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THE LORD GAVE DAVID VICTORY

2 Samuel 8:1-10:29
Key Verse: 8:14b

The last lesson was about God’s promise to David and David’s response to it. When David showed his desire to build a house for God, God revealed his desire and plan to build a house for him, that is, the Messiah’s eternal kingdom through David’s line. David recognized the unusual way of God’s dealing with him and expressed his deep gratitude and claimed God’s promise in his prayer, saying, “…with your blessing the house of your servant will be established forever.” We thank and praise God for his unusual way of dealing with each of us through his Son Christ Jesus. Our salvation through him is eternal, our relationship with God the Father is eternal, and Christ’s kingdom is our kingdom. Our future is in him, secure and forever. May we keep his amazing promise concerning Christ and his kingdom in our hearts and live by faith in him and in his promise. In today’s passage we see the peak of David’s kingdom, defeating all the enemy kingdoms around Israel, reigning in justice and righteousness for all his people, and showing God’s kindness to Mephibosheth, a crippled man, son of Jonathan. This is an excellent picture of the kingdom of the Messiah, Christ the Lord. May we be deepened in the grace of our God through his Son Christ Jesus.

First, David’s victory (8:1-14; 10). Verse 1 says, “In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.” David’s first priority was to deal with the Philistines to the west; these he quickly defeated and subjugated (see 5:25). Metheg Ammah, this is probably a reference to the “chief city” of the Philistines, Gath (cf. 1 Chr. 18:1). David defeated his enemies to the west.

David also defeated the Moabites who lived in Transjordan, east of the Dead Sea. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. This showed David’s power in God to kill and save. He defeated his enemies to the east. The Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute.

In verses 3-11 he defeated northern enemies, Hadadezer king of Zobah and the Aramean kingdom of Damascus. When Hadadezer went to restore his control along the Euphrates River, David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers. And he struck down twenty-two thousand of Arameans who came to help Hadadezer. He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. At these victories, the author commented, “The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.”

Then there is the story of David’s dedication to the LORD. He took the gold shields (not used in battle, but for decoration) that belonged to the officials of Hadadezer and brought them to the LORD. From Tebah and Berothai, the towns that belonged to Hadadezer, King David took a great quantity of bronze that was later used in the construction of the temple (1 Chro. 18:8). When Thou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and congratulate him on his victory in battle over Hadadezer, who had been at war with Tou. Joram brought with him articles of silver and gold and bronze. King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued. He also dedicated the plunder taken from Hadadezer, king of Zobah. This dedication to the LORD showed that David’s heart was (not proud or corrupted, but) drawn to God in the midst of continuous victories and great amount of material gain. This is as Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21; Lk 12:34).

Then in verses 13 and 14, “And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David.” Thus David defeated his enemies to the south.

The author commented once again, “The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.” The author did not say, “David was victory wherever he went”, but “the LORD gave David victory wherever he went.” David’s victory came from the LORD when he depended on the LORD with his heart dedication to the LORD at each victory. David confessed in Psalm 20:7-8, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”

Chapter 10 is the long description of David’s defeating the Ammonites and the Arameans. Hanun new king of the Ammonites badly treated David’s delegation whom David sent to express his sympathy to Hanun at the death of his father Nahash. Hanun misunderstood David’s genuine heart by hearing the Ammonite nobles’ twisted advice. He seized David’s men, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away. When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.” When the Ammonies realized that they had become a stench in David’s nostrils, they hired twenty thousand Aramean foot soldiers and thirteen thousand other men. On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him. The combined army force of the Ammonites and the Arameans and other people looked strong and powerful at front and back. So he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites. Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.” Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and the fled before him. When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans were fleeing, they fled before Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem. The hired soldiers were of no use in helping the Ammonites at the mighty of David’s soldiers. The Ammonites had to pay the high price at humiliating David’s men.

After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they regrouped. Hadadezer had Arameans brought from beyond the River; they went to Helam, with Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them. When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel, crossed Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans formed their battle lines to meet David and fought against him. But they fled before Israel and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobach the commander of their army, and he died there. When all the kings who were vasals of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, hey made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore.

This is really the peak of David’s powerful kingdom. Again it is because the LORD gave David victory wherever he went. This is a picture of the Messiahs victory over sin and Satan through his death and resurrection. Since Jesus our Lord defeated sin and Satan, we have victory in Jesus in any situation. This victory is first of all inner victory. It is easy to misunderstand the victorious Christian life as victorious and successful life in this world, having firm security and position and wealth. If one does not have inner, spiritual victory, he is not truly victorious amid external victories and blessings. If you study hard and get high grades not worshipping God absolutely, that’s not a victorious life. And obtaining a promising job itself is not a victory. Also, to become healthy and wealthy neglecting our relationship with God is not a victorious life. Always, our enemy is the devil, who deceives us and lead us to ignore our spiritual life and the word of truth. From time to time the devil tries to crush us through human disappointments and seeming failures in life. The devils gives us heavy blows through financial problem, future job problem, health problem, children problem, other family member problem, human relationship problem, etc. But in Christ Jesus we are not crushed and defeated. We can rise again, repenting of our sins and newly put our faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again from the dead. That’s why Proverbs 24:16 says, “though the righteous fall seven times, they raise again…” As for me how to have a victorious worship service in the filling of the Spirit is a great concern and challenge. Surely it is not the matter of number of worshippers or external elements but the attitude of the worshippers beginning with myself. Often I am frustrated and despair when the worship did not go as I expected. But I can rise again and challenge again to have the Spirit-filled and victorious worship service each Sunday, and also challenge again and again to have a victorious disciple-raising ministry, not just in terms of the number. Apostle Paul confessed his victorious life this way in Philippians 4:12-13, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want, I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” He also said in Romans 8:37-39, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We also have our Lord Jesus’ words of promise, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We thank and praise God for the victory we have in Jesus. May we all the more learn truly victorious life in Christ Jesus who defeated sin and Satan through his death and resurrection.

Second, David’s reign (8:15-9:13). Verse 15 says, “David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” This is a very short but very meaningful description. It is said that absolute power brings absolute corruption. David was in the summit of his power and authority in his kingdom. But David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. Later in 2 Samuel 23:3, in the last words of David, he said, “When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning.” Surely this was the reflection of his reign as a king over Israel. David’s reign doing what was just and right was none other than the reign of the Messiah. At the prophecy of the birth of a son who would be the Messiah, Isaiah wrote in 9:7, “He will reign over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” And Jeremiah 23:5, “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” The reign of David, the shadow of the Messiah’s reign, is the hope of all nations.

Jesus led the people of this world to the way of righteousness. He began his messianic ministry by proclaiming, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:15). He said to his disciples, “Seek first his kingdom of and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt 6:33) When many followed him and he healed all their sick, Matthew wrote in 12:18-21, quoting the words of Isaiah, “A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” Jesus wanted his disciples to always pray and not give up, saying, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night” (Lk 18:1, 17). At the time of trial he said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world…now my kingdom is from another place…I came to this world to testify the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jn. 19:36-37). To bring God’s righteousness and justice to us he died on the cross for man’s sins and rose again from the dead. Because his just and righteous ruling his kingdom is forever.

In 8:16-18 the administration of David’s kingdom is described: Joab was over the army; Jehoshaphat was recorder; Zadok and Ahimelech were priests; Seraiah was secretary; Benaiah was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David’ sons were royal advisers.

In chapter 9 there is a beautiful story of David’s reign. When David heard of Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, crippled in both feet, David had him brought to him. At the sight of Mephibosheth, David said, “Mephibosheth!” Most certainly, he could see the image of Jonathan in the son and exclaimed calling his name. David said to him, “Don’t be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” Three things David promised: showing kindness, restoration of Sau’s property to him and his eating at David’s table. It is the promise of love, wealth and position. David wanted to show the full extent of his kindness to Mephibosheth for the sake of Jonathan.

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, ‘What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?’” The term “dead dog” appears three times in the Bible, all in 1 and 2 Samuel. Once when David was pursued by Saul consistently, he felt so helpless and insignificant in human terms that he said to Saul, “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are pursuing? A dead dog? A flea?” (1 Sam 24:14). Later, when David was fleeing from his son Absalom who rebelled against him, a Benjamite name Shimei curse David saying, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel!”, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. Then Abishai said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” (2 Sam 16:9) “Dead dog” is not a good word, but a word of expressing contempt. Here, Mephibosheth said to King David, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead like me?” In this expression Mephibosheth considered himself contemptible and useless like a dead dog. In his own eyes he did not deserve David’s such kindness. But David wanted to show his kindness to Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, surely remembering his covenant with Jonathan (cf. 1 Sam. 18:3; 20:15, 42). Jonathan said to David in 1 Samuel 20:42, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.” At this time David also must have remembered God’s kindness to him, taking him from the pasture and following the flock and making him king over Israel, delivering him out of all the troubles. Mephibosheth felt unworthy of David’ kindness and love in his miserable human condition crippled in both feet and in declined family line. But David assured Mephibosheth of his love and kindness. He summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table” (9-10). And in verse 11b, “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.” And then in verse 13, “Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table.” Mephibosheth’s always eating with David is written four times and he lived in Jerusalem being moved from Lo Debar. (A city located in Gilead, east of the Jordan River, about 16 km south of the Sea of Galilee.) David desired to honour Mephibosheth by bringing him into the royal palace and providing for his daily needs. At the highest point of his power and glory and fame David showed his kindness, that is, God’s kindness, to Mephebosheth, a pitiful man losing all his self-esteem in his miserable human condition. David as a man after God’s own heart, was faithful to God remembering his covenant promise to Jonathan. This is a beautiful part of David’s just and righteous reign and victorious life.

David’s love and kindness for Mephibosheth was none other than the expression of Messiah’s love for sinners. When a paralytic was brought to Jesus by some men, Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2:5). And Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” We thank and praise God for Jesus who saved us from our sins and from our paralyzed and crippled human condition through his own sacrifice and made us God’s children. What a grace it is that in Christ’s love we can have fellowship with him each day eating together with him! May we be enriched in this wonderful life and be able to express God’s kindness to one soul.

May we claim David’s victory and victorious life in Christ Jesus our Lord!

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