Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Defining Kingdom men (people)

1 Chronicles 11:10 Now these are the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.

Over the past few days we have looked at what it means to be a might man (or woman) of God and an effective person for the Lord.  In today's blog we want to look at what it means to be a Kingdom man.  King David had a group of men who had come to serve him and support him in his rise as Israel's King.  Much of what we read of their efforts can apply directly to believers aiming to be about God's Kingdom buisness.

Concerning the contents of 1 Chronicles 11, and how they relate to God's Kingdom work, Matthew Henry notes:

"David reckoned his success as not from the mighty men that were with him, but from the Mighty God, Whose presence is all in all.  In strengthening him, they (David's mighty men) strengthened themselves and their own interests.  His (King David's) advancement was theirs.  We shall gain by what we do in our places for the support for the kingdom of the Son of David."

That last comment on the "kingdom of the Son of David" is of course in reference to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ - who touching His humanity was descended from David. (please compare Romans 1:1-3)

So what does it take to be a man (or woman) of Christ's Kingdom?  
1. Strong Support for Christ's Kingdom
A Kingdom man will first and foremost be supportive of the Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is the domain of His authority in believer's hearts, in the church and ulitmately over the whole world.  Clearly the Kingdom right now is primarily invisible, however the day will come when the Kingdom is more visible than invisible at Christ's second coming. 

God's Kingdom refers to the work He is doing calling people to Himself through Christ through the Gospel.  We read in 1 Chronicles 11:10 Now these are the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Jesus notes in Matthew 6:33 to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you."

2. Stand their ground
Kingdom men not only support the work of the Kingdom (whether it be through their efforts, giving, time), but secondly in their resolve to take a stand for the Kingdom.  In 1 Chronicles 11:14 an episode is recounted where in Israel's history, enemies were stealing farmlands from God's people.  It was a time of war and some men rose up and stood their ground for the Kingdom of Israel.  We read in the text: "They took their stand in the midst of the plot and defended it, and struck down the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great victory."

Standing ground for Jesus' sake isn't easy.  Sometimes the very ones you have to stand against may very well be a friend or close associate. (As in the case of Paul confronting Peter in Galatians 2:11-21)  God's Kingdom must be established at all cost.  In your own life, are you standing the ground of your heart, guarding it against influences opposite of Christ?  Anyone who takes a stand for the Kingdom must be prepared to stand their ground.  (Ephesians 6:11-12)

3. Seek to please the Master
In 1 Chronicles 11:17-21 David had in times past craved some fresh water from the srpings of Bethelehem.  The men who were with him pushed past enemy lines, at the risk of their own life, to please their master.  They returned with the water, only to watch David pour it out on the ground!

Now when I have read this text, I think to myself: "good grief David, could you had not at least took a sip and then poured it out on the ground?"  But note what David said in 1 Chronicles 11:19 “....Be it far from me before my God that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did."  David viewed his love and honor for these men above fulfilling the desires of his flesh.  David aimed to please His Master - the Lord.

These three mighty men are never recorded as getting angry with David.  To me that is the most curious aspect of the scripture at times - what is not said.  May I suggest that the reason why the Bible doesn't record their response is because they weren't shocked.  They so wanted to please their master, they knew him.  They knew that his chief aim in life was to please the Lord above his fleshy appetites.  David's pouring out of the water only communicated how much he honored their effort by an act of worship.  Pouring out of liquid was an expression of worship.   They aided in the one expression he was unable to do at the time of his exile under the regime of Saul - Worship!

4. Strength of character
So a Kingdom man will strongly support the Kingdom, Stand their ground for the Kingdom and Seek to Please the Master of the Kingdom.  But notice lastly that a Kingdom man will possess Strength of character.  1 Chronicles 11:22 comments on one of David's mighty men - Beniah - "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day."

Beniah came from a line of men who were valiant or of noble character.  Furthermore he himself was "mighty in deeds".  He never ran from trouble, he chased it, and killed it.  A Kingdom man will be fearless, because He knows He has the power of God in and through Him.  Benaiah is not noted for strong muscles, but rather his mighty deeds, due to a strong character.  Jude 20 underscore this trait for the Christian - "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit".

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