Marks of David’s Mighty Men
During the 40 years of his kingdom, David was able to subject kingdoms, amass great spoils, expand his borders, from the Euphrates to the Nile, and take vengeance on his enemies. What was the secret to his success?
David rose up and trained a regular army. Saul had soldiers that would occasionally fight, if there was a great need. David had professional warriors and regular forces trained up for battle. They did not fight only when attacked, but constituted themselves as an invading force, subjugating kings and kingdoms.
Today we live spiritually in the days of David. Satan and his hosts must be subjugated and recognize the authority that prevails on the earth. This authority belongs to Jesus Christ, exercised through His church, which is His body on the earth. Now is the time for it to rise up and eradicate the hosts of hell. In 1 Chronicles chapters 11 and 12, we find a list of the mighty men of David and of the men of war that formed his regular army. Their characteristics reveal the secret of success. We will transport them to the kingdom of the spirit and embody them in our lives in the spiritual combat of the last days.
And they helped David against the bands of raiders, for they were all mighty men of valor, and they were captains in the army. For at that time they came to David day by day to help him, until it was a great army, like the army of God. (1 Chr. 12:21, 22).
Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword. (1 Chronicles 21:5).
Loyalty to the commander-in-chief
Now these were the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the captains, and he said: “We are yours, O David; We are on your side, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, And peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” So David received them, and made them captains of the troop. (1 Chronicles 11:10; 12:18)
Jesus is the King. We must place ourselves “at His service” filled with the deepest loyalty. To unite with Him necessarily implies that we must place ourselves against the evil forces of darkness and stand in the place of constant war for the fury of battle will come, along with the temptation to give up. A strong spirit of loyalty will strengthen us in the rigors of combat because of who He is.
A sacrificial spirit
So the three 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 David would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD. (1 Chronicles 11:18)
All warriors know the importance of sacrifice. Whoever fears sacrifice is not apt to join the war. There are risks in combat. Its fruits however make it worth it. Jesus exposed himself to death. The prophet Isaiah declares:
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)
The pioneers of evangelism manifested the same spirit. From Paul to Barnabas, the church in Jerusalem testified: “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:26) War is a serious thing and full of dangers. We must not fear the enemy, yet war is not fun and games.
In World War II someone told a story about Mussolini when he challenged young people to join the Army. A teenager asked him “sir, what is our reward for enlisting?” Mussolini answered: “you will receive wounds, suffering and pain. Some of you will be mutilated and others will die, but because of you, Italy will live”. That teenager enlisted into the Italian army.
We have greater reasons for accepting the challenge. We will be able to snatch millions from hell, peace without end will come over the earth in the kingdom of Jesus, our Lord, and his glory will fill the nations.
Armed with bows, using both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows with the bow. They were of Benjamin, Saul’s brethren. (1 Chronicles 12:2)
These men could shoot the bow from both hands. They were ambidextrous. Today many are strong with the right-hand, but weak with the left. The church needs equilibrium. The truths and activities must be in equilibrium. There is a tendency to over emphasize one aspect of the truth and neglect others. This causes weakness, deception and heresies. We as the church must balance our presentation of the whole counsel of God.
David trained his men well. They went through theoretical as well as practical training. In the above text, we can prove that these men were able to shoot arrows with the bow, stones with a slingshot and handle shields and spears with both hands and knew how to go to war with all kinds of weapons.
Jesus spent three and a half years training His disciples. Today more than ever the need for training is present. Only trained warriors will be successful in combat.
The Gadites were valiant men skilled for war (vs. 8); the Danites could keep battle formation (vs. 35), those of Asher could go out to war and were able to keep battle formation (vs. 36). All of these were men of war that were able to keep ranks and were skilled in battle (vs. 38).
Their skill was a consequence of continuous training. To keep in shape, a regular army is necessary. The Army of God needs to keep itself fit and skilled for combat at all times.
The Gadites were quick.
whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains (vs. 8b)
Victory in battle depended many times on the quickness of the soldiers. In the book “the Art of war”, the great Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, cited Tuyu: “an attack may fail in skill, but it must be inflicted with supernatural quickness.” What then should we say of spiritual warfare? The church has sinned through procrastination by frequently waiting too long before making decisions and putting off urgent matters with serious consequences. Many lives are lost while we fail to act.
The nations are ripe for harvest. Who will arrive first? Will the forces of the occult assail the nations or the church of Jesus Christ? We must be ready to obey and quick to attack.
One of the greatest tragedies in the history of modern Israel was the war of Yom Kippur in 1973. The Army was not prepared. The entire nation was paralyzed and enemy troops made a surprise attack. Before the Israeli army could get into combat position, many lives had been lost. Readiness is important all of the time. The men of David were ready for the war. Such should be the Army of God: always ready and armed for war.
Now these were the numbers of the divisions that were equipped for war, and came to David at Hebron to turn over the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD: of the sons of Judah bearing shield and spear, six thousand eight hundred armed for war. (1 Chronicles 12:23, 24)
The Gadites were valiant men. Their faces were as the faces of lions (vs. 8). The sons of Simon were valiant men of war. Without courage and boldness, we cannot wage war. The Lord offered a recommendation in Deuteronomy 20:2-4:
So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’
The Lord repeated the exhortation to take courage three times: “be strong and courageous; be strong and very courageous; be strong and courageous, fear not neither be afraid” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). One of the purposes of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is to endue us with courage.
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31)
Fear is a terrible trap. We must never admit it into our lives. We have authority (Luke 10:19) and there is nothing to fear. The Lord’s courage must be part of the character of the soldiers of His army.
A good reputation
The virtues of character must be present in an overcoming army. The sons of Ephraim were:
mighty men of valor, famous men throughout their father’s house (1 Chronicles 12:30)
It is a disgrace when we defame the good name of Christ through our attitudes. Each soldier of the army must make himself known by his good reputation. Paul upon speaking of the qualities of those in the ministry declares:
Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:7)
To be zealous of our good name is to be zealous of the name of Christ, for men through our attitudes will see Him.
The sons of Issachar had:
understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
Victory demands a wise strategy. It is necessary to know the enemy and the right time and way to attack. A good combat depends on a correct position, and adequate distribution of the troops and military equipment. A good commander must consider many factors and will know how to order his troops and conserve a high moral. He must be firm, decided, know how to make decisions in new circumstances and resolve the problems that arise.
In the Army of God, we need wise leaders. Leadership cannot be immature, impulsive or easily deceived. We need leaders like the sons of Issachar that know the times and how to discern what the church should do. The resources of divine wisdom and the revelation of the Holy Spirit are at our disposal.
Discipline implies that each one knows what his position is in the army and submits himself to the recognized leadership. The greatest time of weakness in Israel was during the period of the judges, when each one did as he thought best. The need today for order, discipline and submission is great. Insubordination and rebelliousness in an army lead to judgment. The success of the army depends upon an understanding of authority and submission to it. The sons of Issachar possessed not only understanding, but they also submitted to his command.
Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
Qualification and excellence
David’s men were specialists in war. They were capable and qualified professionals.
Of Zebulon there were fifty thousand who went out to battle, expert in war with all weapons of war, stouthearted men who could keep ranks; of Asher, those who could go out to war, able to keep battle formation, forty thousand. (1 Chronicles 12:33, 36)
In the King James Version, it says that they were experts in war. The amplified version says that they were experienced troops. Today the Army of God must grow in excellence, specializing in spiritual battle. The enemy is highly sophisticated and experienced. The Army of God needs to attain a state of excellence, seeking out the qualification of its soldiers. We not only need an army with numerous soldiers but also a qualified one. Excellence in all things must be our goal. The apostle Paul recommended intense study so that approval does not give way to shame.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 Amplified version)
Singularity of purpose
Without unity it is impossible to reach victory. Everyone must have the same purpose, command, enemy and vision. The singularity of purpose and vision are essential.
Not one of the soldiers that made up David’s army was double minded. They possessed the same determination and objective, and were one in heart to constitute David as king over Israel.
expert in war with all weapons of war, stouthearted men who could keep ranks; (1 Chronicles 12:33)
to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king. (1 Chronicles 12:38b)
The same text says that all of the rest of Israel was of one heart. Another version says that they were unanimous in the purpose of making David king. All of their hearts were devoted to David, as that of one man. They were in Hebron to transfer the kingdom of Saul to David.
The Army of Jesus Christ must equally be devoted to Him with a singleness of purpose, to deliver the kingdoms of this world to Him through the proclamation of the gospel.
We must subjugate the earth to Jesus Christ. God will accomplish this work through His church. If every Christian would unite himself to the cause of Christ, we will soon reach our goal of conquering the kingdom of Satan for God.
In order to have victory in the war it is not enough to have soldiers. It is necessary to equip them with military equipment sufficient for the challenge. The sons of Judah were fully equipped . . .
Of the sons of Judah bearing shield and spear, six thousand eight hundred armed for war; of the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, from the other side of the Jordan, one hundred and twenty thousand armed for battle with every kind of weapon of war. (1 Chronicles 12:24, 37)
“Armed for war”, this is a condition that is imposed upon us today. We are the Judah of God. Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah and we are His new creation. He gave us all of the weapons necessary for combat. It is up to us to arm ourselves with all of them, then the victory will belong to Jesus Christ, and then we will overcome and reign with Him.