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. Now there were about four hundred men with him.
— First Samuel 22:1-2
About four hundred hopeless men gathered themselves to David, and he began to form them into his army (1 Sam. 22:2). God sent these men to David, and he did not complain. Whenever Saul found someone who was valiant or mighty, he took that person to himself (14:52). David, however, didn’t do this. He received and trained all who came to him.
If I had been David, I might have said, “Please God, I don’t want to run a refugee camp or treatment center. What are You doing to me by sending me all these problem cases?” But David was not like this. Once these hopeless men came to David, he took them in, fed them, and worked with them.
He felt responsible for them. Perhaps he felt, “Although others might see these men as problem cases, after I live and work with them, everyone will be surprised at the potential of these men God gave me and what they have become.” Unlike Saul, who recruited all the strongest and most valiant men in Israel, David took those the Lord sovereignly sent to him.
Therefore, David became the captain of these four hundred men. I believe that the group who were later called David’s mighty men came from this first group of seemingly hopeless cases. In our church life, we should learn this lesson. We shouldn’t try to recruit those who seem more promising than others; instead, we should receive those the Lord sends us.
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, page 62.