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.

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