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Discerning of Spirits

Holy Spirit & Spiritual Gifts: The Second Civil War & the Righteous Rebel

The Old Testament has many instances of the Holy Spirit coming upon great, honorable men of God with positions such as prophets, judges, kings, architects, & high priests. But, the Holy Spirit also chose a traitor to his family, his tribe, and his king.

After the Holy Spirit abandoned King Saul, but before David could claim his rightful place as King of Israel, the country spit in two, between the Northern Kingdom, which supported the Benjamite Saul of Gibeah, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, the family tribe of David of Bethlehem.

A similar civil war had erupted during the time of the Judges.

A Levite had a concubine, who had been unfaithful, and fled to her father’s house in the town of Bethlehem in Judah. Four months later, the Levite went to bring his concubine back home and during their journey, decided to rest in the Benjamite city of Gibeah. The Levite and his concubine were provided shelter by a local man from the same region (Mount Ephraim) that the Levite was from, but, during the night, a group of men stormed the house demanding that the Levite be turned over so they could sexually assault him! Instead, his unfaithful concubine was given to the mob, who abused her throughout the night. She was found at the door’s threshold the next morning and the Levite took her body home and cut it into twelve pieces, which were sent to the twelve tribes of Israel (ref. Judges 19).

Men throughout the country rose up against the City of Gibeah, demanding that the men who had committed the treachery be brought out to be executed, but the Benjamites refused and instead made war against the other tribes of Israel. After two major losses, the men of Israel enacted a plan that tricked and routed the Benjamite soldiers who were defending the city. After Gibeah was burned to the ground, the Israelite soldiers went through the Benjamite territory, wiping out the towns and cities which had not stood up against their fellow Benjamites to enact justice.

In the end, only six-hundred Benjamite men survived.

Since no Benjamite women were left, the town of Jabesh-Gilead, which had refused to send men to fight against the City of Gibeah, was destroyed and Gadite maidens were given to the surviving Benjamites as wives. It was from these six-hundred spared Benjamites and their Gadite wives that Saul claimed his heritage(ref. Judges 20).

After David’s many victories following the defeat of Goliath the Philistine giant, King Saul became jealous of the nation’s love for David. Recognizing that his political power was threatened, Saul repeatedly attacked and had his men chase after David, forcing him to flee the country and seek refuge amongst the Philistines whom he’d previously warred against.

During his banishment to Ziklag, a Judean city on the edge of Philistine territory, David and his men prepared to fight alongside the Philistines to launch attacks against Saul’s army, but the town was raided by the Amalekites. After tracking down the raiders and getting the prisoners and goods that were stolen back and looting the attacker’s encampment, David divided the spoils of war amongst all the men, rather than just those who had fought, and sent gifts to the towns throughout Judah which had previously provided them food, water, and shelter when they had been pursued by Saul.

These gifts and heroic acts earned David much support amongst his fellow tribesmen within the region of Judah. But his most important support came from outside his tribal ties.

After hearing stories of his exploits and recognizing that David was the rightful king of Israel, military men began to defect to David’s side. But these men were not the societal outcasts and criminals which David’s army was currently composed of, but skilled men of war. They were “brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains”. They were “armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows and sling bows using either their right or left hand”, who’s weakest member could challenge one hundred men singlehandedly. These men forded the overflowing Jordan River during the flooding season and their presence sent all who looked upon them fleeing in terror.

While these men were great fighters and military commanders, the most impressive aspect about them was the fact that they came from the tribes of Benjamin and Gad. These men who joined David were from the same tribes that the current King Saul hailed from, and were among the warriors who had previously helped King Saul in battle and were even relatives of him. Their Benjamite and Gadite forefathers did not rise against the evil men of Gibeah, Saul’s hometown, who had done unbelievable evil to the concubine from Bethlehem, David’s birthplace, but these men chose to align themselves with the Lord.

When David saw the group approaching his stronghold and inquired of their intentions, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Amasai, the Chief of the Thirty who declared “We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.” This heroic act and prophetic word manifested in the Nation of Israel’s heart being moved and hundreds of thousands of men from all the other tribes gathered to turn Saul’s kingdom over to David, as the Lord had said.

Amasai, the Chief of the Thirty, whom the Spirit of the Lord came upon, was the first to pledge allegiance to David, but in doing so, he also marked himself a traitor to his relative Saul, abandoned his Tribe of Benjamin, and committed treason against the crown. But unlike their forefathers who put their bloodline, heritage, and regional and political alliances as their top priority, Amasai and the Benjamites and Gadites who joined David chose to desert their previous ranks to fight on behalf of God’s Will.

We need to be brave and not allow tradition, regional, religious, and political affiliations, cloud and misdirect our spiritual walks. As members of His Spiritual Kingdom, we must always discern and orient ourselves to ensure we are fighting to advance the cause of Christ. The institutions of men’s design will fall and fail so as wise Spirit-filled followers we should place Him as King of our lives.

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