1 Chronicles 18:13-14 – Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went. So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people.
After God made his covenant with David, we see God giving David victories over all of the enemies of Israel. It is the sentence, “And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went,” which has my attention here this morning. Depending on how you observed this situation, you might take from it different conclusions.
For example, if you watched David over these times, I can guarantee you that you saw a man who worked hard, who planned, and who fought with all his might to accomplish what was accomplished. To many observers, it would have looked like David was winning the battles by strength, cunning, military strategy, and simple hard work. We read nothing here of supernatural looking events, of angels fighting on behalf of Israel, or of the ground opening up and swallowing the armies of David’s enemies. So, to the untrained eye, it would have looked as though David won these victories.
But, the verse tells us that the Lord gave David victory. This tells me that, regardless of what David did, it is ultimately and finally the work of the Lord that David’s enemies were defeated. Again, David did not sit back, fold his hands, and await God’s making his enemies just fall over or go away. He worked, he fought, he struggled, he strategized, he gave his all to the campaign. But, when the battles were finished, there was no doubt in the mind of God, in the mind of David, or in the mind of this writer of scripture that it was God who gave David the victory.
Now, why would this be a thought worth our time? Simply put, David’s victories over these nations is a good model for us of the process of sanctification in our own lives. You and I have enemies that we must defeat. The sins that so easily entangle us, slow us down, and knock us down must be driven out of our lives. We are called to be like Christ. We are commanded by Christ to be perfect as his Father is perfect. We are commanded to eradicate sin from our outward actions and our inward thoughts and desires. And, like David, we are surrounded on every side by things who want to destroy us.
Also, like David, we are the ones who have to work against those sins. David did not sit back and just wait for God to destroy his enemies; he worked hard to prepare and to fight against his enemies. In the same way, we have to work hard. We have to fight sin with all our might. We have to strive for Christian growth. We have to study God’s word, pray, and discipline ourselves for the sake of godliness. We have to be open with and accountable to others who are growing along with us. We have to fight to the point of blood, sweat, and tears to conquer the enemies that would defeat us, the enemies that are Satan and our own sinful disposition.
Also, like David, when the battle is over and the victory is won, we too will acknowledge that all the victory that we ever achieved over sin was a direct result of God giving us the victory. We will not take credit, even for a single moment, for anything good we have ever done. We will not claim our salvation as our own or our sanctification as our own. We will give all the glory for all the good in us to God, because it is from God that all our goodness came. We will work as hard as we can, and when it is all said and done, God will be the one who accomplished the work in us.
And, let us be very careful not to allow ourselves to become lazy or complacent about our sanctification. Just because God is the one who ultimately is responsible for making anything good happen in our lives, we still have to work. We work with all our might. We work in the power of his Holy Spirit. We can not sit back and wait for him to snap us perfect. Instead, we fight with all our might, and give him all the glory when we win.
Dear Lord, I recognize that it is my responsibility to fight with all my might to become more like Christ. I also recognize that all the glory for anything good I ever accomplish is yours, for you are ultimately the source of all goodness in me. Thus, I am committed to work toward my sanctification, but I pray that you will empower that work by your Holy Spirit. Motivate me and help me to fight the good fight. Grant me the strength, the courage, and the wisdom to do what you want me to do. I will respond to your accomplishing good things in me by yielding to you all glory for anything good in me, because it is all of you anyway.