Title: WHO SHALL BE REWARDED?
Text: 1 Samuel 30:21-25
Subject: David’s Statute For The Sharing of the Spoil
Date: Tuesday Evening - March 29, 1988
There were six hundred men in Israel who had 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).
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).
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).
3. As David pursued his enemies, some of his men had to be left behind (vv. 9-10).
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.
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).
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).
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).
Today, I have a God-given word of comfort for my faint, weak and weary brethren 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.
I. IN THE FAMILY OF GOD THERE ARE MAN FAINT, WEAK BRETHREN.
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 tonight 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.
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).
· Trust the wisdom of God.
· Trust the goodness of God.
· Trust the promise of God.
C. And I am sure that 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. And 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).
· 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).
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 if we could. But we cannot do what we would.
III. Thirdly, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN TO HIS FAINT ONES.
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).
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).
O blessed day! Our faintings will then be over forever!
IV. AND WHEN CHRIST OUR LORD COMES AGAIN, HE WILL GRANT ALL HIS FAINT AND WEAK ONES A FULL INHERITANCE IN GLORY (2 Sam. 2:3).
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).
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).
E. These men received their reward because it was the will of the king (Lk. 12:32; v. 25).
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.