November 13th 2022: John Mann

2 Samuel 8:1-14.

The Victorious King

David given promises.

            Today is Remembrance Sunday so it is natural for us to remember battles, war and so on. We remember those who have given their lives in service for their country. We learn about such things at school, and they are still going on in the world around us today. Ukraine is at war with Russia and there are many other battles all around the globe.

            In 2 Samuel 7 we learn of the covenant that the Lord made with David. God promised David that He would never cease to have a man on the throne, but the greater promise was the coming of the Messiah, the true Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ. In that chapter David offered a great prayer of thanksgiving for this promise of the coming Messiah.

            The sure covenant of David is really the covenant of grace. Salvation comes only through grace. This promise given to David is also for us today, for the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, has come and fulfilled all that the Father tasked Him with. No works on our part are required. We can make no payment to be party to this covenant. It is free of charge, for the Lord has done everything necessary to bring salvation to us. The Eternal God of glory sent His Son to become the atoning sacrifice to bring reconciliation and redemption through the door of faith – and remember even faith is a gift!

The promise to David comes true.

            Now David was awestruck when he heard what the Lord planned to do for him, as you can read in 2 Samuel 7. But in 2 Samuel 8 the Lord begins to bring about the confirmation of the promises made to David. As a general principle, always remember that what God says or speaks, He always carries out and does. What God promises is that which He always does. He builds His kingdom irrespective of any threats that may be faced, or equally, irrespective of any lack of faith to be found in His people. David needed to believe the promises of God to him – and he did – but we too must believe the copious promises that the Lord has made.

            So, in 2 Samuel 8 we read of a series of David’s victories. All enemies were defeated and subdued. All opposition was put down. But David does not rest on his laurels. His faith is tested. Now if anyone could say that they needed to stop awhile and put their feet up surely it would be David? Hounded by Saul, and facing much opposition all around, David does not relent but carries on. He continues the fight, striving faithfully, defending the glory of God. And so, he carries on in victory after victory (as we can see in 2 Samuel 8). He sweeps through the surrounding nations and overwhelms the opposing armies. We read that he “subdued” the Philistines, that he “defeated Moab,” and that he “took” spoils of war. David placed “garrisons” in Syria and the Syrians became his “servants.” Throughout our text we read of what David did, but he did not presume on God, and neither did he trust to his own strength, for twice we read these words:

“The Lord preserved David wherever he went.” (2 Samuel 8:6,14).

The Lord God had given David a promise, and the Lord God was going to keep this promise (2 Samuel 7:9). God was with David and would aid him against all his enemies. And so, because of the Lord’s promise to preserve his line so that Messiah would come, victory was assured.

Promises to us.

            Now we too have received countless blessings from the Lord all based upon His precious promises – which cannot fail. These are as sure and certain as the promise given to David. In 2 Peter 1:2-4 we read these incredible words:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2Peter 1:2-4).

We have been promised a part in the divine nature. Look how this all comes about! The Lord God’s own divine power has made it possible, for He has given to us everything needful for “life and godliness.” This knowledge of God comes through the “exceedingly great and precious promises” by which means we can become “partakers of the divine nature.” The apostle Paul declared that:

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Everything we need for life (godliness, partaking of the divine nature, escaping the corruption in the world), has been given to us freely in His promises. If we possess true and real faith in Christ then we possess the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are holy – set apart. We are partakers of the divine nature. Do we realise this? Do we joy in this? The Lord has given us His divine nature – His righteousness – but we still have to endure the things of this world although we are freed from its dire consequences. We must endure tribulation, but all the consequences of sin and death are gone! Our salvation is utterly secure. We are made righteous in Him.

From victory to victory.

            But what about sanctification? There is always the ongoing need for us to be sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). We stand justified by faith, and His righteousness is put to our account, whilst our sin is put to His. But still in this world we must experience the ongoing sanctification of the Holy Spirit. What also about our need to glorify God, to be His ambassadors, and to express the joy, peace, and contentment of our salvation? These too we need to grow in. But the question is: are we driven by these considerations? Do we desire to glorify God, to be His representatives and ambassadors? Are we eager to declare the great goodness and joy of knowing God? Are we victorious in these ways? David went from victory to victory. He defeated the Philistines. Then the Moabites. Then others. How about us? Are we winning the victories that Christ has purchased? Are we being lead as sons of God by the Spirit in the victories Christ has earned? What too about escaping corruption and the lusts of this world? Are we living in the light of the Lord’s great promises? Are we taking hold of the strength the Lord supplies? Are we winning the battles? Not, of course, in our own strength, but in the power and strength that the Spirit gives. Are we striving against sin, overcoming and gaining the victory, which Christ so readily supplies?

            Remember what Christ achieved. Complete and utter victory over Satan, sin, death and the world. These are ours! Paul wrote that:

… in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37).

The Lord still stands with us. Remember that Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:8). The apostle John wrote these words:

And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4b,5).

We stand on the word of God. Victory is assured because of what Christ has done and all of that was promised of the Father.

Fight!

            BUT we cannot rest on our laurels. We cannot relax spiritually. Just as David went from one campaign to another we too are in a lifelong fight. Paul spoke of this (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). Now in an army there are a variety of positions, from generals and captains all the way down to the foot soldiers. The vast majority of the army is made up of these foot soldiers. These are the ones who do the lion’s share of the fighting. We are all foot soldiers in the army of God. Our task is to face the enemy (sin, Satan, the world) and to overcome, to win the day. You may ask: what do I have to offer, what can I do? I am just one foot soldier! Allow me to use an illustration. In the great western films where you see the fights between Cowboys and Indians, the attacking Indians would surround all the Cowboys who would circle the wagons to defend themselves. The women and children would be in the centre but they were not idle. They were the ones who loaded the guns and rifles for the Cowboys to shoot. The weakest among the company were the ones who enabled the strongest to fight the fight. How can we apply this? Well think of the following:

  • Faithful prayers for preachers, Sunday school teachers, evangelists.
  • A word of encouragement to gospel workers or the sick and despairing.
  • A kind deed done to enable relief for those under pressure.
  • A word in season for the battle weary.
  • A timely prayer and encouraging word for a servant who is struggling to make ends meet.

These are like those who load the guns for the ones who fight. Of course, we can apply this whole doctrine to each individual too. We each need prayer, encouragement, help and so on. But never think that you are merely a lone individual who can offer no help! Your prayers for the saints, your words offered in love, your helps done to ease the life of another are all needed.

            We are all in the one army. We are all in the same army. We may serve on different battlefields or in different places, but we all come under the One Commander. Such little acts are not really so little. Consider the following examples given to us by the Lord:

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood. (Mark 12:41-44).

Those two mites were all the widow had. She did what she could; she gave all. Or consider this second example:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

By giving a cup of water to one of the Lord’s servants we are giving such to the Lord Himself who identifies with His people. By visiting those who are in darkness, or by entertaining strangers, we are about our Father’s business. Never think that the small things, the simple things done out of love mean little. Through David, God is establishing His kingdom. No power on earth nor beyond the earth can withstand or overcome what the Lord purposes. He will prevail!

A lesson from history.

            In Genesis 17 we read about the Abrahamic covenant. We have mentioned the Davidic covenant recorded in 2 Samuel 7 but what too of the covenant God made with Abraham? Well, the Lord promised Abraham that the land of Canaan would be for his descendants, and in David we see the fulfilment being fully accomplished. All the land, north, east, south and west was to be given to Abraham’s descendants. Spiritually we know too that the Lord promised David the Son who would sit on the throne in eternity, and in the same way the land (His inheritance) is being gathered in. Just as the Lord made good on His promise to Abraham in David’s victories, so too the Lord will make good on His promises in Christ. There will be a great in-gathering of all those for whom Christ has died and not one will be overlooked nor lacking. God’s promises in Christ are unstoppable. We are given the history of Abraham and the fulfilment in David’s day to help us trust the great faithfulness of God who cannot lie.

The gospel train is unstoppable!      

            Do you fear for the future of the fellowship? Are you worried about the smallness of the current church? It is true that some churches are closing and this makes us sad. But God’s church throughout the world is growing. It is like a runaway train! It is gathering passengers as it rides on its upward journey to glory. Sometimes the train stops and the platform is full of passengers waiting to climb aboard, but at other times there are a few passengers on the platform. We can see this in our history. Whilst today the platform may be bare, in former centuries there were large numbers being added to the kingdom. But do remember that such large in-gathering is taking place in other lands in our day. No power on earth and none in heaven can stop this train, and none can prevent the passengers who have been given their tickets from boarding!

            Do we have the confidence that David had in the Lord as he made conquest based on what God had promised him? Do we have such confidence? The Lord has said that He will build His church and the gates of hell will never prevail. Do we believe this? As believers we are on this gospel train and it runs according to the schedule and timetable that God has set. It may be that in our time the stops are few and few board, but who knows what is around the corner? Are we walking in obedience to the Lord? We do not know if there will come a stop sometime in the future (near or far) when we may see many climb aboard the gospel train! But even if we are in the outskirts and byways of the gospel train’s journey, our task is to keep fighting the fight and seeking the lost. The Lord’s gospel train will reach its destination sure enough. The Lord’s train always runs on schedule. There are no delays and no unnecessary stoppages.

Without the shedding of blood …

            Now in the course of David’s victories there was a great deal of blood shed. In many ways the accounts we read of in Scripture are gruesome. Many question these things. They ask: why did God allow and even promote such killings and bloodshed? We need to be careful here. We are not the Potter, we are but clay. God made all people, and so does He not have the right to deal with people as He pleases? Also remember that God is good, and He always does good. Let no man charge God with evil. Those who faced such judgement at the hand of David were not treated in any careless or cavalier way. The Lord strove with the people prior to the flood and gave them ample warning before judgement fell. He waits long until the iniquity of a people has had its full course. We do not know the details (how could we?) but we do know that God is a just Judge and that He is merciful and long suffering. Never let anyone spoil your understanding of the great grace and goodness of God, for He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Remember too that the people of Canaan were extremely wicked and barbaric. The Lord gives more than ample time for repentance. He has spoken openly and publicly from the dawn of time of His grace and mercy. How many times do we read of the Lord asking people to come, to turn, to seek Him for His mercy?

The Son of David leads to victory.

            And so just as David gained victory after victory, the Lord Jesus is leading His people in the same way by the Spirit of God. In 2 Samuel 8 we should note the futility of opposing David, for the Lord had promised him victory in the land. In the same way those who oppose us are acting in futility for the Lord will succeed in all His endeavours. The Lord Jesus is leading from one victory to another. There are many who seek to bring arguments against us and against the gospel. There are many ‘clever’ men who make great arguments – atheism, humanism, hedonism. These trouble many and lead to deception. We have wounded soldiers. There are those who have been caused to stumble. These enemies appear to have the upper hand. When we look at our nation we might consider that our enemies are far superior. BUT the Lord Jesus has won the victory! He has defeated all our enemies. They are on the losing side. Satan still seeks to snare and enslave. He still seeks to deceive and confuse. He is the thief and the murderer. But Satan can only go so far and no further. He is a created being under the sovereign rule of God. He cannot overstep the mark. He is a bound enemy. He may rage and snarl but he can only do what he is permitted. Remember the story of Job.

            The forces of evil, Satan and his hordes, and all those who spurn the grace of God, will be dealt with finally on “That Day.” They will all be thrown into the lake of fire of which we read in the book of Revelation. When that day comes those who have fallen under the sway of Satan will come to full realisation of their end.

To God be the glory!

            Now David never sought victory for his own purposes, or for his own glory. All that he procured in his battles he “dedicated” to the Lord (2 Samuel 8:11). The power behind all David’s victory was from the Lord. The glory was God’s too. Only God alone deserves the glory, the praise, and the honour, for God alone is good – truly good. Who should get the glory, the praise, the honour in our setting and time? Only the Lord!

            Another great victory was made for us at Calvary. An awful lot of blood was shed at Calvary too. The Lord Jesus fought the battle in Gethsemane and on Calvary and He gained the greatest victory bar none. The Lord Jesus took the spoils of His victory but He says that everything He won and took was for us! All that He won and achieved in His death and resurrection He says: ‘I give it to you’! Listen to what Paul wrote in the first letter to the Corinthians:

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Corinthians 15:57).

Are we thankful for this incredible victory given to us? David won many victories as the Lord had promised him, BUT the Lord Jesus Christ won the greatest victory ever. He won the victory over all our enemies, sin, Satan, death, and the world. Are we concerned for the future? Are we worried about getting older and none will take up the mantle? Do not lose heart! Do not despair! Appearances deceive. David’s line seemed at times to be very near destruction – on one occasion all the princes were slaughtered save one baby boy (2 Kings 11:1-3) – but the Lord kept His promise sure. It may seem like God’s promises have failed (they haven’t) but always remember that the Lord never fails.