Sermon #1311

            Title:               WHO SHALL BE REWARDED?

            Text:               1 Samuel 30:21-25

            Reading:         Matthew 19:27 - 20:16

            Subject:          David’s Statute For The Sharing of the Spoil

            Date:               Saturday Evening - January 31, 1998

            Tape #




            There were six hundred men in Israel who lined up with David against Saul. They forsook family, home, career, and friend to follow David, when it was most unpopular to do so. They were willing to lay down their lives for David. They followed David through thick and thin, preferring to be with David in caves, in the wilderness, and upon the battlefield than to be with Saul in the palace.


A few of these men were the bravest, most valiant men in Israel. But for the most part David’s men were a rag-tag band of helpless, useless paupers, whose only hope of life was that David might graciously receive them, defend them, protect them and lead them. The scriptures say, “Everyone that was in distress, and everyone that was in debt, and everyone that was discontented, gathered themselves unto (David); and he became a captain over them” ((1 Sam. 22:2).


David, you know, was a type of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David. And his rag-tag army of nobodies fairly well represents the church of our Lord Jesus Christ in this world (1 Cor. 1:26-29).


1 Corinthians 1:26-29  "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence."


            With that in mind, I want you to look again at 1 Samuel 30:21-25. You will recall the story leading up to our text.


1.      While David and his men were away seeking peace and safety by alignment with Achish and the Philistines, the Amalekites came to Ziklag, burned the city and took all the wives, children, cattle, sheep, and valuables that belonged to David and his men (vv. 1-6).


1 Samuel 30:1-6  "And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 2 And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God."


2.     David turned to seek the counsel of the Lord and, armed with the Spirit of God and the promise of God, he pursued the Amalekites (vv. 7-8).


1 Samuel 30:7-8  "And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 8 And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all."


3.     As David pursued his enemies, some of his men had to be left behind (vv. 9-10).


1 Samuel 30:9-10  "So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor."


            Two hundred of the men were so faint that “they could not go over the brook Besor.” They were “so faint that they could not follow David.’ We are not told that they “would not go,” but that they “could not go”. They would have gone if they could have gone, but they simply did not have the strength and ability to go. Therefore, they stayed “by the stuff,” while David and their four hundred brethren pursued the Amalekites.


            I repeat this because it is very important - They would have gone if they could have gone, but they simply did not have the strength and ability to go. Therefore, they stayed “by the stuff,” while David and their four hundred brethren pursued the Amalekites.


4.     At last David and his men caught their enemies and thoroughly conquered them (vv. 11-20).


1 Samuel 30:11-20  "And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; 12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. 13 And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days ago I fell sick. 14 We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire. 15 And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company. 16 And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 17 And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. 18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 19 And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all. 20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David's spoil."


            David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken from them. Nothing was lacking. David recovered all. And David also gathered a great spoil from the Amalekites. Now David and his men are marching back in triumph. As they approach the two hundred they left behind at Besor, they put all the flocks and herds David had taken from the Amalekites in the front, and shouted, as they came across the brook Besor, “This is David’s spoil!” Now read the text with me (vv. 21-25).


1 Samuel 30:21-25  "And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them. 22 Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. 23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. 25 And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day."


            Some of those who went with David to the battle were proud, wicked men, men of Belial. They said, “We will not share the spoil with these two hundred weak men who went not into the battle with us. They are not as strong as we are. They have not done as much as we have. They do not deserve to be ranked with us. And they shall not be rewarded with us. We will allow them to have their wives and children, but no more. We have done greater things than they; and we will have greater reward.” “The spoil that WE HAVE RECOVERED!”


            Does that sound like anyone you know? There are many who teach that the rewards of heaven are earned by men upon the earth. They tell us that God will distribute the crowns of glory according to the merits of our labors, works and faithfulness upon the earth. These wicked, self-righteous men of Belial will allow the poor weaklings are saved and will get to heaven by grace. But, because they have not performed great works, they shall not have all the fulness of heaven’s reward. Thus they attempt to mix the works of men with the grace of God as the grounds of reward in heaven. Such a mixture, we cannot and must not tolerate.


Proposition:            All the blessings of grace come to God’s elect freely, not by the merits of our works, but by the merits of Christ’s righteousness and shed blood as our Substitute.


            Today, I want to address myself to this question: Who Shall Be Rewarded? You will find the answer to that question in David’s words to the wicked men of Belial (vv. 23-24).


1 Samuel 30:23-24  "Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike."


Divisions:     Today, I have a God-given word of comfort for my faint, weak and weary brothers and sisters in the family of God. Those who think they are mighty, strong, and deserving of special reward from God will hear nothing pleasing to their proud hearts. But all who are the children of God, dependent upon Christ alone, seeking acceptance with God only by grace through the blood of Christ, will rejoice to hear what I have to say, I am sure.


1.      In the family of God there are many faint, weak brethren.

2.      Christ is especially the Lord of the faint and weak ones.

3.      The Lord Jesus Christ will come again to his faint ones.

4.      When Christ our Lord comes again, he will grant all his faint and weak ones a full inheritance in glory.




            It is true, there are some strong young men and fathers among the saints. But there are many babes in grace too. And even the strongest are, at times, weak. The mightiest hands sometimes hang down. The most faithful soldier weakens in the knees at times. And in the army of Christ, the strongest ones know their own weaknesses, and trust Christ as their strength. As David had his weak ones, so does our Lord. No doubt, there are some sitting here today whose faith is real, whose love is sincere; but, right now, your strength is weakened. You are depressed in spirit, downcast in your soul, and weak. If you could, you would go out to fight the Amalekites, but you cannot. “The spirit indeed is willing; but the flesh is weak.” This faintness may be attributed to many things, without excusing it in the least.


A.    In the case of David’s men, these weak ones might have become faint because of great perplexity.


            David had wrongfully sought to join forces with Achish and the Philistines. David, who had slain Goliath, was seeking to find terms of peace with the Philistines. David, who would not allow his men to harm Saul, was trying to join forces with Saul’s most determined enemies. Would David fight with the Philistines against Saul and Israel?


1.      God’s people are often perplexed, weakened and hindered by the misguided zeal, untempered words, and faulty examples of their God ordained leaders.


            I am not talking now about false prophets. I am talking about faithful men who err in their speech, conduct and attitude. When pastors, elders, deacons, and teachers behave in a manner that is out of character and contrary to the gospel of Christ, they do great harm to the family of God - Brethren, let us ever seek to adorn the gospel of Christ and mark a plain path, by our example, for our brethren to follow.


·        Faith!

·        Faithfulness!

·        Commitment!

·        Contentment!

·        Encouragement!


2.     David, in a time of weakness, unbelief and frustration, set before his brethren an example of weakness, seeking safety by compromise; and many, in perplexion, followed his example!


B.   No doubt, these two hundred men became weak because they looked at the events of providence, instead of looking to the God of providence.


            They saw Ziklag burning. Their wives were gone. Their children were gone. Their cattle were gone. Everything in this world they cherished was gone. These were not ordinary trials. I have seen strong men break under far less pressure. Who has not experienced this weakness? We look at our circumstances and conclude the worst. When everything around us makes it appear that God is against us, we have a hard time believing that God is for us.


1.      These men could not pursue the Amalekites, they could not obey God’s command (v. 8), because they looked to Ziklag’s ashes rather than God’s promise!


            They tried to obey. They went as far as Besor. But they just could not go any farther.


2.     Child of God, never interpret the will of God by providence; but always interpret providence by the will (revelation) of God.


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense.

But trust Him for His grace:

Behind the frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.


His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour:

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.


3.     The only cure for this weakness is faith (Rom. 8:28).


Romans 8:28  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."


·        Trust the wisdom of God.

·        Trust the goodness of God.

·        Trust the promise of God.


C.   No doubt these men became faint because the task before them was great.


            They were a small band of men going out to do battle with a great, well-equipped, mighty army. Though they had both the command of God and the promise of God, they could not think of anything except their own weakness and the Amalekites’ strength.


The fear of failure and defeat made them too weak to fight. It is hard to be very severe with these faint ones when you realize that they were very much like us, isn’t it? The most powerful successful foe in the world is fear!


1.      Fear makes every enemy a giant - Faith slays the giant.

2.      Fear makes every path a mountain - Faith levels the mountain.

3.      Fear makes the feet heavy - Faith makes the wings swift.

4.      Fear makes the brook Besor a torrential river - Faith crosses the brook, swimming if necessary, building a bridge if necessary, but faith crosses the brook.

5.      Fear makes every tree a forest - Faith clears the forest, one tree at a time.

6.      Fear is sizing the obstacle - Faith is obeying the will of God.

7.      Fear looks to the strength of the enemy - Faith looks to the promise of God.


            Apply this to the church and the work of the gospel. Fear says, “We can’t do that!” Faith says, “By the grace of God, for the glory of Christ, according to the will of God, we will do what God has given us to do.”


II.   God has many faint, weak children in his family. But, secondly, I want you to see that CHRIST IS ESPECIALLY THE LORD OF HIS FAINT AND WEAK ONES.


            David was captain over a bunch of weak ragamuffins. Everyone that was in distress, in debt and discontent were the ones who gathered to David. In this too, he was a type of Christ. A poor wretch, head over heels in debt, without a penny to pay, good for nothing, worthless, I came to Christ. No one else would have me. But he graciously received me and became Captain over me.


            We are not among those self-praising, mighty ones, who have accomplished great feats of holiness and wonders of righteousness, by which (they suppose) they have made themselves so great before God that now, by their mighty progress, God has become a debtor to them. Just last week, I received an article from a man who claims to preach the gospel of God’s grace. He was very upset with something I have written. And, in criticizing my doctrine, he went to great lengths to defend what he called “progressive righteousness”!


            We have no part with such men. We mourn our weaknesses, iniquities, transgressions and sin. But we rejoice in the faithfulness of our dear Lord. He delights to be the Lord of sinners who need him. He will not cast them off because they need him.


A.    Though we are often in distress, by reason of our own weakness, Christ is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.


            Though it was through David’s sin that Ziklag was burned, the Lord did not forsake him, or even punish him, but graciously rewarded him. Though it was through weakness that these men stayed behind at Besor, David still used them and rewarded them as if they had single-handedly defeated the Amalekites.


1.      Our Lord chastens us, but never punishes us.

2.      He reproves us, but never renounces us.

3.      He never forsakes or ceases to love his own (Heb. 13:5).


Hebrews 13:5  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."


·        He loves all his children with the same love.

·        He is with us, even when we stray, especially when we stray.

·        He protects us even when we sin, especially when we sin.


B.   It is because we are weak and need him that Christ is ever present and willing to help us, defend us, protect us and provide for us (Isa. 43:1-5; Heb. 4:16).


Isaiah 43:1-5  "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west."


Hebrews 4:16  "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."


            It is not our goodness, but our sinfulness that qualifies us for mercy. The strong do not need Christ’s strength. The righteous do not need his grace. The rich do not need his help. The Son of God still goes home and eats with publicans and sinners. He is especially the Lord of the needy. The needy need mercy!


·        There is nothing we would not do for our Savior if we could; but we cannot do what we would.




            As soon as David had finished his business with the Amalekites, he returned to his faint, weak men at Besor. And he was determined to make them know the joy of his accomplishments. David came to the two hundred who could not follow him, and saluted them, asked about their well-being! That is a picture of Christ!


A.    Though our Lord hides himself from us for a time, for our own good, that we may seek after him, he will return to those who need him.


Illustration: Peter (Mark 16:7).


Mark 16:7  "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."


            And the poor, faint, weak and needy ones will be overjoyed to see him again (Song 3:1-4).


B.   Soon, our Lord Jesus will come again to call his faint ones home, and we will go out with anxious hearts to meet him (1 Thess. 4:17-18).


1 Thessalonians 4:17-18  "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words."



O blessed day! Our faintings will then be over forever!




2 Samuel 2:3  "And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron."


            As David became an advocate for these two hundred faint men in the teeth of their accusers, the Lord Jesus Christ shall be Advocate for us in the day of judgment (vv. 23-24).


1 Samuel 30:23-24  "Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike."


            Look at the reasons David gave for giving all his men an equal share in his spoils, and you will discover why we insist that all God’s saints will have all the fulness of the glories of heaven.


A.    The rewards of heaven are Christ’s spoils, not ours!


“This is David’s spoil!”


B.   The church of God is one body, and we are one with Christ!


Notice how David uses that word “us.”


C.   The glories of heaven are all gifts of divine grace.


            “That which the Lord hath given us!” Human merit has nothing to do with heaven’s glory.


·        The crowns are crowns of grace.

·        The thrones are thrones of grace.

·        The mansions are mansions of grace.

·        The songs are songs of grace.


D.   The weak and faint believer serves Christ just as fully and sincerely as the strong and zealous.


            These men could not go to battle. They were too weak. But they could and did stay by the stuff.


1.      If they had not stayed by the stuff, the other men could not have won the victory.


2.      They were more fearful, but not less earnest or useful than their stronger brethren.


3.      Our Lord honors those who do what they can for him.


·        The Widow.

·        Martha and Mary.

·        The Woman (Mark 14:6-8).


Mark 14:6-8  "And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying."


E.    These men received their reward because it was the will of the king (Lk. 12:32; v. 25).


Luke 12:32  "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."


1 Samuel 30:25  "And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day."





            I am seeking recruits for the King of glory. He wants the needy! If Christ is so kind to the weak, how much more we who are weak should be.