Summary: Sermon #5 in the series of Untold Stories in the Old Testament, Using the Text from 1 Chronicles 11, and Psalm 34. This message deals with the way David Trained up his men in the cave of Adullam and turned them into his mighty men.
Series: Untold Stories of the Old Testament #5
Date: CHCC: June 24, 2012
Title: David’s Mighty Men
What do you already know about David from the Old Testament? (answer, things like: killed Goliath, man after God’s own heart, King of Israel,… )
Probably you’ve heard the old saying, “Behind every great man there’s a great woman.” (I’ve also heard it said, behind every great man there’s a woman rolling her eyes and shaking her head)
Well David was definitely a great man. And behind David were over 40 great men. Today we’re going to talk about David’s Mighty Men. Their names and their exploits are listed in 2 Samuel 23 and in 1 Chronicles 11.
I Chronicles 11 begins with the people of Israel making David their King. Right after this, David had to fight a battle in order to establish his rule in Jerusalem. From that point on, Jerusalem was called “The city of David.” David and his army fortified the city and built up its walls.
1 Chronicles 11:10 says, These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised … and then in verse 11: This is the list of David’s mighty warriors: The chapter goes on to list 49 names. (Most of them are hard to pronounce so I won’t read them.)
We’re going to talk about those Mighty Men today --- but before we do, let’s back up a little. David had been anointed as a future king by the Prophet Samuel when he was just a young shepherd. David was probably a young adolescent at that time … maybe between 12 – 15 years old. At least 15 years passed before David actually BECAME King of Israel.
During those 15 years, God shaped David into the man who would be able to lead Israel. David learned how to fight and strategize and survive. And most important, David learned how to trust God.
For a period of about 7 of those years, David actually had to go into hiding because jealous King Saul wanted to kill him. In 1 Samuel 22 we read about David hiding in a cave. David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. I Samuel 22:1
Picture this situation. Here’s David, a near-victim of murder. He’s been anointed as the future King, but the current King is determined to kill him … all this even though David had faithfully served King Saul for many years.
When David’s father and brothers heard where he was hiding, they joined him in the cave. This was probably comforting to David. But that was not the end. Soon other men began to arrive from all over Israel. Take a look at the kind of volunteers that David had to work with:
All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him. 1 Samuel 22:2
It kind of reminds me of the Statue of Liberty – “Give me your tired your poor… Your huddled masses … the wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” The kind of folks that gathered around David were …
• Distressed (depressed and pessimistic)
• In Debt (poor, welchers, credit-risks)
• Discontented (grumblers, trouble-makers)
What a crew! David had a huge mob of worried, discontented, critical, grumbling, complaining ne'er-do-wells. What potential! (potential disaster, that is…) As if that wasn’t enough of a problem, the number soon swelled to 600. Can you imagine 600 men like that crammed in a cave? But somehow David trained these men and made them into a mighty army.
So how did David manage to turn his motley crew of recalcitrant students into Mighty Men of Valor? We find the curriculum David used in a Psalm that David wrote during his time in the cave of Adullam.
I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:1-3
David taught by example and then told his men to follow his lead.
Lesson #1 was…
1. Stop Complaining and start Praising
What did David do? He became a Praiser in the midst of Gripers. This was step one in turning those men around. David began by changing the focus of their though life. He banished pessimism and complaining and self pity. He said, “I will continually praise the Lord,” and that’s what he did.
Do any of you work with a bunch of gripers? Susan told me if this sermon took hold in schools, Teachers’ Lounges all over the nation would fall silent! It’s not easy to be positive when the people around you are negative. But that’s what God asks of us.