(During the summer, I will not be producing our usual daily devotionals. Each week, I will only produce one group study based on the Sunday message. Daily devotions will resume - God willing - on Monday 5th September)
When you need to pick a team for a game or a competition who do you pick? It depends on what you want to achieve. If you are entering for University Challenge, you might want to choose the really clever people, with particular knowledge. If you are trying a tug of war competition you will probably want to pick the strongest people.
If you want to fight for your kingdom you would probably want to pick the best fighters - the ones full of faith and encouragement.
Ideally, you are looking to those who look like they will help you win. But in the story about David from Sunday, who does God bring to David to start rebuilding His kingdom? God has chosen His king - David - to replace Saul, the first king whom the people had chosen. Even David is presented as an unlikely choice to start with; David's father and even Samuel the prophet could not see that God might have chosen David the shepherd boy! (1 Sam. 16:1-13). And the people God brings to David to help him restore the kingdom are not who you would expect either.
We read in 1 Samuel 22: 1-2 :
“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.”
As these people who are the oppressed, outcast and downcast gather to David we see three things:
1. THEY JOIN WITH DAVID
All those who were in difficulty and depressed and bitter came to David in a cave because they expected to find company and maybe comfort and hope. They came to be with David in the cave.
2. THEY WERE PREPARED TO LEARN FROM HIM
It says that David became their commander. That means they were willing to listen to David, learn from him and do what he said.
3. THEY WERE PREPARED TO FOLLOW HIM
They didn’t remain in the cave. Even though the world outside had not changed, they had changed. Under David’s command, they had been transformed from a ragtag group of fearful and oppressed outcasts to those who would leave the safety of the cave to restore and rebuild the kingdom under David's rule. There remained challenges, obstacles and difficulties ahead but they were prepared to follow David out of the cave.
And today, Jesus is the chosen king of God's restored kingdom. Jesus rose out of a dark tomb and invites people to join him, learn from him and follow him as he renews and restores God’s kingdom. just as with David, the people Jesus invites to be part of this restoration are not what we would expect; they are people like you and me!
And like David, there is work ahead with challenges, obstacles and difficulties to bring the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom to a world in need. Jesus promises that if we feel dejected and burdened, we can come to Him; He invites us to come. He makes the weak strong for His service:
‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matthew 11:28-30)
Did God speak to you about anything from Sunday’s message?
How would you summarise this story in your own words?
Share some verses together that talk about whom Jesus invites to join him?
God is gathering the unexpected to know Him and to serve Him in His mission. Why might we be tempted to feel that God cannot use us? What tempts us to believe that God cannot use others?
Think about your situation - Can you say that you have joined Jesus in His service? How is this being expressed?
SIV - Think about the situation of those currently outside of faith; what could you do to help them join with, learn from or follow Jesus?
SIV - Do you have any non-believing friends that you would like to pray for?