Corporate Responsibility For Throne Interests
There was a sense – and this gets very near to the heart of it – in which David had to be saved and succoured by these men. You notice in verses 16 and 17, one of these giants, in a set of new armour, marked out David and made him his object of destruction, and David was involved in very great peril. The man who had slain the original giant was now in peril from one of that giant’s offspring, and one of the mighty men came to David’s rescue and succoured him and slew the giant. Then David’s men said to him, ‘We cannot afford to lose you; you keep back and let us deal with this; we will come between you and this sort of thing.’ You will say it is a wrong interpretation to put the Lord Jesus in David’s place there – ‘Lord Jesus, You keep out of this, we are going to look after You!’ Yet there is a sense in which that is right where the Church is concerned; the very interests and honour and glory and throne of the Lord Jesus are bound up with the Church.
The matter is no longer His alone, and there is a sense in which He stands to lose if the Church fails – in which God would say about His Son, ‘This is not the time for you to come out personally; you have done that; this is the time for the Church to take up your interests.’ David’s life, David’s throne, were put into the hands of these men, and they saw their responsibility, and how great it was, and what David stood to lose if they did not take definite action about it. There must be a company of the Lord’s people who rise to that level, who see that the tremendous significance of the throne of the Lord Jesus is in their hands. In one way it sounds a presumptuous thing to say, but you see what I mean. If we do not take responsibility over this matter of these evil forces in their assailing, if we are not strong in the Lord and do not move out against the principalities and powers, it is not only ourselves who are going to lose, but our Lord also. His throne is going to be affected.
He has now, in a sense, made us responsible for the final issue, which is not personal but collective and corporate. So there must be a people (actual numbers are mentioned in David’s case but we must not take that literally: they represent a specific inner company) who have seen the mighty issues of what is presented in the Letter to the Ephesians – those eternal counsels of God concerning Jesus Christ, and the place of the Church in those counsels as instrumental for their full realization – and have got through all personal interest in the matter of blessings, and are now committed to their Lord and to God’s intention concerning Him, and realize that the responsibility is with them. That is what I feel is the Lord’s word to us at this time – not to be just ‘ordinary’ Christians, but to realize that God must have a company of His Own, in the midst of the general rank and file, who answer to David’s mighty men, to take up the ultimate issues of Christ’s Lordship on His behalf.
The Lord is involved in these battles into which we are precipitated, and they are not just our battles, they are the battles of the Lord. There are situations and propositions which present themselves which are gigantic; they are paralysing if you can be paralysed. When Goliath started to shout, the people were literally paralysed – if that is in keeping with being able to run away! But all their strength went in the presence of this man’s showing of himself. You can be petrified by some of the situations that the enemy brings about as tests of faith. And then what is it going to be? Well, one deciding factor will be whether we consider ourselves or our Lord; whether at once we begin to feel sorry for ourselves, get down on to our own ground – which is just what the enemy wants to bring about – or whether we say, ‘Well, the Lord’s name and honour are involved in this; the real issue here is the Lordship, the Sovereignty, the Ascendancy of the Lord’ – and, as they did, meet the situation on that ground. They did not always wait for these enemies to come and start the thing.
When the enemies loomed up before them, these men took the initiative. I am the last to suggest that we should be careless and frivolous over attacking spiritual forces. We can do that to our undoing; and I also remind you that this is a thing which it is very dangerous to do individually. This is the business for the Church – the corporate assault upon situations which loom up and which could literally paralyse and put out of action. The Lord must have people like this in whom there is the initiative of His Lordship.