Motley Crew

David had been anointed to be the next king of Israel by the prophet, Samuel. The problem was that the current king, Saul, was still alive. There can’t be two kings at the same time. And King Saul had an inkling that David was going to be the next king. Saul had seen God’s favor on David as he fought in battles and as he walked among the people. It wasn’t hard for Saul to see that God’s favor was all over David. So Saul was jealous, and he wanted David dead.

Saul was on the warpath again and was looking to kill David. So, once again, David was on the run. He not only needed a hiding place, but he needed an army to fight with him. How could he accomplish all that at the last minute? David had no place to hide. He couldn’t go home. He couldn’t go to the palace where Saul lived. He couldn’t stay with his best friend, Jonathan, who happened to be Saul’s son. He had nowhere safe to go. So. He did the next best thing. He found a cave to shelter in, and his brothers and his father’s household came along to be protected, as well. But what David really needed was an army to fight with him and for him. Who would do that? Who would fight for him?

Once in the cave, David needed to assemble his army. Whoever he could find would be called on to serve with him. He knew he couldn’t save himself all alone from the mad king hunting him. He needed his own army of men. He needed bodyguards and soldiers to help him fight his battles. He needed marksmen who were straight shooters. So he accepted those who wouldn’t have been accepted into Saul’s army.

Funny thing is. Others down on their luck heard where David was hiding and came to join him. He soon found himself surrounded by those who were in the middle of their own crisis. Their lives were in distress for different reasons, perhaps by their own making. And people who were in debt came to hide out. These men were down on their luck and had seen massive failure. And anyone who was discontented joined him. The discontented men were bitter for different reasons. They either weren’t satisfied with their lives, or they weren’t satisfied with Saul’s leadership. So David basically got all the rejects living in the cave with him. These were men of unsavory reputation, and they became David’s army.

So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men. 1 Samuel 22:1-2

God used an army of misfits to fight for the future king of Israel. God knew that on their own they were no match for Saul’s army. I mean. After all, each member of this motley crew was already running from someone or something in their past. So would they really stand strong and fight for David when they came face to face with the royal army? Would David be able to whip this small band of no-gooders into battle-ready warriors? It wasn’t that David didn’t know how to train soldiers. He was an experienced war-time leader. The question was. Could these men actually become warriors?

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

I just wonder. When David saw these men coming one by one. Or two by two. Did he roll his eyes at the sight of these scraggly losers? Did he wonder, why the outcasts? Why do they want to join me? How did they find me? What should I do with them? And yet. David took them under his wing, and God made him the captain of this mismatched army. God was at work in these men’s lives in a mighty way. They didn’t remain as outcasts forever. God worked in their lives, and they became true warriors. In a short time, they were using strategic maneuvers in fighting their toughest opponents. And over time, they became David’s loyal army and remained faithful to him even after he became king. They were David’s strong supporters, and they won many battles.

I wonder. When we turn our lives over to God, does he only see the word “misfit” stamped across our forehead? Does he wonder what in the world will he do with us? How can he accomplish his plans with rejects who approach his throne? Oh. God isn’t hiding in a cave. He doesn’t have to. But when we approach him with all our troubles and anxieties and mess ups, otherwise known as sin, what will he do with us?

We come to him as feeble, broken beings and he turns us into his fighting warriors. Oh sure. It takes time and work. It takes obedience and effort. It takes study and preparation. All on our part. If we’re going to become fighting warriors of God, we must do our part in the training program. We have no idea what God will do through us, but we know that God is capable of anything and everything.

We know David didn’t do all the work when training his new army. The actual warriors had to do the grunt work. They had to be disciplined and practice. They didn’t become sharp shooters overnight. They didn’t learn all their strategic fighting moves by just watching David. They had to actually get in the fight. They weren’t sideline warriors. And we can’t be either. We must get in the fight and do our part to stand up for God’s truth. We must be disciplined to study God’s Word, his spiritual warfare manual, so we know how to head off the enemy before he strikes. And then we must do our part to fight the good fight. The war has been raging for centuries, and the battle is getting more intense. We must be battle ready at all times. It’s time to buckle up and put on the full armor of God.

We’ve heard that God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. So we don’t have to come to him ready to fight. We come to him in repentance and seeking forgiveness. He will clean us up and make us into his warriors as we submit ourselves to him. When we faithfully commit to serving him, he will prune us and shape us into the spiritual warrior he planned us to be. Oh. It won’t be an overnight pruning. It will take years of study and learning, doubting ourselves, picking ourselves us from missteps. But through faith in God, he will use us as his capable warriors as we place our full and complete trust in him.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

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