, from beginnings small, but good; this, from incipient stages scanty, yet hopeful. And all these men are well spoken of. They were "mighty men of valour"; they were "ready armed"; they were "famous throughout the house of their fathers"; they were no anonymous helpers, but it is said they were "expressed by name to come and make David king." And the value of that help was great because it was a right hearty help — such a help as we need, such a help as is indispensable if we are to be helped at all. We want no halfhearted men, but we want men of God — they are the best, they are the surest, they are the safest, they are the most and the longest to be depended upon. Our experience of human helpers has been a chequered experience. Some that began with us have not continued; some from whom we expected much, perhaps, have broken down midway, departed from us, and went not with us to the work; some that promised nothing, and from whom we expected nothing, have been the most ready, and have been the foremost to come and say, "Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers."
II.COURAGE is required.
III.UNITY is required.
IV.ENTHUSIASM is required.
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