Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mighty men surrounded David

Good morning. Today's scripture is from 1 Samuel 22:1-2 (NIV): "David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Abdullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him; and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him."

As we read through the Psalms, we see David on the lamb much of the time, seemingly lonely as he lay awake in the middle of the night, gazing at the stars. But make no mistake; David was never truly alone, though he surely missed his immediate family. The Bible calls these men that followed the transient king, David’s Mighty Men. Sometimes they were described as “The Three,” or “The Thirty.” In truth, many of them were outlaws and outcasts from society.

What they shared in common is that they looked up to David as their leader. Many of them became great military leaders in their own right. “The Three” (Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah) became David’s trusted military strategiests. “The Thirty” comprised David’s body guards. The Bible says as many as 600 men followed David around the countryside. David’s brothers and members of his father’s household also were part of the group. These men were completely loyal to David. Much of the time these men followed David, he was basically an unemployed king. They were not hanging around David for riches and comforts. They slept under the stars, were constantly on the run, and hid out in caves from their enemies. Yet they constantly were victorious in battle against much larger forces.

David’s leadership abilities motivated these men to greatness. These men looked up to David as their leader. They knew David was a man of character who sought out God at every turn. These men became heroes by sticking tightly with David. They not only were there to protect David, they fought side by side with him in battle, and they were his friends. Part of what made David a great leader was that he was among them, not separated from them. These men went through thick and thin with David. When they were hungry, he was hungry. He did not set himself above them.

Every man should follow David’s example of being a man and a leader. David was no lone ranger. He always had men around him who held him accountable; men such as Nathan the prophet. David’s men surely saw him in prayer every day. They surely saw the struggles he faced in the dessert while on the run from his many enemies. David was a good leader when he was following his leader, God. At some point, David realized he needed men around him during trying times, and God provided men who were faithful to David. We all can learn from David about seeking excellence in our lives. Real men act like David by putting God first and developing authentic relationships around them.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to be more like David. Help me to seek you every day, and help me to lead like David. Help me to keep men in my life that will hold me accountable. Amen

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