David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. – I Samuel 22:1-2 NKJV
I want to look at something closely, friends. Let’s look at what the Word of God says about this man who was after God’s own heart and the kinds of people that were gathered unto him:
“everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him“.
And let’s see what the Word of God says about Christ:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV
If there is a crowd gathering around us, what kind of crowd is it, friends? Is it a crowd of needs?
Do we realize this is the “type” that God builds armies from?
Let’s see what the LORD does with these 400 distressed, indebted, and discontented men:
Then they told David, saying, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors.” Therefore David inquired of the Lord , saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?”
[Note the truthfulness about their own fear – these are not outwardly proud men who are truly cowards inside. No, these men have taken true and honest assessment of their own abilities.]
Then David inquired of the Lord once again. And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. – I Samuel 23:1-5 NKJV
Do we realize that a leader does not need an army that is mighty and unwavering when the leader INQUIRES OF and is OBEDIENT TO THE LORD? Do we realize that victory rests in the true power of the LORD, not in the deception of the perceived strength or weaknesses of mere men?
And David doesn’t just expect victory, He continues to inquire of the LORD:
Now it happened, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he went down with an ephod in his hand. And Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. So Saul said, “God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” Then Saul called all the people together for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. When David knew that Saul plotted evil against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will deliver you. ” So David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah and went wherever they could go. Then it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah; so he halted the expedition.
I Samuel 23:6-13 NKJV
I’m sure David might have wanted to just speak victory and see it come to pass, but doesn’t the LORD tell him what would come to pass if he stayed. David wasn’t intent on speaking his own will into existence. No, both his experiencing unexpected victory with this band of unlikely soldiers, and his escaping a sure defeat came from him “inquiring of the LORD”. He didn’t say, “LORD, you must give me victory for your name’s sake!” But instead, He sought to know and obey the will of God, giving God all the glory and all the credit for both the victory over the enemies of his neighbor, and the deliverance from his own.
David didn’t grumble about why he was having to run from his own enemies while the LORD was using him to overcome the enemies of others. No, he was seeking to trust in the LORD and walk in obedience, whatever the apparent cost of the moment, He knew that God’s plan was greater and more perfect than His own best of intentions.
Yes, when we bear one another’s burdens, when we build up and equip one another for the work of the Kingdom, when we look past our own selfish desires, concerns, and anxieties to be used to serve the needs of those around us, we can see these dead bones rise up as a great, redeemed and restored army:
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. – Galatians 6:1-10 NKJV
The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord , and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God , You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord ! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord .” ’ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God : “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God : “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord , when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord , have spoken it and performed it, ” says the Lord .’ ” – Ezekiel 37:1-14 NKJV
My sheep do not need long horns of their own,
For the trumpet of the LORD is their horn,
Christ alone Cornerstone is their standard,
The Most High God and the name lifted above all names is their banner,
And they shall not see defeat,
Because their leader, their teacher, their LORD,
is King of Kings and LORD of Lords,
And He is the Word of God,
And He shall go forth to accomplish everything He is sent for,
And all things shall be made new,
The old shall pass away,
And the new is revealed,
HE IS RISEN!
HE IS ALIVE!
HE IS VICTORIOUS!
THE ENEMY IS DEFEATED!
HE SHALL RULE OVER THE NATIONS WITH AN IRON ROD!
FOR HE IS HOLY!
HE IS MIGHTY!
HE IS WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE, GLORY, AND HONOR!
AND WE ARE WHAT WAS ONCE HIS SMALL, RAG TAG ARMY,
BUT THAT IS WASHED BY THE BLOOD,
FED BY THE WORD,
STRENGTHENED BY THE SPIRIT,
AND RESTORED TO ALMIGHTY GOD’S PURPOSE AND CALLING.
SEE HIS MIGHTY POWER AT WORK IN YOUR LIVES, CHILDREN OF GOD!