AND EVERY ONE THAT WAS IN DISTRESS, AND EVERY ONE THAT WAS IN DEBT, AND EVERY ONE THAT WAS DISCONTENTED, GATHERED THEMSELVES UNTO HIM; AND HE BECAME A CAPTAIN OVER THEM: AND THERE WERE WITH HIM ABOUT FOUR HUNDRED MEN. (1 Samuel 22:2).
This verse describes the men who joined themselves to David after he fled from the presence of King Saul who sought to kill him.
This verse is taken from the Old Testament, but it most certainly points us towards the New. The disadvantaged were drawn to David. Why?
David was a famous hero - he had slain Goliath the giant Philistine. But that was not the reason they sought for him. I would argue the reason was because he was righteous. They recognised that he was for God and that God was for him and in him. He had also been anointed by a prophet of God as the future king of Israel. The man of faith could read the writing on the wall, that there was no contest - the house of Saul was doomed and the house of David was set to prosper. If you fell in with David - you fell in with God. This, I would argue, is what motivated them - a desire for God. The same desire that drove Jonathan and David's powerful friendship - the same desire that drives everyone who truly seeks the Lord from the beginning of time to the end.
David is of course a clear type of Christ in these people being drawn to him. In Matthew Christ says: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." They fall into this category.
Another scripture this text brings me to is part of 1 Corinthians 1:
"FOR YE SEE YOUR CALLING, BRETHREN, HOW THAT NOT MANY WISE MEN AFTER THE FLESH, NOT MANY MIGHTY, NOT MANY NOBLE, ARE CALLED: BUT GOD HATH CHOSEN THE FOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD TO CONFOUND THE WISE; AND GOD HATH CHOSEN THE WEAK THINGS OF THE WORLD TO CONFOUND THE THINGS WHICH ARE MIGHTY; AND BASE THINGS OF THE WORLD, AND THINGS WHICH ARE DESPISED, HATH GOD CHOSEN, YEA, AND THINGS WHICH ARE NOT, TO BRING TO NOUGHT THINGS THAT ARE: THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE."
For me, these verses sum up what is wrong in the professing church today. The problem is that they are ignored. Completely ignored. I have been attending church as a converted Christian for 20 years and I can only ever remember hearing the first sentence of these being preached on - and that only once. Considering these are some of the most important verses in the whole of scripture this is nothing short of scandalous. But it gets worse.
When I heard the sermon on the words, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (by a minister of my own denomination), the interpretation given was: "But it doesn't say none - it doesn't say none are called." Woah, I thought, talk about poor exegesis - that's as poor as it gets - completely reversing the emphasis. So now, the purpose of this vital piece of scripture is no longer to emphasise the fact that God focuses on the poor and disadvantaged - but to remind us to bear in mind that he does actually save some of the rich and privileged.
Far be it from me to deny that God saves some of the rich and privileged - but that is not the message of the verse.
So I would ask this question: Why are these verses never touched on in the church?
Is it because they condemn the attitude of the majority of ministers and professing Christians? For example, the professing church has been under the impression for centuries that only men that have attained a high level of academic learning can be accepted as ministers. This is not in the Bible - so where did it come from? Certainly not from John Bunyan and certainly not from the verses quoted. No, it came from nowhere but man's pride.
Ministers suffer from intellectual pride. They have a terrible weakness for thinking highly of their understanding of scripture, their ability to preach/expound, and of course, their personal academic attainments. I have come across this time and time again. It is also natural for men to want to be rich. There is a strong desire for this kind of prosperity in many professing Christians. These things are not compatible with the verses quoted. Hence the avoidance of them as they clearly proclaim an uncomfortable truth. A wonderfully efficient way of grieving the Spirit.
There are many verses which many professing Christians quietly wish were not in the Bible and these verses, I would argue, are high on the list.
If any of you were wondering why our churches are so devoid of spiritual life, I would offer this as a reason.
It all boils down to pride.