- Rick LoPresti
The 200 who stayed with the stuff
David was a great leader. Not only did he love God, he developed men into people they would not have otherwise been. Although David was anointed to be the next king of Israel (1Sam 16), the current king Saul began to persecute him and made at least 20 attempts to kill him. David fled for his life, and certain men began to gather to him. These were about 400 men that were “in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented (1Sam 22:2)”. These are not who a leader would normally handpick for his core team, but David received them and began to develop them. Soon after, this group grew to 600 (1Sam 23:13), which was the same number Saul started out with (1Sam 13:15, 1Sam 14:2). When David fled from Saul to the land of the Philistines, the 600 men went with him (1Sam 27:2). When he fled from the coup of his son Absalom, they went with him then as well (2Sam 15:18).
When David prepared to avenge himself of the insult of Nabal, 400 were going to go with him, and 200 were going to stay by the stuff to guard it (1Sam 25:30). Lastly, when David headed off to pursue those who had invaded Ziklag to recover their families and possessions, 400 went with him, but 200 stayed behind to guard the stuff because they were too tired to continue the pursuit (1Sam 30:10). There were among the 400 men those which are called “men of Belial (1Sam 30:22)”. This phrase or a slight variation such as “sons of Belial” is used to describe some people in the Bible. Although it is similar to the word Baal which is the name of an idol, it is not actually a reference to an idol. The word Belial means worthless, good for nothing, unprofitable, base, wicked, or ungodly. A son of Belial is a child of worthlessness or wickedness. It seems strange that David would have such men on his team, but he had to work with what he had, and some of them were greatly influenced by his leadership.
As David and the 400 returned from victoriously recovering all that was taken from Ziklag, these men of Belial said that the 200 who stayed with the stuff should get none of their stuff back, but only their families. They also wanted them to have to leave David’s army. David refused their proposition and said that everyone would divide the spoils equally. He went further and made it a law that from then on those who stayed with the stuff would get an equal share with those that went to the battle. We can take away several principles from this. The first is that David was loyal to those who were loyal to him. The second is that he valued the service those 200 men provided by guarding the stuff even though they did not go to the battle. The third is that he valued their intent. These men were hazarding their lives by choosing to be David’s men. None of them were compelled to be there. They believed in David’s anointing, and were loyal to him, even though in that one instance they were just too physically weary to go all the way with him. "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Heb 6:10)."
Lastly, and the main point here, is that weariness is not a disqualifier in itself. These men did not quit. They did as much as they could that day, and they had been consistently contributing to the cause before that one day of weariness. God knows we are just human, although He has called us and equipped us to exceed our normal human limitations (2Pet 1:1-11). He came in the flesh (Jn 1:1-3 & 14, Jn 14:7-11, 2Cor 5:19, Col 2:9, 1Tim 3:16) and went through the full human experience except for sinning Himself (Heb 4:15). He even knew what is was to be weary in His human nature (Jn 4:6). When we get weary, He knows what it is like from personal experience. We get weary spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Weariness is not a sin. Only quitting on faith is a sin (Rom 14:23). The devil does not attack us in our strength, but in our weakness. The enemy attacks us when we are weary (Deut 25:18, 2Sam 17:2, Dan 7:25). God does not condemn the weary. He strengthens them (Ps 68:9, Is 28:11-12, Is 40:28-31, Jer 31:25). The key to overcoming weariness is finding the strength to endure from an abiding relationship with God. We must not base our relationship with God on how we feel, but on the truth of His word, which endures forever (Jn 8:30-32, Jn 15:1-16, 1Pet 1:23, 1Jn 5:1-5). His word is forever (Ps 119:89). When we keep His word, we too can endure.