Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.” I Chronicles 12:38

The Word of God records the names, number, and some of the exploits of many of David’s mighty men. There are varied words of commendation for the men of war, including the fact that they “could keep rank.” This is an interesting phrase, describing the discipline and conduct of the courageous soldiers. Regarding the basic requirements of being battle ready, the quality of keeping rank would be a necessity. The effectiveness of maneuvers, the communication of orders, and the ultimate success of the campaign depend on keeping rank.

This phrase keeping rank would imply the ability to be orderly and organized. To march in unison or operate as a unit would not be possible without organization. Every soldier does not have the liberty to do whatever seems right in his own eyes. To have order, there must also be respect for superiors and submission to delegated authority. The military is known for their ability to recognize and respect the rank of fellow soldiers. There must also be self-discipline. To be in one’s place at all times, to be punctual and prepared, requires conditioning and self-control. Keeping rank is only possible where there is commitment, not only to the battle, but also to the mission. King David was surrounded by comrades who were able to keep rank.

What a lesson this can be for our own lives. In our personal walk with the Lord, as well as in our relationship to our family and fellow church members, this matter of keeping rank is needed. Too many families are better characterized as being confused and chaotic rather than orderly. Submission to authority is often absent and replaced by rebellion and arguing. Admirable virtues, such as loyalty and commitment, are too seldom seen. It is no wonder that the family unit seems to be in such disarray.

The same might be said in many cases concerning the army of God, the local church. God has promised to bless unity and cooperation. The Lord’s work also requires self-discipline, cooperation, obedience, and structured authority. We are in a battle and are called to a life of service to our Lord and His cause. With His help, we should march as a unit, obediently following His commands, and determining to keep rank.