Military victories — it would be nice to hear of one right about now. I’m talking about Afghanistan. I’m not going to criticizes what was done or contemplate what should have been done. My point is that battles and wars are won and lost. That’s been true since the Book of Genesis. God made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would conquer the Promised Land. Also, that there would be a royal lineage to a King that would reign forever. (That’s King Jesus!)
The challenge was that the Promised Land was occupied by the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. There were also the Philistines (in the area of Gaza). To the east of Israel were the Edomites (descendants of Esau), and the Moabites (descendants of Lot). All of these people were pagans. They worshiped gods made of stone, gold and bronze. This angered God. Hence, he wanted to clear these people out of the Promised Land.
So, even though David was anointed King of Israel, he still had some battles to fight. Let’s dig in….
2 Samuel 8 David’s Military Victories
c. 998 BC
After this, David defeated and subdued the Philistines by conquering Gath, their largest town. 2 David also conquered the land of Moab. He made the people lie down on the ground in a row, and he measured them off in groups with a length of rope. He measured off two groups to be executed for every one group to be spared. The Moabites who were spared became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money.
3 David also destroyed the forces of Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when Hadadezer marched out to strengthen his control along the Euphrates River. 4 David captured 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers, and 20,000 foot soldiers. He crippled all the chariot horses except enough for 100 chariots.
5 When Arameans from Damascus arrived to help King Hadadezer, David killed 22,000 of them. 6 Then he placed several army garrisons in Damascus, the Aramean capital, and the Arameans became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money. So the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.
7 David brought the gold shields of Hadadezer’s officers to Jerusalem, 8 along with a large amount of bronze from Hadadezer’s towns of Tebah and Berothai.
9 When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had destroyed the entire army of Hadadezer, 10 he sent his son Joram to congratulate King David for his successful campaign. Hadadezer and Toi had been enemies and were often at war. Joram presented David with many gifts of silver, gold, and bronze.
11 King David dedicated all these gifts to the Lord, as he did with the silver and gold from the other nations he had defeated— 12 from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek—and from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.
13 So David became even more famous when he returned from destroying 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 14 He placed army garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. In fact, the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.
15 So David reigned over all Israel and did what was just and right for all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was commander of the army. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were the priests. Seraiah was the court secretary. 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard. And David’s sons served as priestly leaders.2 Samuel 8 NLT
For the choir director: A psalm of David useful for teaching, regarding the time David fought Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, and Joab returned and killed 12,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. To be sung to the tune “Lily of the Testimony.”
1 You have rejected us, O God, and broken our defenses.
You have been angry with us; now restore us to your favor.
2 You have shaken our land and split it open.
Seal the cracks, for the land trembles.
3 You have been very hard on us,
making us drink wine that sent us reeling.
4 But you have raised a banner for those who fear you—
a rallying point in the face of attack. Interlude (Selah)
5 Now rescue your beloved people.
Answer and save us by your power.
6 God has promised this by his holiness:
“I will divide up Shechem with joy.
I will measure out the valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is mine,
and Manasseh, too.
Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors,
and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings.
8 But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant,
and I will wipe my feet on Edom
and shout in triumph over Philistia.”
9 Who will bring me into the fortified city?Psalm 60 NLT
Who will bring me victory over Edom?
10 Have you rejected us, O God?
Will you no longer march with our armies?
11 Oh, please help us against our enemies,
for all human help is useless.
12 With God’s help we will do mighty things,
for he will trample down our foes.
Points to Ponder
- War is hard. It was then, and it still is now.
- In verse 2, we see that God shakes the land. Earthquakes, even back then.
- Victories are won through prayer. We can pray verse 5 today: Now rescue your beloved people. Answer and save [them] by your power. I’m referring to the Christian missionaries and the Afghan Christians who are trapped and are being persecuted by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
- All kings came from the tribe of Judah and that is where Jesus is from.
- All these places mentioned were occupied by the Philistines, but truly the land belonged to God. And it still does!
- The Israelites’ Sin caused God to turn His back in the past. So, David pleads for His help. David knows that counting on men — humans — is useless.
- The last passage — With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.
David puts his trust not on men, but on God. That’s what we have to do today. It’s very obvious that men are fallible. However, God isn’t. We need to put our trust in God. That’s the problem in the world today.
It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us! His disciples asked Him, “What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” He answered…
6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.Matthew 24:3b, 6-10 NLT
Albeit, way before this, Jesus comforted us by saying that we would be blessed even when we are persecuted….
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.Matthew 5:10-12 NLT
We must reach out to God and TRUST GOD! He equips us for all we need to withstand, all the trials, sorrows, pains and tribulations that this world holds for us….
Paul Prepares us in Ephesians 6…
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesian 6:10-18 NLT
We are comforted because we have Jesus! He told us…
33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 NLT