The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.
So David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of his father’s family learned about it, they went down there to him. 2 All those who were in trouble or owed someone money or were discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. He had about four hundred men with him. – I Samuel 22:1-2
A very strange thing happened to David as he was running from King Saul. He became a leader.
David had not taken any men with him when he fled Saul’s court. Nor was he looking to build an army or a following. In fact, it is probably easier to hide without an entourage. But, followers found him.
The verses from I Samuel tell us they were fellow fugitives… likely thieves, liars, complainers, fault-finders, and rebellious men with rebellious hearts and attitudes. They probably had no love for kings or authority, yet they subjected themselves to David’s leadership.
This prompted two questions for discussion. 1) Why did these men desire to follow anyone? 2) Why did these men decide to follow David?
In answer to question No. 1, scripture stated that these men were discontented. Discontentment often comes from seeing the world is off track and our desire for things to be made right. We want the world as it was meant to be, as it was in the beginning… blessed; not cursed and broken as it became when sin entered the world. In order to get things back on track, you need a leader…with a vision….and a plan.
Addressing question No. 2, what did these men see in David that made them think he had a vision and a plan? Things had not gone David’s way for quite a while; there is no doubt that he had experienced his own discontent at times. He had not been in charge of his own life as a young man tending his father’s sheep. Nor had he been in charge of his own life as a soldier and servant of King Saul. In both situations, David did as he was told; but, he did it very well and without grumbling. How is that?
Because David knew that God was the one who was in charge of all! This God, who was the supreme ruler, gave David the strength and ability he needed to slay bears and lions, and the skills for success on the battlefield. Beyond his physical abilities, David had reverence for God as his authority. He extended this reverence to Saul, the Lord’s anointed. Following God gave David clearer vision, and direction, making him a leader worth following!
Something to Ponder:
God uses discontent to accomplish His purposes in us. The question is how will we respond to our discontent? Will we look to God’s leadership like David did or will we be more like Saul, going mad and throwing spears?