The Divine Gift of Physical Strength
1 Chronicles 7:2-5
And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel…

It is remarked as being the peculiar trust and endowment of some men that they were bodily strong. They are spoken of as "valiant men of might." In the line of this endowment came their life-mission, and in the use of this trust they would be finally judged. On St. Paul's principle that the "body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body," we are delivered from sentimental undervaluing of our physical frame, and consequent neglect of its culture into health and vigour, or monastic efforts to humble it into a due subjection to the spirit. In view of the relations between bodily strength and religious life, we ought to regard health, vigour, energy of frame, as great gifts from God and, as all Divine gifts are, great and responsible trusts. In the older times physical strength found its readiest sphere in armies and wars. So the vigour indicated in these verses took the form of valour. The modern sentiments concerning peace and war materially differ from those of earlier ages. The modern admiration of peace and horror of offensive war befit a condition of advanced civilization and the tolerably complete division of the earth's habitable countries among the different races and nations. Still, we must fully recognize that war has had its important place in the ordering and training of the world. It has often proved to be the best judgment on, and corrective of, serious moral evils; and so there has always been a place and a work for the "mighty man of valour." On Joubert's principle, "Force till right is ready," the physical restraints of social order must come before the intellectual and moral ones; and in such early times and first stages of national development, physical strength, warlike skill, power of command, and valour, are properly recognized as Divine gifts, and they are as truly such as are the gifts of statesmanship, diplomacy, and arbitration in quieter, more developed, more civilized times. The laws that regulate the use of all our bodily gifts may be effectively illustrated in relation to this one of valour. It may be pointed out:

1. That it may never be used for schemes of personal aggrandizement.

2. That it may act be prostrated to any evil uses, of tyranny or passion.

3. That it is for use in all ways of loyalty, obedience, brotherhood, and piety. And there is still the place and the work for the gift of physical strength, though not so much call for it in armies and battlefields. Great things have been done for humanity by the physical endurance of explorers and travellers, such as Livingstone and Stanley and the members of Arctic expeditions. Great things are done in the saving of life by strong-armed and brave-hearted sailors in our lifeboats, and by firemen in our great cities. Still the demand for manual labour and bodily strength is made, in field and workshop and yard. And though so large a proportion of modern toil is mental rather than bodily, and consequently physical vigour is unduly despised, it remains true that the man of mind imperils his mind by failure to culture his body into strength. It remains true for the intellectual nineteenth century, as for every other, that bodily strength is a gracious Divine gift, which should be treasured, kept, cultured, exercised, and put to all noble and holy uses. Appeal, especially from the Christian standpoint, that Christ expects faithfulness to the whole trust which he commits to us; and holds us responsible for the measure of bodily health and energy we maintain, as well as for the culture of character, mind, and soul which we may gain. "Body, soul, and spirit" together make the living sacrifice, which is our "reasonable service." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father's house, to wit, of Tola: they were valiant men of might in their generations; whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six hundred.

WEB: The sons of Tola: Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Ibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their fathers' houses, [to wit], of Tola; mighty men of valor in their generations: their number in the days of David was twenty-two thousand six hundred.

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