From the Benjamites, the kinsmen of Saul: 3,000, most of whom had remained loyal to the house of Saul up to that time.
1. Large numbers. (Vers. 24-37.) "Six thousand eight hundred; seven thousand one hundred," etc. - in all more than three hundred and thirty thousand.
2. Discipline and equipment. The bands were "ready armed" (vers. 23, 24, 37, 38); many were "mighty men of valour" (ver. 30); many were "expert in war" (vers. 33, 35, 36).
3. Enthusiasm. "They were not of double heart;" they were undivided, single- minded, thorough (vers. 33, 38).
4. Wisdom. For they were doing the right thing for their country's we] fare; they were acting "according to the word of the Lord (ver. 23). Here was the strongest of all reasons for congratulation and joy, the surest pledge of national prosperity. That there may be joy in the Israel of God," in the Christian Church, that there may be a sense of assured victory and of security, there need be these four elements of strength; they are all of value, though not of equal worth.
I. THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS IN THE CAUSE OF CHRIST. A great multitude of men may be of very little account; a miscellaneous assembly is not an army. Nevertheless, it is better that the people of the Lord should be counted by thousands rather than by hundreds. There is more heart to praise God when the church is filled than when it is scantily attended. Many labourers are better than few in the harvest-field of Christian toil (Matthew 9:37, 38).
II. THERE IS GREATER STRENGTH IN DISCIPLINE AND CONSEQUENT PREPAREDNESS. Ten men well armed and "expert in war" will do more than ten times their number unarmed or ill armed and without knowledge of the way to strike; this is true in moral as well as in material contests, in Christian effort as well as in the "science of war." Christ has need, not only of those who, untrained, do the best they can at the moment, but of those also who, by careful discipline of mind and heart, have "bought up the opportunity," and can do well - can speak nobly, can devise skilfully, can execute admirably in the day of conflict.
III. THERE IS EQUAL STRENGTH IN ENTHUSIASM. Not to "have a heart and a heart" (ver. 33, margin), but to be of one undivided mind, one fixed, ardent, resolute soul; to be fired by an earnest purpose; to be eager for the work; to be inspired by an impelling, exalting devotion to the great King; - this is the source of power; this will carry everything before it. And yet is there one other element of more essential moment still.
IV. THE GREATEST SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND SECURITY IS IN A WISE OBEDIENCE, Everything will fail, however large the number, careful the culture, fervent the spirit, if there be not the "doing of the will of the Father who is in heaven" - if the commandment of Christ be disregarded. "Should it be according to his mind," it will be well; otherwise the brightest hopes will disappear in the darkness. In all our projects, methods, enterprises for the extension of his kingdom, we must proceed "according to the Word of the Lord" (ver. 23). Then will the issue be like that at Hebron on this gladsome occasion. We do not feast now as then, "three days eating and drinking," but we have, or may have, our joyous times, when the work and the will of the Lord are done, when a sense of unity and security is in the soul, and we look forward to a bright and victorious future in the service of the Son of David. - C.
Until it was a great host.
1. In the accumulation of property.
2. As to the formation of habits.
3. As to increase in intellectual force.
4. As to advancing power in the spiritual life.Lessons:
1. Be careful of the day. Day by day, because he day by day had been the man he was, they gathered to David. Especially towards the accumulation of any sort of power do not lose time in youth.
2. Have courage. Front towards such right accumulation of power, and this great law of its accumulation is steadily working for you.
3. This great law works as steadily the other way; e.g., King Saul, fronting and choosing wrong, was losing righteous power day by day, until at last he came to the sad wreck he made.
(Wayland Hoyt, D. D.)
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