Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The King's Army (1 Chronicles 11:10-47)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Well, let's turn our attention now to the book of First Chronicles, first chronicles, chapter eleven. I'm going to begin reading in Verse Ten and Read Through Verse Twenty Five. So Verse Ten through Twenty Five. Now, these are the chiefs of David's mighty men who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king according to the word of Jehovah concerning Israel. This is an account of David's mighty men. JASS Obeam, a Hatchmanite, was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against three hundred whom he killed at one time. And next to him among the three mighty men was Eliezar, the son of Dodo the AHOHITE. He was with David at pass Damim when the Philistines were gathered there for battle. There was a plot of ground full of barley and the men fled from the Philistines, but he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and killed the Philistines, and Jehovah saved them by a great victory. Three of the thirty chief men went down to the Rock to David at the Cave of odlum where when the Phillistine when the army of the Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim, David was then in the stronghold and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem, and David said longingly all 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 Jehovah 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. Now Aby Shai, the brother of Joe AB, was chief of the thirty, and he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three. He was the most renowned of the thirty and became their commander. But he did not attain to the three, and Ben and I are the son of Jehoiadah was a valiant man of Kabbazil, Cobb zeal, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two heroes of MOAB. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit. On a day when snow had fallen, he struck down in Egyptian man of great stature, five cubits tall. The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver's beam, but ben and I a went down to him with a staff and snatched the spear out of the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. These things did. Ben And I, the son of jehoied and won a name besides the three mighty men. He was renowned among the thirty, but he did not attain to the three, and David set him over. His bodyguard, God bless his word, please be seated. Well, these are...

...some pretty amazing stories, aren't they? These mighty men of David? I'm they're a little bit buried, aren't they? In in the Bible. These are stories that were used to thinking about when we think of David, for example, killing giants and lions, defeating enemies with just a little bit of weapons, weapon power. But here we read of these mighty men, of David, these men that God provided him, and were reminded about a theme in the Bible that we might consider tonight, this theme of soldiers, of armies, of serving the king. If you're a Christian, let me ask you this question. What are the various ways that you think about your life as a Christian? There are many. Perhaps you think of yourself as a child adopted by God, obedient and to him, loved by him. Perhaps you think of yourself as a light reflecting the glory of God as he shines in you. Perhaps you think of yourself as a business man or a steward, a person investing the gifts God is given you to increase them and please your master. Well, these are all true, and there are many more. Another way to think about our lives is as a soldier. Revelation thousand nine hundred fourteen, for example, says that on the day of the Lord, the bride of Christ, clothed in the robes made wipe by his blood, will ride with the Lord as his army and strike down as he as he strikes down his enemies and even before the day of the Lord, we are told in Ephesians, Chapter Six, verses ten through twenty, that we should daily put on the whole armor of God, being strong in the Lord...

...and in the strength of his might, UN walk in his ways, to fight the battle, to be strong and courageous. On this passage tonight, God helps us to understand who we are as his soldiers and what it means to fight in the strength of his might, and he does this by telling them, telling us about David's mighty men. And what we'll see is that just as a he, just as God equipped these mighty men to fight for King David, God has also equipped you to fight for King Jesus. So first let's begin at the beginning of this passage. In verse ten, we read that now these are the chiefs of David's mighty men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king according to the word of Jehovah concerning Israel. Well, these verses, these various phrases, these clauses, remind us of what we've learned so far. In Chapter Eleven, that God had anointed David as King over Israel, and had done so long before the people ever decided to anoint him as king. You remember, back at the beginning of chapter eleven, with people say. They say, and Jehovah, your God, said to you you shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over my people Israel. There's a kind of anointing ceremony that happens there, as the elders make a covenant with him, as all Israel gathers around their king, and they do so all according to the Lord. So David, in a sense, has been crowned, anointed as King. Then in the next passage we read that he secures the capital, Jerusalem, in a marvelous victory. He takes the city, but again we are reminded that this is because of the Lord David we read in Verse Nine, became Greater and greater, for Jehovah of...

Hosts was with him. This phrase, Jehovah of Hosts, God of hosts, Lord of hosts, as a way of speaking about our God, who has many armies, hosts of armies, and so speaks even in terms of as David rules and commands and is strong, he only does so because God is with him. So he has been crowned, he has a capital, but he still has work to do. A sense, he has been made king, but there is a kind of establishing of that kingdom that still needs to happen, and that's why our passage speaks about these mighty men working with all Israel to make him king. It's not as though he needs to become king again or that he sort of slipped somehow, but it speaks in a way of establishing that kingship, not just in Jerusalem, not just with his people, but in particular overall the Philistines, over the people in the land. David had work to do, and this kind of work was not exactly it was not the temple work and some of the building projects that his son Solomon would take up, but it was bloody work. It was the work of war. God had commanded Saul to take care of the Philistines, to send them out of the land, much like Joshua began to do, and the judges did as well. Israel, at various points throughout this whole history, after Moses, continued to fail at this task. Successes in some ways, victories in some ways, but many failures as well. Finally, Saul is established as king and there is some hope that this one, who has been commissioned to this task, would do the job. But he did not.

Saul, like David, was anointed and saw, like David, was called to establish that kingship. Saul failed to do that. Over and over again we see saul turning away from the Lord, turning away from the commands that he had been given. Now it was David's turn. God had replaced Saul on the throne by this king who is to do his work. God had given this hymn this task to do and he promised David that he would do it through him, that he was established his kingdom and his name forever. Not this point, I'll just pause very briefly and remind you all of something that we forget, that when God promises to to do something in us, when he calls us to do something, he always provides the means to do that. This something we often forget. It's something Saul often forgot. God gave him a call and he often felt like God would not provide the means to do that. The philistines were strong, the Philistines were powerful, the Philistines had more weapons. The PHILISTINES had giants. Many, many reasonable reasons, but ultimately unreasonable. If we remember that God is a God who provides, we must remember that in our lives, as we live them, the things that God has called you to do, whatever spetificate, particular thing you might think of God, God is providing the means for you to do it. And so is the case with David and what God provides him in particular. Many, many things. But here the focus is on these mighty men, these mighty men who are mighty in many different ways. Let's think about some of those. First of all, we see that they are strong.

These are they are strong and what seems to be an almost superhuman way, and perhaps it is a superhuman way, they do these great heroic deeds that you can hardly imagine anyone accomplishing. But of course we're reminded throughout that it's because of the Lord that they did them, that they were strong because of him, because of what he was doing. Throughout we, throughout this passage is were reminded of God's provision. The focus always comes back to dot, always back to God, even as we might hear the story and think, wow, what an amazing man. Immediately we hear that it was God working through him, God winning the battle. Nevertheless, think for a little bit about the instruments that God uses here, think about how strong they are. The first example we have is Jashobeam, who wields a spear against three hundred and he kills them at one time, probably not meaning instantly, but in the one battle he takes them all down. Honestly, I can't even imagine what that would look like, how that would happen. It seems well, it is amazing. We have another story, then, of Eliezar, the El yet AISAR, who, in the midst of not only great strength of the Philistines who had gathered there for battle, but in the great fear of his brothers in arms, while everyone's fleeing, while everyone is running away, Elias are, stands there in the middle of the field and defends it and kills the Philistines. One mighty man is missing here. We're not scholars, aren't sure why that is. It could be that he's am considered under...

...this second one. Elias are, because we have these plural words, and the Lord saved them by a great victory. Another possibilities. It's a scribal error as the author was looking at the passages and second samuels jumped his eyes and we just are missing the bit from the original text in the texts we have today. But either way we have before us these three mighty men that God is giving and gives to David and reminds us of his victories through them. But beyond these particular three there's yet another class of men, also very amazing, but yet not so amazing somehow that he will say and make these comments that they didn't quite attain to the three, which is amazing considering, for example, verse twenty, Abby Shy, the brother of Joe Ab, the chief of the thirty. So this other class of men. He wield his spear against three hundred men and killed them and one a name beside the three. He was the most renowned of thirty, became their commander, but did not attain to the three. So even these mighty men, in some ways there's a classes of mighty men, mighty men on top of mighty men. We read of the striking down of this Egyptian, five cubits, seven and a half feet tall, held his hand a spear like a weaver's beam, Ben and I ah comes at him with a staff, somehow snatches the spear out of his hand and puts him to death. You see that these men are strong, very very strong. We also read that they are are skilled in battle. This same Ben and I ah, we read in Verse Twenty Two that one day he went down and struck a lion in a pit,...

...on a day when the snow had fallen. Again, when we're reading quickly through the passage, these things might be easy to skip over, but consider what that would mean for a moment. The fighting, or I should say hunting, of lions was a great sport of the King's, especially in the ancient Near East. There's pictures of kings doing this kind of thing and in various places and inscriptions and descriptions of them doing this. And here this kind of kingly activity of hunting lions is ascribed not to the king, but one do if the king's servants. I'm not to make David lesser but in some ways to make him greater by showing these mighty men. And one of the ways that they would do this is they would dig a pit, somehow lay this trap, a lion would fall into it, they'd capture it with a net and then would jump down in the pit and defeat the lion. This would, I imagine, be a difficult task. I've never done anything even remotely close to this, but notice the little detail that's added. Not only does Ben and I do all this, but he does it when the snow has fallen. As a one commentator I read, I'm forgetting who, but he said, well, while other men are sitting close to the hearth, Ben and I is out there in the snow capturing lions. You imagine the difficulty of having good footholds and all the rest inta doing a task like this. Nevertheless, they're strong, they are skilled. I'm later in chapter twelve will read of the Benjamites who were able to sling a stone with the right or the left hand. These descriptions go on and on. But perhaps even more importantly than them being strong and then being skilled, these mighty men...

...are also fiercely loyal, at least at this point, to their king. And there are all kinds of ways that this story will get qualified later on. The faithfulness of the king, for example, is undermined when we read, I didn't read it to you tonight, but in verse forty one. We read of these mighty men and one of them is named Ariah, the hittight, and we know was greatly sinned against by David and likewise on some of these men will sin against him. But here that picture is somewhat idealized for us and it's showing us who these men were, particularly at the beginning of the history. They were strong, they were skilled and they were fiercely loyal. The best example of that comes from this small story. In Verses Fifteen through nineteen, we read that there was a Philistine, a group of Philistines, or the army of the Philistines, rather garrison, that were encamped there at Bethlehem. You remember that David was from Bethlehem, and David is says longingly in verse Seventeen, Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem, that is by the gate. Now many commentators, especially the ancient ones, spent a lot of time, spend a lot of time looking at this verse and considering the difficulties that we have with food and hunger and desires, not controlling our appetites. But I think something different is going on here. It seems to me that David is is not necessarily requesting something but, as it says, he's longing for something. He sees his hometown run over by the Philistines and he sort of want longs for...

...a taste of home, we might say, a sense of home, even victory over home. He expresses this, this expresses this thing, not necessarily asking for it. But what happens? What's the response? Three mighty men, in their loyalty to David, break through the camp of the Philistines, draw water out of the well of Bethlehem and bring it back to David. This is not about a victory necessarily. This is about showing loyalty to their commander, isn't it? They love David so much that they're willing to risk their own lives for something that's maybe a silly request, just a bit of longing for home. And they say will do it, and they go and they're victorious, says these mighty men tend to be, and they bring back David this water. But David, recognizing their loyalty and in thankfulness for it, does a very wise and loving thing. He doesn't drink it, which I think in some ways would perhaps make him look like something of a tyrant making and risking making his men and risk having them risk their lives for just a cup of water. But instead, and neither does he throw it away and say hey, I didn't ask for this, what is this for, and again waste their their work. Instead, he takes the drink and he pours it out to God, he makes a sacrifice salad of it, he dedicates it to Jehovah, who is the one who is giving them victory in all of this anyway, and says, far be it from me, before I god that I should do this. Shall I drink the life blood of these men, for, at the risk of all their own lives, they brought it. Therefore, he would not drink of it. These things did...

...the three mighty men. So, you see, to go back to the the original thought, David has a task to do. David is King and God is equipping him with an army, in Army led by mighty men that are courageous, that are strong, that are skilled and very, very loyal to their king. Well, this teaches us about our own position to Jesus. Jesus also has battles to fight. Jesus also has been crowned as king you remember that when Jesus died on the cross, that wasn't the end, was it? He rose victorious over sin and death and was and even ascended to the right hand of God. This great sign of victory which he did in his glory. We read in various places of scripture that this is exactly what this meant. We read in Colossians, for example, that in Jesus is death on the cross, in his ascension, in his victory. In this way he became a king and ruler over all powers and authorities, principalities. But this victory that Jesus achieves on the cross in a sense going up to Mount Zion, ruling over it, taking it from the stronghold of Satan. It's a victory that has to be brought to completion, and so even today there are battles that are still going on. You might think about the spread of the Gospel, the conquering of people's hearts, the putting away of sin and blindness. You might think of him doing that great work that Solomon did of building up the temple, of establishing the worship of God through the...

...people of God. You might consider his complete victory over evil to come when all of Satan and those who love him will be a cast forever and bound and banished forever and ever. These are the kinds of battles that are still going on and the kind of a battle that is to come on the day of the Lord. And just as Jesus has these battles to fight, God has given him instruments to do this work. Not that Jesus is dependent on them in some way, that he would somehow fail if they weren't given to him, but God, in his great wisdom, gives Jesus an army, hosts, you might think, for example, of the angels. Let me read a few verses from Matthew, Chapter Thirteen. In Matthew Thirteen versus forty and forty two. We read of the last days. We read Jesus says the harvest is the close of the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the close of the age. The son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all lawbreakers and throw them into the fiery furnace in that place where there will be weeping and Nashing is nashing of teeth. God has given to Jesus this great hosts, this these mighty armies. But among these hosts are included his people. The beginning of the sermon I quoted from a revelation, Chapter Nineteen and all. Let me read it to you now. The revelation nineteen. Verse Fourteen, we read that the armies of Heaven, a raid in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. Well,...

...who are these armies? A raid in linen and lighting on white forces will just previous US Lee? In Verse Eight, we read that it is the bride of Christ. It was granted her to clothe herself with white linen, bright and pure. In other places we read of robes of white being given to the saints, Robes that are made white by being washed in the blood of the lamb. Well, these armies of Heaven, arrayed in fine linen, these saints of the Lord, he goes on to say and describing in phrases reminiscent of Psalm. Too, from his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the wine press of fury, of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of Lords. You see how God is describing for us the Great Day of the Lord, this great king, this great and powerful king, riding forward conquering the nations and as we know from Matthew and as we see from revelation, that he is flanked by angels and Saints Doing His bidding, powerful and mighty. All of this, these things that are pictured here, are given in earthly terms in first chronicles. These pictures of David going out to the Philistines and conquering these enemies of the Lord with these mighty pet men equipped by the power of God. Well, all this reminds us of something very important that I said at the beginning. It means that you are equipped, just as these mighty men were, because of Jesus and who he is, because of who we are in connection with him, as his bride, as his body, as his army.

It means that his victory is our victory. It means that when God has placed us in him, he has given ev US everything we need to fight those battles, both now in our lives here as pilgrims, and on the last day, on the day of the Lord. We think of these mighty men and wonder at their great strength. Wonder at your own strength. Be Amazed at the miracles God does in you in bringing forth the fruit of holiness, in putting to death sin and evil desires. You think of his disciples going out into the world, risking their lives and indeed even giving their lives for the sake of the Gospel. But that work these particular mighty men. It extends beyond that. It extends to each and every one of us, whom God has equipped, whom he has given to us strength and guaranteed victory even over death. And so, with that we consider his words in Ephesians. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and, having done all's to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened the belt of truth, having put on the breastplate...

...of righteousness and his shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one, and the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the spirit, with prayer and supplication to that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for the Saints. You are mighty man. Indeed, in many ways you are even mightier than these men described here in first chronicles eleven, because you don't just defeat flesh and but blood, but you put out the flaming darts of Satan himself. You fight against great cosmic powers of evil and when this is who you are and this is how God has equipped you, so fight alongside the Lord Jesus, knowing that victory already belongs to you. It means that you can be brave courageous as you fight your enemies, Sin and death and the evil one. And you can be brave too, as you remember that your weapons are not real swords and or I should say physical swords and physical shields, but they are truth and righteousness and holiness and the truth of God. You can be brave, for example, and powerful in extending grace, in forgiving someone who is hurt you, in seeking the Lord for the resolution of conflict and unity and communion in the church. It means that when you...

...fight your personal sins and temptations, that you can be strong in Him who has equipped you, because just as the Lord had fought for David and for these mighty men, he also fights for you. And in that strength, in his strength, seek to grow in these skills, not in hand to hand combat, but in the war of the soul. And Ask yourself, are you growing stronger? Are you becoming faster? Are you becoming more adept and wise to the wiles of the enemy? If not, then seek the Lord. He will teach you, he will strengthen you, he will equip you, because you belong to his armies. And in all this, let us pray that God would help us to remain fiercely and intensely loyal to him, to be willing to do anything he asks at the drop of the hat. At the drop of a hat, at the slightest request, let us go and serve our Lord with gladness and courage and strength. May God grant these things to us, his soldiers. Let us pray.

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