Thursday, March 29, 2012

Who am I?

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.
1 Chronicles 29:14-15

Who am I? by Casting Crowns

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

from father to son

Then David said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished."
1 Chronicles 28:20

David's passion to build a temple for the worship of the Lord in Jerusalem is passed on to his son Solomon with this charge. And the building of the temple would be Solomon's great work. Once completed, it would define the worship of the Lord for the Jews for centuries. Even though it no longer stands, it is still a focal point for the worship of the LORD among devout Jews. David's passion is still something talked about in the world today!

The charge to Solomon is a call to fearless service. It was a daunting task to take the materials provided by David, and the architectural drawings given to Solomon by his father, and turn them into an actual temple of stone, wood, bronze, and gold. That is why David's encouragement to his son included the reminder that God's presence and power would be with him in the work of building the temple. Solomon could do this because God would do it through him.

When we are willing to be used by God, there is no limit to what God can do to bring glory for Himself. When we insist on gaining notice solely for self, that's when the difficulties really come. Solomon's life was amazingly powerful when he followed the words of his father's charge to him. He failed miserably when he switched his focus to his own fame as king. The wisdom of David's words proved sadly true in the life of his son.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

close inner circle

Ahithophel was the king's counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king's friend. Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar. Joab was commander of the king's army.
1 Chronicles 27:33-34

There is not a lot of deep spiritual insight to be found in a chapter that lists out the names of army divisional commanders and royal officials. It is a mundane list. But the careful listing does grow as it describes the level of closeness to king David. These two verses get us into David's closest inner circle. And they show us just a little about his person, character, and method of leadership.

David enlisted those closest to him as royal advisors. These people were entrusted with the most power and the most access to the king. These positions consisted of advisors, friends, and commanders. They were his inner circle. David did not lead alone, but in the company of advisors and trusted relationships. These men had influence in Israel because they were close to the king.

Every person needs that inner circle of relationships to help them navigate life's road. These might be made up of certain family members. These might include trusted friends whose common sense and camaraderie have combined to help us in times of need. Even the most gregarious of personalities must have some people around who are the closest of trusted friends. And any person who has no "advisors" or "counselors" in his life will find frustration and lonely choices ahead of him. In the abundance of friendships and counselors who advise us, there is safety for all of us. David set an example of the wisdom of living that way.

Monday, March 26, 2012


This Shelomoth and his brothers were in charge of all the treasuries of the dedicated gifts that David the king and the heads of the fathers' houses and the officers of the thousands and the hundreds and the commanders of the army had dedicated. From spoil won in battles they dedicated gifts for the maintenance of the house of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 26:26-27

Someone had to be entrusted with the care and maintenance of the valuable gifts that were stored in the treasury of the Lord's house in Jerusalem. David commissioned gifted financial accountants with the security duty involving these gifts which came from the spoils of war. So the Jerusalem temple eventually had treasuries that were sort of vaults and sort of museums that held the rarest of articles captured in battle by Israel's defensive forces. From the spoils of war, the best and the rarest treasures were sent to Jerusalem from the commanders of the army to be used to maintain the worship of the Lord on the Jerusalem temple site. It was a kind of giving prompted by gratitude.

Again, the administrative genius of King David's later years shines through. He creates an entirely new classification of service for the Lord: treasurer. And he picks the finest financial workers and security personnel in the land to guard the treasure and administer funds for the maintenance of the worship of the Lord. He created the system that would run the finances of the vast temple complex with its hundreds of Levites and priestly workers... the complex Solomon would later build. And Solomon would fill its treasuries with even more unbelievable riches and art.

God deserves the best we can give Him. The national treasures of Israel under David and Solomon were kept in the temple where God was worshiped. And the gifts given for His worship needed protection and wise administration. What Israel valued most was relationship and worship of God. It literally showed in what the nation treasured and where they treasured it. And the way that David set the example made it clear that God was the most important leader in the life of the nation. Those visible values made a difference. And just where are my visible values? The answers will be shown in what is seen in my life.

Friday, March 23, 2012

organized worship

The number of them along with their brothers, who were trained in singing to the LORD, all who were skillful, was 288. And they cast lots for their duties, small and great, teacher and pupil alike.
1 Chronicles 25:7-8

King David extended the organization of the worship of Yahweh to include the singers and musicians who were on site at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. It was quite a task. There were 288 of these skilled musicians, songwriters, and singers. And all of them were organized around the same type of schedule that regulated the duties of the Levites. With that many artists to manage, the worship of the Lord must have been quite a production!

The bottom line was that these musicians were divided into 24 teams. Then they were assigned musical duties in worship around the same 48 month lunar calendar that the Levites followed. So there was always a worship team planned and organized around every worship activity in the life of the nation of Israel.

Both experienced master musicians and their most gifted proteges served together in this ministry. And the result was that the ministry of musical worship always had a good learning, growing, artistic edge. It was always worshiping toward the future. David's skill as a musician is shown in this stroke of developmental genius. He fostered new talent. He knew that good art is always growing into the next generation. That's why pupil and teacher alike were part of the rotation.

I love music. And I love playing music and singing. I deeply feel the loss in my busy life right now. Circumstances are such that I am unable these days to offer any musical worship service due to the overcrowding of other important expectations and responsibilities that have been pressed upon me. I could play and learn new guitar abilities for hours (when I have those hours... which is never). I dearly wish sometimes that I had the hours to give it again because I find it often brings me into sweet communion with God, personally. Given that insight, I feel something when I read this story in 1 Chronicles. I get a feel for how elated these 288 musicians must have felt to be released and supported and organized to do nothing but worship God with their hearts, hands, instruments, and voices. And there will be a time when I will get to do nothing but that myself. I'll bide my time until then, I suppose.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Team ministry is a not just a New Testament concept.

These had as their appointed duty in their service to come into the house of the LORD according to the procedure established for them by Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
1 Chronicles 24:19

Ministry has its demands. And the priestly work of the levitical priesthood in Israel was not only spiritual but also hard physical labor. It required teamwork and organization. And David took all of the families of the priests and organized them into 24 different divisions. Then those divisions were organized into work teams arranged on a 48 month lunar calendar and assigned various levitical duties in the house of God. Each division served publicly two months out of each year. The rest of the year was filled with behind-the-scenes responsibility.

The levitical duties were diverse. The duties at the house of the Lord including being bakers (the grain offerings and the shewbread were regular requirements). They were incense makers. They were butchers (some sacrifices let the person offering the sacrifice take home a portion of the meat. Other portions of sacrifices went to feed the Levites and their families. Every day numerous goats, sheep, and oxen were slaughtered on the grounds of the temple). All this physical labor was shared through this unique service roster.

The priests and Levites benefitted from team ministry. And the ministry itself was strengthened by the organization and administration of these teams. David was a wise king to ensure that those who led Israel's worship did so in an atmosphere of organization and mutual ministry. So team ministry is not just a New Testament concept. It is a biblical concept. There are no "Lone Rangers" in the plans that God has for His worship.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

administration's greater glory

For their duty was to assist the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God.
1 Chronicles 23:28

David's passion for the worship of the Lord combined with a gift of administration to organize the Levites around the duties of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. Not only did David want to make sure that all the preparations were made for a physical temple, but he also wanted to put together the organization of the levitical duties in such a way that when the temple was complete and as worship was conducted in Jerusalem, the Law would be followed and the duties of the priests and Levites could function smoothly for the glory of God.

So by royal edict, the Levites were mustered, arranged, and a duties list was organized. This account is almost purely administrative in its detail. But it is clear that the focus of this was to bring the kind of quality worship that God deserved in His place of meeting. And roles and responsibilities emerged that were clearly understood. By the time David's edict was finished, the transition to worship on the site of the temple was complete. Worship commenced and continued even as Solomon began the work of building a temple there.

An application to consider is the role of administration within God's kingdom. It is a service gift within the church. And there are always details to manage in ministry. The important distinction is that administration as it relates to God's kingdom is not solely about project management. It is much more about the glory of God being emphasized by offering our organizational gifts and abilities to Him.

I am so thankful that God uses us in this way. And many people labor with servant's hearts behind the scenes so that God's glory may be known among the nations. Some of us organize and others of us perform the tasks assigned. But all of us worship God in His work for His purpose so that His name may be great among all people.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

leadership vision that transcends generations

For David said, "Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it." So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.
1 Chronicles 22:5

King David's driving ambition before his death was to leave behind a life that commended the worship of the Lord. His last days on earth and his last acts as king were to make all the provisions for his son Solomon to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. This involved a massive amount of advance planning on his part. It was a project of worship.

David's reasons for doing so are diverse. His son Solomon was young and inexperienced. David wanted to leave him with the plans, the materials, and the funding in place to do this great thing. David had a huge vision to build a temple that was testament to the magnificent glory of God. It needed to be something that had never been done before. And that kind of extravagant worship involved lots of preparation. David wanted God's fame to draw the world to Jerusalem by the sheer beauty of the temple. God's fame would go out from the temple mount to all the lands of the earth.

These three factors (inexperience, extravagance, and outreach) are what led David to such serious planning. He laid up the supplies. He commissioned Solomon to the task. He made it the defining vision of the nation for the generation that succeeded him. David's leadership thus carried over an extra generation just because he was consumed with glorifying God. That is a benefit of letting God set leadership priorities. I had never really noticed this facet of the story before today. It is one worth considering. When I am consumed with devoting my life to the glory of God, my impact can outlast me. Future generations can catch and live out that same vision. In my opinion, that is leadership worth living for... forever! I want to find a way to make it the defining and overarching goal of all that I am doing in this life.

Monday, March 19, 2012

repentance: great cost... huge value

But King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site.
And David built there an altar to the LORD and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the LORD, and the LORD answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering.
1 Chronicles 21:24-26

David's principle of costly sacrifice was not just about giving in worship of the Lord. This was literally a deadly serious repentance on his part. He had disobeyed the Law of the Lord knowingly, against the protests of his own advisors, in an act of selfish pride. His ordering of the census of the fighting forces of Israel was a selfish act of human trust and a willful disbelief in the power of God. And God punished David's sin by afflicting the nation.

David was forced to make a choice for national disaster to strike Israel. And David chose three days of a raging pestilence at the hands of God's "destroying angel". The supernaturally led disease swept through the nation, stopping at the gates of Jerusalem as the destroying angel stood with drawn sword at the threshing floor of Ornan. It was there that David faced death eye-to-eye and offered sacrifices of repentance. And he would not repent without cost to himself.

The Lord was pleased with David's since and broken heart. He relented and ordered the destroying angel to sheath his sword. God showed his acceptance by raining down fire from heaven that consumed David's sacrifice, thus showing that peace and forgiveness were restored. God accepted what had cost David so very much.

So the principle to take from here is not so much about significant generosity (as I have often heard extrapolated from this passage). It is more about sincere repentance. When we mean business with God in sincere and real confession, repentance, and obedience, it will cost us something meaningful. And we should not regret the cost. We count it, willingly sacrifice it, find relief in restoration, and see God glorified in the renewal.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

down go the giants!

David and GoliathThese were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

1 Chronicles 20:8


David was not the only giant-killer in Israel. There were at least three other men in his army who had that distinction. David was just the first giant-killer. And he subdued Goliath while only a boy. His victory in his youth set the standard by which all other giant killing would be measured. And there were many bad Philistine giants that needed to go down in defeat.


The three giant killing soldiers were diverse, but ready to display the bravery of their king. Sibbecai the Hushathite was the first on this distinct list. He killed a champion name Sippai and ran off the Philistine threat. The second great giant-slayer was Elhanan the son of Jair. He brought down Lahmi, the brother of Goliath. Again, the Philistine threat was removed from Israel The final brave dispatcher of giants was Jonathan, the nephew of King David. He fought and killed a 24-digited beast of a man. The giant remains un-named except that he taunted Israel. And Jonathan stood up in battle and silenced the mocking threats for good.


God used these three men to remove the threats to peace in Israel under David. In so doing, more heroes joined with David in seeing God defeat the threatening giants for the sake of His people. And their bravery inspired a nation. God will use men who are brave enough to stride into a toe-to-toe fight with a giant. And when God uses such a man for His glory, the giants go down!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

fighting fear with faith

king with spearBe strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.

1 Chronicles 19:13


Joab was David’s fighting general. As commander of Israel’s army, he always led from the thick of the battle. And this is an epic fight. Israel is fighting two different armies, sandwiched between them and outnumbered. The Syrians are at the front. The Ammonites are behind them. And Joab is ready to charge ahead.


Joab’s faith is part of his resolve to fight. His speech to rally the troops is punctuated with his trust in God. He appeals to the troops to be strong, to fight for Israel’s people and the cities of their God. His courage is shown in the teeth of battle that was ALWAYS hand to hand combat. His final resolve was to trust the outcome of the battle to the Lord’s hands.


So in the faith of the fighting forces of Israel there is an encouragement to trust God. And Joab would face swords and spears with confidence that God’s sovereign hand would not let them down. That kind of courageous faith is inspiring. It moves men to face the impossible for the sake of God’s mercies on which they can confidently rely.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

God gives the victory.


Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David's servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.

1 Chronicles 18:13


When God needed a man

to fulfill His plan

unite His people into a nation

and show His great salvation


God raised David as king

and blessed him with everything

he would need to decidedly win

every battle God put him in.


David trusted the Lord

and the power of His Word.

He was humble and true;

that’s why God brought him through.


When the nations raged

and warfare was engaged

God was with His chosen king

and victory songs would ring.


As the battle was decided

by God’s hand as He guided

David to do His will,

God can grant victory still!


If we trust in God’s plan

and accept the gifts from His hand

His help with us will stay

and God will save us today.

Monday, March 12, 2012

humbled by extreme blessing

star-david3and your name will be established and magnified forever, saying, 'The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel's God,' and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Therefore your servant has found courage to pray before you.

1 Chronicles 17:24-25


God made a unique covenant with David and his descendants forever. It came about because of David’s clear determination to build a temple for the worship of the LORD in Jerusalem. His heart was that God be treated with all the respect and glory due to Him. David was not happy to live in a cedar lined palace while God was worshiped in a tent. He longed that in every way imaginable, God’s name would be made known as great.


God’s response to David was to honor him with a covenant that blessed David’s unyielding passion for God. God promised to unilaterally establish the house of David as the ruling dynasty in Jerusalem forever. He would make David’s name great even as David longed to make God’s name great. And by doing so God would make His own power known through the throne of David, eventually to the salvation of the world through Jesus, the Son of David. God blessed David so that his son could carry on his rule and build the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem. God blessed David so that His Son could become the Messiah of Israel forever. And those things are exactly what happened through Solomon who built the temple in Jerusalem, and through Jesus, Who saves us from the peril of our sins forever.


When Nathan the prophet relays this message back to David, the king’s response is humble submission to God’s revealed will. David is overwhelmed. He went to God asking to build a house for God, and the Lord responded by telling David that He would build up David’s house as a ruling dynasty forever. David is humbled by God’s great grace. It seems almost more blessing than he can bear as David humbly comes to God to thank Him for the unprecedented favor that David has found in God’s eyes.


I am humbled by the precious heart of David that would respond so worshipfully to God’s blessing. David almost sees himself as unworthy of such favor. But joy flows our in praise from a thankful heart. And that is the type of response that should fill our days when we realize just how blessed we are by God’s unfailing love and grace. We are recipients of the blessings of the covenant God made with David on that day. And we should share in his joy!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

universal worship

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"
1 Chronicles 16:29-31

God's desire has always been that He would be worshiped by all the peoples of the earth. The reason He called Israel into relationship with Him was so that through them, the knowledge of God would spread to all the earth. They were to be a light to the nations. Even the Old Testament is filled with a global sense of mission. This magnificent worship song gives us insight into the great heart of God for ALL the world.

That vision of the whole earth in worship of God still must drive the hearts of God's people. I like the perspective that John Piper gives: "Missions exists because worship does not." The hope of spreading the good news of Jesus among every ethnic group is that God will be loved, revered, and worshiped across the globe. It is this outrageously global perspective that means that the Christian message is always on the move. This passion is a calling worth living for, now and forever.

The Christian vision is equally compelling in the New Testament. The way that Paul put it placed Jesus at the very center of global focus: "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11). I will love, live, and choose to see my world in the light of that vision and mission.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WORSHIP: is loud bad?

So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing.
1 Chronicles 15:25

David marked his love for the Lord with expression in his worship. He could not help it. It was his passion for God and thankfulness for God's blessings coming out. David had an artistic side to him that was expressed most in his worship of God. We have the book of Psalms as testament to this. We know he played musical instruments (most notably the lyre) and he led this loud worship service as the Levites carried the ark to Jerusalem. I am sure it was quite a spectacle. The text says there was shouting with the loud music of horns, trumpets, cymbals, harps and lyres (1 Chronicles 15:28).

Praise ought to be heartfelt. And every personality is a little different, but expression is the key. There is nothing more disheartening than being in an assembly of Christians who are just "going through the motions" in a worship service. I don't mean liturgy. I have been in intense, meaningful liturgical assemblies. I mean instead that the worship has degenerated into passionless procedure. May we spare God our dry drudgery!

Personally, when I hear a few complaints about the volume or the content of the "performance level" in a worship service, I tend to go to this episode in the life of David for an evaluation context. In my mind, I wonder if the complainter might be a little like Michal (1 Chronicles 15:29) who despised David's display of rejoicing. There are certainly technical matters to consider in any worship gathering. The sound engineer ought to be able to keep things at a controlled decibel level for the size room. But in the end, a little shouting and rejoicing seems to me to be a biblical precedent to gauge authentic praise and worship! And no sound console should contain that!

I do know this... when I get embarrassed at my own worship of God, it is NEVER because I got "way too into it". It is always because I felt too reserved or I held back or I failed to truly worship God in spirit and in truth. Rejoicing is expressive... whatever that looks like for any person... and that must be the gauge by which we measure honest to goodness, heartfelt praise.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Commanded by God

And David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. And the fame of David went out into all lands, and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations.
1 Chronicles 14:16-17

God brought deliverance to Israel under the leadership of King David because David was submissive to God's control over the nation. Twice in this chapter the Philistines attack Israel. And twice David does nothing until he first inquires of the LORD. That was the secret of his success in defending Israel.

The first episode is one of Philistine aggression. David hears that the Philistines are against him. David decides to take a "strike first" position and inquires of the LORD. God confirms David's decision, and under God's blessing Israel routes back the Philistine advances with overwhelming success. David gives all the credit to God who delivered the nation. On the battlefield the Philistines abandon their Baal figurines. David has them all collected and burned. The king will not let even a hint of foreign idolatry taint his heart or tempt the nation.

The second engagement finds a Philistine counter attack coming against David's army. Again David seeks the LORD, and this time God asks David to strategically retreat, then outflank the Philistines, waiting for a miraculous sign from God to then bring on the attack. Again, the king obeys God as commander and the Philistines are overwhelmingly defeated. The result was that the reputation of the military might of Israel under David spread to neighboring nations. A peace came to Israel through the strength that God gave to David.

David was a military man. He was a shrewd fighter and a magnetic commanding general. But he did not rely only on these personal gifts. Instead, he entrusted himself to the power and person of God. He was under God's command. And God was glorified as He blessed David and made his name to be feared not only throughout Israel but also to the gentile world. David's trust in God shows how much such real faith can give the faithful heart. It challenges such faith to guide decisions even today.

Monday, March 5, 2012

worship is the center

Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.
1 Chronicles 13:3

And so began David's personal passion to lead Israel with the kind of deep worship that he had for God in his own heart. He wanted to bring the ark of God (really the entire tabernacle) to Jerusalem and there to build a permanent temple dedicated to the worship of the Lord. He wanted to set the example of commitment to the covenant that the nation needed to follow to see success and experience God's blessing.

Saul's reign had not been characterized by this. It wasn't that Saul was an active idolater. It was just that he was not earnest in his worship of the Lord. He was not really a spiritual leader. And that was shown in his unwillingness to wait on the Lord. It was shown in his readiness to consult a spiritist rather than a prophet when seeking divine guidance. It was shown in his quick decision to disobey God's direct command to destroy everything Amalekite. He did not love the Lord enough to surrender his opinions and desires to Him. It was always "Saul's god, Saul's way". And David meant to change that for the kingdom. His example would be submissive and worshipful.

Seeking to have the ark near the throne would convey to the nation how serious David was about seeking and trusting God. This move was deliberate repentance and really was a good thing. The tabernacle and its furnishings were meant to be portable. There was no command to keep it in any one place. Having God's center of worship in the same city as Israel's center of government would be exactly the right thing to do. It let the Israelites know that God was their king's king.

David's desire to keep the worship of God the central focus speaks a challenge to us today. So many things will shove the real worship of the Lord to the periphery of our experience. May we take David's desire to our own hearts and never see worship as anything other than the center of our lives! And if necessary, let's take it back and place our focus squarely there.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

slow trickle to greatness

For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God.
1 Chronicles 12:22

God brought together in His unique providential way all the men who would comprise the army of Israel under David. And David began his rule with this military foundation. It was what the times demanded. Israel was being oppressed by Philistine control. The previous king, Saul, and his sons were killed in battle with this enemy of Israel. When David ascended to the throne, he had to finish this Philistine war.

It makes sense that the powerful people under David as general would still have influence under David as king. These army commanders came from every tribe and region. David's reliance upon them in wartime forged alliances in peacetime that unified the nation around the king's leadership. The shared experiences in battle led to shared responsibilities in the civilian government.

What is striking in this passage is that David did not need to canvass the countryside to recruit good fighters to his cause. This was a volunteer army that God led together. Every day as the forces grew, eventually it coalesced into a group used by God under David's command to deliver the nation. It became mighty as under David Israel went from being a puny confederation of tribes to a powerful nation of warriors. God was doing a sovereign work. He used a gifted and battle hardened general to full advantage at a time when that was exactly the kind of leader that was needed.

This insight is not so much about military might, political power, or lessons in leadership. It is testimony to God's sovereign control over human affairs. he will use what people naturally do to perform His will among the nations. When God needed a strong and victorious Israel, He created a leader in shepherd boy named David, forced him to defend his life in battle for years under Saul's manic manhunt, and then trickled in an army of discontents and misfits for David's command. Incredibly, something bigger than the sum of its parts started to emerge. The hand of God is seen through His powerful providence.