1 Chronicles 19:10-14
Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel…
When the time shall come that "devout men carry us to our burial," when good men will be forming an estimate of the life we have lived on the earth, will they be able to say of us that we were victors in the strife, or will they have sorrowfully to acknowledge that we were beaten in the battle of life? That will depend on how we are conducting ourselves now. There are three conditions of success.
I. FIGHTING ON THE RIGHT SIDE. "Let the Lord do that which is good in his sight," said Joab. Whether we shall win or not depends on whether or not we have God upon our side. If he be for us, who or what can be successful against us? (Romans 8:31; Psalm 118:6). And he will be with us if we are on the side of truth, righteousness, freedom, love.
II. HAVING A GOOD HEART FOR THE BATTLE. (Ver. 13.) Joab sought to infuse heart into the soldiers he was leading. "Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly." He appealed to their patriotism ("for our people") and to their piety ("for the cities of our God"). He could not have touched two more responsive chords than these. We must summon one another, and call upon ourselves to be courageous in the strife before us, mindful of the many reasons we have to do valiantly and well.
(1) The presence and the promised help of God;
(2) the approval of our own conscience, the enjoyment of self-respect;
(3) the crown of joy we shall win if we are able to save souls from death, or lead many along the path of life;
(4) the urgent want of a sin-stricken world that every brave and true man should do his best. The world sorely needs all the witness we can bear, all the help we can bring.
III. MAKING A WISE DISPOSITION OF OUR FORCES. Joab owed his victory in part to sagacious generalship. He selected the best soldiers of his army to encounter the strongest troops of the enemy, the Syrians (ver. 10), hoping to be able to repel the less formidable Ammonites by the less soldierly of his own forces (ver. 11). Moreover, he took care to have a reserve in case of need, by arranging that whoever should be first victorious, whether his brother or himself, instead of continuing the pursuit of the flying enemy, should come at once to strengthen the hands of the still-struggling division (ver. 12). This was a most wise arrangement. Many a battle has been decided by the presence or absence of a reserve force. At Naseby the battle was lost to the king because the royalist leader pursued too far, and was gained for the Parliament because its leader returned in time from following the retreating enemy to fall on the rear of the wing which was still engaged. In the battle of life, the event may turn on a wise disposition of our forces. We are so to expend our physical powers and our mental resources that we shall direct our strength to the most difficult tasks, leaving the less serious ones to our weakness, and that we shall always have something in reserve for the critical hour. Especially should we see to it that we have friends to fall back upon in the trying ordeal. "Woe unto him that is alone when he falleth!" happy he who, when he is hard pressed, has the voice and grasp of friendship to sustain him! By
(1) excellency and admirableness of character, by
(2) beauty and attractiveness of spirit, by
(3) generosity of heart and hand, let us secure the sympathy and the support of friends in the hour when victory or defeat is trembling in the balances. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians.