I Chron. xii. 16-40
The King's Challenge.
[In the Zenana Mission Quarterly, we find the following Bible reading, given by Mrs. Colville, as the opening address at a missionary conference. It seems eminently suitable for ourselves at the opening of our work for the fall and winter. May we all take it to heart.]
WE have before us in I Chron. xii. 16-40, a most interesting account of David gathering his army; but a greater than David is here, and, spiritually, we may find what should be a representation of ourselves as we are brought together in conference.
1. The King's Challenge (verses 16, 17).—"There came of the children of Benjamin and Judah . . . unto David. And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you."
Such is also the challenge of our King Jesus. He comes, as it were, to meet us, asking only that we be sincere in coming to Him, and in loving condescension He says, "to help Me." The two first essentials for all service are here; first, whole-hearted sincerity on our part in coming, and secondly, that close union with Himself in the divine life, which is beautifully expressed here, typically, in the words of David, "Mine heart shall be knit unto you." We abiding in Him, and He in us,—knit together in one,—for "without Me, ye can do nothing."
2. The Hearty Response (verse 18).—"Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse; peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers, for thy God helpeth thee." These words have in them the very spirit of full consecration, and only so can they be ours, as we bring them from full hearts in the power of the Spirit to our King. "Thine are we, King Jesus, and on Thy side, thou Son of David." Peace to thee. Peace to thy helpers, for "thy God helpeth thee," remembering His own words, "All power is given unto Me." Then we read, "David received them, and made them captains of the band."
3. The Object of David's Helpers (verse 23).—"To turn the kingdom of Saul to him"; and here too is our object represented, to gather out precious souls from the power of Satan "into the kingdom of God's dear Son." A mighty conflict! but our King Jesus shall prevail.
4. The Needed Characteristics (verses 32, 33).—It is said of Issachar, they were "men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do." ls not that our need to-day as workers? To have "understanding" not only "of the times," but of the people amongst whom we go,—tact and judgment on every hand, that we may "know" what we "ought to do."
"Expert in war." Our sword is the Word of God. We need to be trained in the use of it, wielding it skillfully in the power of the Spirit. "Able to keep rank." Walking in step, one with another, like soldiers on the march. Workers at home, and workers abroad, going forth as one army, in perfect discipline, each in his own place, spiritually "keeping rank." "Not of double heart." How deeply expressive! Not two sides,—one for Christ, and one for the world,— but wholly for Him in uprightness and truth.
5. Their Perfect Unity (verse 38).—They were "of one heart to make David king." So should it be with us. Dropping all minor differences, united in the one desire that Christ alone shall be exalted "King over all."
6. Their Brethren prepared for them (verse 39).—So again with us to-day. We meet as representatives of the women of our Church, but what of those we represent? Are they not strengthening our hands by prayer? Are we not linked together with them in the one work,—in our committees and in our congregations are they not with us? And, in this sense, are they and we not helping in preparation for those called to go forth to the battles of the Lord in the foreign field?
7. The Result (verse 40).—"There was joy in Israel. "And so shall it be with us. Going forth wholeheartedly for Christ, our one aim that the kingdom may be turned from Satan unto Him,—laboring together at home and abroad,—stepping forward in rank under our King Jesus, success shall surely be ours. We shall see the work prosper, and souls gathered in; there shall be joy now, and finally, the word to each one of the faithful soldiers, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
(Woman's Baptist Foreign Missionary Society)
"The Helping Hand" Sept. 1898.