“And David became greater and greater, for the LORD of hosts was with him.” (1 Chronicles 11:9)
The vast majority of the first nine chapters of First Chronicles is a genealogy, and most people simply breeze over the names and relations listed there. And after a description of Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths and David’s ascension to the throne, another list of names is given. Whereas the first lists were genealogies, this list is very different.
This coming weekend is Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday which is normally celebrated with picnics and barbecues, a long way from the true purpose this holiday. Memorial Day was originally set aside as a day to remember or memorialize the men and women who have fought to defend our country in the armed services. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. currently has 58,272 names of those who died or remain missing in the Vietnam War.
So what’s my point? My point is that lists of names mean something. And not only to their family and loved ones. This becomes incredibly clear in 1Chronicles 11:10-12:40 where the names of King David’s mighty men are given along with some of their accomplishments. These were great men of war and courage. Some fought against unthinkable odds and everyone fought with great courage and faithfulness to the king.
Here are a few thoughts I had about these men:
- Like David, the mighty men were only successful because the Lord had given them success and they knew it. The beginning of a great fall begins with pride!
- Their faithfulness to King David was a faithfulness to the Lord who had placed David upon the throne. Mighty men recognize God’s leaders and do all they can to support him.
- The mighty men had different ranks based upon their abilities, performance and successes. There is “the three,” “the thirty” and the those who were very great, but “did not attain to the three” or “the thirty.” Everyone isn’t equal. Performance, skill and effort matter. In a day when everyone gets a participation ribbon, this shows that mighty men strive and push themselves to be their best in the service of the Lord.
- The mighty men loved their king and were willing to go above and beyond to serve and please him, even risking their lives to give him water from his hometown well (1Chron 11:15-19). This devotion was matched by David unwillingness to indulge himself with this sort of sacrifice. There was mutual love, respect and loyalty between the king and his mighty men.
- The mighty men had a great kinship and loving respect for one another built around their devotion to the Lord and his king. They were united in purpose and vision, each doing his own part for the common cause.
The virtues of honor, devotion, courage, selfless service and sacrifice are not exclusive to the military. These are the virtues that members of the Church should uphold as well. Our King is Jesus and our goal is clearly given in the Great Commission. May the Lord be pleased to raise up mighty men (and women!) from within our own churches to his glory and honor!