2 Samuel 8:14 The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.
I have a feeling David may have insisted that events be recorded this way in the official record. That is, it wasn’t that David achieved all these victories, it was that the Lord gave them to him. However, that didn’t insulate him from the temptation of feeling like he deserved it all. It wasn’t long after all this that he totally violated the Lord’s instructions with Bathsheba and her husband, and he suffered the consequences the rest of his life. What was best about David was that he knew how dependent he was on God, but the moment he let that slip from his awareness, he fell badly. Paul’s words are very germane here: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12) David wrote numerous Psalms that proclaimed God’s goodness to him. Psalm 18 seems particularly applicable to this passage, even though it says it was written while he was still running from Saul. Some of the ways in which he established his victories seem particularly heartless to us today, as in verse 2, but that was the culture of the day. I personally come away with the image of a man who was deeply flawed in a number of ways, but as he recognized his dependence on God, God used and blessed him. That should be a comfort to us all!
This is of course extremely applicable to me. From childhood I have recognized tendencies in myself that, if indulged, could have turned me into a number of horrible things, up to and including a serial killer. God is gracious! I think every human being is capable of worse than they can imagine, but they are also capable of reflecting the character of God. What makes the difference is our choices. If we focus on what feels good to us we are in deep trouble. After all, things like revenge can feel very good at the moment. Every life has good things and bad; the choice is in how we respond to those things. I couldn’t begin to say how many times I’ve quoted John 16:33, but it’s certainly a lot. If we rejoice in Christ’s victory over the world, then we experience it too, even – or especially – when circumstances seem very bleak. I need to recognize my dependence on God and rejoice in it, rather than bemoaning my inability to make things turn out the way I want them to be. God’s plan is always better!
Father, thank You for this reminder. There’s a lot going on, but then there always is. There’s very little I can control, but then there never is. Help me rest, relax, and rejoice in You, being faithful to do as You direct on Your schedule, but not carrying anything as my personal burden except what You assign to me, so that Your will may be done for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!