1 Chronicles 11:10-14, 20-47
These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel…
We may learn from this record of gallant exploits and of the names of David's mighty men -
I. THAT NO MAN, HOWEVER GREAT AND WISE, CAN DISPENSE WITH THE CO-OPERATION OF OTHERS. David's elevation to the throne was largely due to his own character and to his own deeds. That was noble and winning; these were great and worthy. But he could not and would not have become king over all Israel, had not these mighty men "strengthened themselves with him... to make him king" (ver. 10). And though the power and glory of his long reign were, to a great extent, the product of the king's own wisdom, valour, and loyalty to Jehovah, yet the deeds of his mighty men had much to do with the triumphs he won and the power he wielded. No Christian leader can accomplish great things without an active following on the part of brave and true men, who "strengthen themselves with him." Around the illustrious men whose names are household words and who wrought great things for Christ and for the world, there were gathered others, less in moral and spiritual stature than they, whose names were unwritten or have faded from view, but whose co-operation ensured success. All who would accomplish much must know how to surround themselves with others who will second their work and sustain their hands.
II. THAT MEN MAY SERVE A GOOD CAUSE ANIMATED BY VARIOUS MOTIVES. It is impossible to suppose that all those who "strengthened themselves with David... according to the word of the Lord" (ver. 10) took their part, then and afterwards, solely on the ground that they were thus carrying out the Divine will. Doubtless they had their personal ambitions. The court at Jerusalem was not without its rivalries and jealousies. The mighty men were no doubt stirred to more daring deeds because they hoped to "have a name among the three" (vers. 20, 24), if not the" first three" (ver. 21); or among "the thirty" (ver. 25), if not the three; or to be counted among "the valiant men of the armies" (ver. 26). In our Christian warfare we should be actuated by the very highest considerations - by the love of Christ and the love of man. we may also be affected, may let our zeal burn more steadily and brightly, by considerations less lofty than these - by the desire to gain the approval of our leaders, by the hope of a large reward, etc.
III. THAT MEN MAY DEDICATE THEIR PHYSICAL PROWESS TO THE SERVICE OF GOD AND OF THEIR KIND. The worthies whose deeds are here recorded were rendering a not unimportant service to their race. The reign of David had a certain serious bearing on the whole plan of Providence. It was, perhaps, an essential link in the whole redemptive chain. In this light the exploits of these heroes, who helped to place David in regal power and to sustain him on the throne of Israel, formed a contribution to the work of God and the redemption of man. The tendency of our nature is to overestimate such brilliant feats as those of this chapter (vers. 11-14, 20, 22, 23). But it is possible, by a reaction of thought, to under-estimate them, and even to deny them a place in the account of honourable service. Physical prowess has served and yet may serve the cause of truth, righteousness, wisdom.
IV. 'THAT USUALLY IN OTHER WAYS THAN THESE GOD ASKS AND ACCEPTS OUR SERVICE. Now, in these Christian times, it is
(1) by moral rather than by physical courage;
(2) in obscurity rather than in distinction;
(3) with the sword of the Spirit rather than with the sword of steel, that we are to win victories and render service to our Lord. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.
WEB: Now these are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who showed themselves strong with him in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of Yahweh concerning Israel.