David & his Wars — David, the warrior for God.
Reading 1: 2 Samuel 8
Reading 2: Psalm 60
Reading 3: Psalm 144
After the disappointment of being told he cannot build the Temple, because he is too warlike, David turns his disqualification into his inspiration again, and leads Israel’s armies to conquer yet more enemies. In this nation which had grown from little to great under God’s direction, there were still enemies to subdue in order that God’s people could be free to obey God. And David played a vital part in those victories, even though his heart was for God’s love and justice to be seen. In our minds sometimes those two concepts are opposites – killing enemies and displaying love and justice. But in David’s day, the culture was firmly in the “might is right” zone, and it was necessary for this new nation of Israel to fight against those who wanted to see them destroyed.
And David’s knowledge of God’s heart gives him the insight he needs to fight these battles – that God is against the ungodly, not out of vengeance but out of love for His chosen people. Just as a mother would defend her children to the death, so God wants everyone who seeks the destruction of His people destroyed.
This seems to be such a contrast to the man who would not harm Saul, and who disciplined those who delighted in killing (or claiming to kill) those they saw as enemies of God (or David). But the key is that David was close to God and valued God’s Word and Spirit more than any other relationship. Thus he could tolerate long years where God’s plan seemed not to be fulfilled, and also boldly fight for God’s victory in settings where others lost heart. Only in his desire to build the Temple is he disappointed, and he does not allow that to affect his relationship with God or his passion for God. Solomon will pick up the mantle one day, and be a very different king than his father.
There is a place in God’s economy for every gift. Some are gifted to be warriors, and some to be peaceful, wise builders. Each has their place in God’s plan. Only by listening to God can we follow that plan closely. Let’s be those who renounce presumption and make God’s heart our highest priority today!
Have a great day!