THOSE WHO WAR AND THOSE WHO TARRY WITH THE BAGGAGE
1 Samuel 30:21-25
A. The background of David’s pursuit of the Amalekites – cf. 1 Samuel 29, 30:1-20
1. David had been fleeing from the wrath of Saul and had been living among the Philitines
a. In 1 Samuel 29 David was encamped with the Philistines in Aphek ready to fight in Jezreel to capture this strong hold
b. One of the princes of the Philistines voiced disapproval of David being among them thinking that he would turn on them in battle since he was an Israelite
c. So king Achish sent David back to Ziklag
d. On his way back he had received word that the Amalekites had burned Ziglag and had taken captive all of their families
e. David then goes to retrieve their families leaving some of the men behind because they were weary from the travel – who stayed with the baggage
f. David return in victory having retrieved all the families and acquired a nice booty
2. 1 Samuel 30:21-25
a. Notice particularly the ordinance established in Israel…
b. “…for as his share is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his share be that tarrieth by the baggage: they shall share alike.” (1 Sam 30:24)
3. There are some similarities between David’s statute and what is true with regards to our service as Christians today…
a. For we too are engaged in a battle
b. Though our battle is a spiritual one
1) 1 Timothy 6:12
2) Ephesians 6:12-13
3) 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
B. In this lesson, I would like to point some of these similarities; beginning with the idea that…
A. GOD’S ARMY REQUIRES TWO FORMS OF SERVICE
1. Any military venture is dependent upon both support and battle forces
a. Much military planning revolves around how to support those at “the front”
b. For military leaders learned long ago:
1) “Men won’t fight on an empty stomach”
2) “Men won’t march without shoes”
c. Many battles have been won by the efficiency of the support forces in keeping up with those on the front line
d. This was one reason why Eisenhower was such a great general…he was a logistical genius
2. The same is true with God’s army and the battle we face
a. Two forms of service are required:
1) There are the “fighters”, and the “guards of the baggage”
2) That is, there are the “teachers” and “those that support them”
b. This truth is well illustrated in the New Testament
1) During Christ’s own ministry – cf. Luke 8:1-3
2) In the case of Paul, who was supported by:
a) Churches – 2 Corinthians 11:8-9; Philippians 4:15-16
b) Individuals – e.g., Gaius (Rom. 16:23), Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), Philemon (Phile 22)
c. Yes, to carry out God’s battle, there must be “preachers” and “supporters”
1) A logical and essential part in the saving of souls – cf. Romans 10:13-15
2) God’s army requires both…
a) Those who are willing to serve at “the front”
b) Those who are willing to serve at “the base”
d. As we examine this concept further, one might ask “Which service is more important?” Well…
B. BOTH SERVICES ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT
1. This is certainly true in physical warfare
a. One might think the men on the front are the “most important”
b. While we cannot discount their importance, battles have been won or lost based upon logistical support!
2. This is just as true in the body of Christ
a. In Romans 12:3-8, we learn that in the body of Christ (the church)…
1) There are many members
2) The members do not have the same function!
b. In Ephesians 4:15-16, we learn that growth depends upon “the effective working by which every part does its share”
c. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-22, Paul stresses that all the members and their diverse functions are vital!
1) No one can say that they themselves are not important – 1 Corinthians 12:12-19
2) No one can say that others are not important – 1 Corinthians 12:20-22
3. Failure to realize this truth can be disastrous!
a. It can leave many brethren disappointed, apathetic, and fruitless!
1) If we are not careful, we can overemphasize one work to the neglect of others
a) E.g., stressing evangelism to the neglect of edification and benevolence (despite the warning of James 3:1, and the implication of 1 Corinthians 12:29)
b) This can make some feel that only one kind of work is worthy, noble, or important
2) With such a misconception, some may involve themselves in a work for which they are not suited
a) When failure comes, they become disappointed
b) Unless shown alternative ways to serve, they can become apathetic and fruitless
b. It often hinders the Lord’s cause in spreading the gospel!
1) Lack of support has hindered many foreign or smaller works where evangelists were unable to raise support
2) If those “at the base” don’t appreciate the importance of their support, the Lord’s body becomes handicapped in its ability to function!
c. Realizing the importance of both kinds of service, let no one despise one type of service over another!
d. Let’s find wherever we can best serve the Lord, and do so properly, which leads to our next point…
C. BOTH SERVICES DEMAND THE SAME GOAL, SACRIFICE, AND ZEAL
1. In the case of David and his men…
a. The men “at the baggage” (or, at the base) weren’t there because they were lazy or scared
1) Though exhausted, they were just as motivated as those who went on
2) Their families had been kidnapped, too!
b. Someone had to stay with the baggage, or the rest of the force might not have caught up with the enemy
1) Staying behind was a form of sacrifice, when it was your family out there somewhere in the hands of the enemy!
2) With the same goal, sacrifice, and zeal as those who pursued the enemy, they did their job of guarding the baggage!
2. To fulfill our roles in the Lord’s army, all need the same goal, sacrifice, and zeal!
a. What is our “goal”?
1) “that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pt. 4:11)
2) To glorify God, whether in our service or in our teaching!
3) A goal like this can transform even secular or mundane service into a sacred and important one!
a) E.g., providing baby-sitting services so the parents can be free to visit and teach others
b) E.g., working as a common laborer so as to be able to support preachers in a foreign country
b. What kind of “sacrifice”?
1) “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pt. 4:10)
2) Each person has a gift (or more), an ability, given to him by God’s manifold grace
a) As stewards, we will one day give an account – cf. Matthew 25:14-30
b) We may not have the same talent, or number of talents, but we are expected to do the best with what we have!
c) We certainly shouldn’t squander what has been given to us!
3) While we may serve in different capacities, we should have the same sense of sacrifice!
a) Some believe preachers should be willing to sacrifice more than others
b) Is such a view consistent with what we are learning here?
(1) Should the “quartermasters” back at the base be squandering what may have been given them to support the “soldiers” at the front?
(2) Should we not all have the same willingness to sacrifice if the need is there?
(3) If brethren “at the base” sacrificed as much as they expected those to do who are “at the front”, would there not be more good things being done?
c. What kind of “zeal”?
1) “as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Pt. 4:11)
2) Whatever our ability, whatever our service, God gives us the strength to do it!
3) Shall we be slack with what God has given us?
4) We should be zealous to utilize what we have in a manner worthy of God’s gracious gift!
d. It is not so much what service we render to God, but how we do it.
e. And what sacrifice or zeal might be expected of one should be expected of all, for we seek the same goal!
3. Finally, let’s quickly note the point that…
D. BOTH SERVICES RECEIVE THE SAME REWARD
1. We saw where David made this a law in Israel
a. “…they shall share alike” (1 Sam. 30:24-25)
b. Whether they stayed by the supplies, or served in the battle
2. The principle is repeated in the New Testament
a. Jesus taught it in Matthew 10:41-42
b. Illustrated with regards to deacons, who are servants of the church – 1 Timothy 3:13
3. This should help us in our zeal and sacrifice
A. Too often, the Lord’s battle is hindered by the lack of support…
1. Some may be willing to go and teach
2. But others may not be willing to send and support
B. Yet we have seen that both forms of service…
1. Are equally important
2. Require the same goal, sacrifice, and zeal
3. Receive the same reward
C. Wherever we may serve in the Lord’s “army”, whether “At The Front Or At The Base”, let’s do it as good stewards and with great zeal!
D. Speaking of the Lord’s “army”, have you been “enlisted” by the Lord yet (2 Tim. 2:3-4)
E. Through the precious gospel of Christ, God is calling all who will come to Him (2 The. 2:14)