“Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, ‘Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart.’ Then David said, ‘You must not do so, my brother, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hands the band that came against us. And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.'” 1 Samuel 30:22-24, NASB.
I found a couple of interesting observations in this text today. First of all, the dissenters are considered wicked and worthless based on their greedy hearts, not based on their actions. They had fought well in battle. They demonstrated courage and fierceness in executing the mission; however, the Scripture calls them worthless. We learn from this that we can do the right things for the wrong reasons and God is not thrown off or confused. He looks at our hearts. He does not need our activity to accomplish His will.
Secondly, David calls these “worthless and wicked” men…brothers. They had stood by him and fought for him in battle. He does not destroy them because their hearts are wrong. Sometimes we can become indignant with others as if we alone hold moral high ground and all those others who have sin in their lives…they are as gum on our shoes. Now, David is not affirming their wickedness. To the contrary, he addresses it and corrects it and gives the reason (God gave us this victory). But, he also does not discount the sinful men in his midst; rather, he embraces them as brothers.
Finally, David explains the reason why we must/ought to be generous with the spoils of “battle.” After all, it is God who gives strength for battle and favor in battle. Who are we to decide others are undeserving of the grace we are enjoying? This is significant…because many today set standards in their lives that are contrary to God’s. “I won’t give to that church because I don’t agree that the direction is best…or they don’t deserve it.” The tone is such that it seems that the speak believes that HE is responsible for his bank account. It is as though he thinks that HE is the one who earned the money and worked the job and amassed the wealth…so HE can decide who is deserving of HIS generosity. David reminds us that if we have the ability to work, it is God who strengthens. If we have a good job or two decent jobs, it is God who provides those opportunities and the ability to perform. God has his reasons and He may just as well desire to meet the needs of others through the labors of some (which is the context of the story). Those who disagree or think otherwise…are the wicked and worthless ones described in the story.
Let’s not be that guy! God’s grace is not to be monopolized by those who received it.