“So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them.” – 1 Samuel 22:1-2 NASB
What’s a coalition? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s second definition, it’s, “a temporary alliance of distinct parties, persons, or states for joint action.” While the most popular concept of the word’s meaning is the unification of a group for the purpose of a political agenda or correcting some perceived social injustice, it’s not always necessary to have a great cause in mind when developing a coalition. In fact, one dictionary’s definition of the word offers the inference of ‘forming a group by the coalescing of originally distinct elements.’ The idea is that of unifying a bunch of people who share a similar narrative of life.
The narrative of David’s life offered just the right motivation for creating a loosely bound coalition of societal underdogs. The son of Jesse hadn’t developed any models for forming a group of ‘have-nots’ to fight back against ‘the man.’ In fact, this former ‘shepherd of the sheep around the hills of Bethlehem’ refused to take up any weapons against his antagonist known as, ‘the Lord’s Anointed.’ David’s band of loyalist grew organically without any forethought or purpose and intent of heart. David was running for his life, and word got out that Saul’s former ‘right-hand man’ had fallen into disfavor with the king. That’s when everyone distressed, in debt, and discontent gathered to him; beginning with his brothers, expanding to his father’s household and swelling to those in misfortune by station of life.
What could fugitive David actually bestow upon this coalition of misfits? He offers hope! Not by words of coercive conversation, but his life woos people. It seemed like yesterday multitudes were engaged in dancing and singing songs of appreciation for David’s warrior prowess. Combining tambourines with musical instruments, they spontaneously bellowed in ballad, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten-thousands.” The populace ascribed greater victory to this shepherd-turned-warrior than even King Saul.
And now, the great champion of Israel was on the run fearing for his life. How the mighty have fallen. Rumors abounded of David’s humiliation as he had failed to please his employer, the king. It was a colossal breakdown. The sweet psalmist of Israel’s collapse was catastrophic. Yet we discover that in either David’s ‘warrior-greatness’ or ‘fugitive-collapse,’ his life offered tremendous hope for recovery to those around him. At least that’s what the outcasts gathering at the cave of Adullam expected. These ‘losers of society’ exchanged—through trust in David—a life of destitution for hope. Ultimately, these societal underdogs become David’s mighty men of Israel. This unseemly troop of failures become David’s coalition of warriors throughout his journey to throne and Kingdom.
If God could use this shepherd, become warrior, turned fugitive, future king, God can work miracles for the distressed, in debt and discontented of life! All that’s needed is a champion like David. Oh, wait; God has presented humankind a champion like David! Jesus, who was ‘descended from David according to the flesh’ is the hope of all those in distress, in debt and discontent. This Man, God’s Man, touched with all the feelings of our infirmities has built a coalition of mighty men for the Kingdom of God. A coalition of God’s mighty. Want to volunteer? The qualifications to join are simple. Everyone distressed, in debt and discontent—come to Jesus and find rest.