Wednesday, March 01, 2006

David's Mighty Men

David's Mighty Men

Sermon Outline
Power Point
By Larry Rouse

At the end of King David’s life the Holy Spirit tells us of thirty-seven men. These thirty-seven were described as “David’s mighty men” by God Himself (2 Sam 23:8, 39). At the time of David’s death when these men were recognized, some of them had passed from this life having fallen in battle. By making this list God wanted all of us to know that King David, described by God Himself as “the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob”
(2 Sam 23:1), did not accomplish these great things alone.

Have you ever had a close Christian friend? I pray that all of you can answer in the affirmative and that in fact you may list many names of those who have stood beside you in the fight for righteousness. What David found in the support of his mighty men, other righteous men everywhere have also sought in their service to God. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

How did these mighty men come to be a part of the life of David? From the scriptures we learn that it had nothing to do with social standing, accomplishments or family. These men came to David having already been rejected by the world as misfits and useless. “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.
(1 Sam 22:2)”

So then how did they come to seek David? They likely came to David the way Jonathan became best friends with him, by seeing the power of a living faith in David’s life. Jonathan first met David after his stand by faith allowed him to be the instrument used to slay Goliath and demoralize the armies of the Philistines. Jonathan saw David with the severed head of Goliath talking with his father Saul and the scriptures tell us: “1Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Sam 18:1)”

This close association with David, a man of courage and faith, produced men who in many ways became like David. God tells us about the courage and tenacity of these men. Eleazar attacked when others were fearful. He fought so hard that his sword stuck to his hand after the battle! Because of his courage the entire battle for the Lord was won. (2 Sam 23:9-10) Shammah, like Eleazar stood in a field when others fled. One man against a troop of Philistines was nothing to a man who by faith knew that God was with him. Does this not remind you of David?
(2 Sam 23:11-12)

These men displayed a loyalty and love towards David that went beyond mere obligation. Our God wanted us to know of one remarkable event involving the mighty men and David. Hear God’s account: “Then three of the thirty chief men went down at harvest time and came to David at the cave of Adullam. And the troop of Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15 And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” 16 So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD. 17 And he said, “Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men” (2 Sam 23:13-17)”

When a relationship is based upon the love of God one does not have to wait upon pressure from men before they act. Love will always seek what is best for the one who is loved. All these mighty men needed to do was hear the desire of David and it immediately became their desire as well. They fought through the enemy lines twice just to bring back a drink of water from the well of David’s childhood. David recognized the precious gift these men had given and in turn offered it to the God who gives this kind of love! Remember this truth from God “8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Rom 13:8)”

These mighty men even though possessing strength and strong wills listened to David and as a result they subdued their instincts to act against a helpless enemy. On one occasion Abishai boldly accompanied David when he went to the camp of Saul and found him and his guard asleep and helpless. Abishai concluded that God wanted him to immediately kill Saul. Only one man could stop him from acting: “Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” 10 David said furthermore, “As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’S anointed. (1 Sam 26:8-11)”

Unfortunately David’s influence was not with these men at all times. Under the influence of his older wicked brother Joab, Abishai lied to, ambushed and then murdered Abner just after David had made peace with him. What would David do? This was one of his mighty men who loved him dearly. But David loved God more than he loved any man. When it came to right and wrong no one got a free pass! David publicly responded “39 And I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too harsh for me. The Lord shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness. (2 Sam 3:39)”

We could not complete our examination of these mighty men without revealing how Satan through the sin of David led him to commit a great sin against a close friend. The account of the sin of adultery between David and Bathsheba is well known as well as how David was unable to cover up his sin by having Bathsheba’s husband Uriah the Hittite recalled from the army so that he might be with his wife. Uriah refused to enjoy the comforts that his fellow soldiers in the field could not, so he slept outside rather than enter his home. David’s cover-up had failed. What was he to do? David had this faithful servant murdered by commanding Joab to let him die by withdrawing troops from him in the heat of battle.

Most of you know the rest of the story but there is one fact that you may not know. At the end of the list of David’s mighty men, these men who would give their lives for their beloved leader, was this name: “Uriah the Hittite” (2 Sam 23:39).

Let no one doubt that David went to heaven and served the remainder of his life faithful to God. Also, let no one doubt the terrible consequences of sin. How many have forsaken their faithful companion who is their mate, or faithful Christians who would give their lives for another, because of the temporary allure of sin and then the terrible web of consequences that follow. “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)”

Today we are to be Jesus’ mighty men.
1. We are called out of a world that rejects us as useless. (1 Cor 1:26-29)
2. We are drawn to the life of the one who died for us.
3. We are molded into the image of our mighty leader whom we closely follow. (Rom 8:29)
4. We are motivated to act not just out of obligation, but out of love. (2 Cor 8:8-9)
5. We are not afraid to fight for what is right even when others flee. (Titus 1:9-11)
6. We will fight the efforts of the wicked one to separate us and destroy us from our faithful leader.

Will you be on God’s list as a mighty man of Jesus when you die? Let us seek the association of these kinds of friends. This is how the path to heaven is paved!

There is no friend like an old friend
Who has shared our morning days,
No greeting like his welcome,
No homage like his praise. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

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