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Order Of Worship (Liturgy)Psalm 27:1-3
Psalm 119:14 (after the law)
Psalm 30:1,3 (after offertory)
Reading: Revelation 19:1-16
Text: 2 Samuel 5
Beloved congregation of Jesus Christ,
If you have a piece of Canadian currency, say a ten dollar bill or a loonie, you’ll see the image of our Queen, Queen Elizabeth II. In fact, for most, if not all of us, she’s the only monarch that we’ve ever seen on Canadian cash and coins. There may be one or two people here this morning who can still remember seeing the portrait of King George VI on our currency. Queen Elizabeth II began to reign on the day King George died, February 6, 1952 – over 57 years ago. That was the official beginning of her reign, but her coronation ceremony didn’t take place until June 2, 1953. So, the vast majority of us have never witnessed the coronation of a Commonwealth monarch. Though we can’t be sure whether it will be King Charles or King William, I’d say that it’s almost certain that most of us will eventually see such a coronation in our lifetimes.
A coronation is a big deal. With pomp and circumstance, a man or woman takes the throne of a nation and begins to reign. It’s an event of great magnitude, a solemn yet glorious day. This is the sort of event that we witness in our text for this morning. After years of struggle and difficulty, after years of being on the run and being persecuted by Saul, David finally comes to be king over all Israel. We’re going to see that this was God’s doing. So, I preach to you God’s Word with the theme:
God establishes his anointed as king over all Israel
We see the anointed:
1. Receiving the throne
2. Raising a new place for the throne
3. Repelling the enemies of the throne
After David spared Saul’s life on a couple of occasions, David ended up on the run again and it’s not until the end of 1 Samuel that Saul is finally dead. After Saul’s death, God told David to go to Hebron and there the men of Judah made him king, but only over their tribe. For the rest of Israel, they made Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth king. What followed was a brief civil war between Ish-bosheth and David. Finally, in chapter 4, Ish-bosheth also dies. This clears the way for David to reign, not only over Judah, but over all of Israel.
Now when we come to 2 Samuel 5, David is reigning over Judah from Hebron. The other tribes of Israel are without a king, leaderless, rudderless, drifting. They recognize that this situation is not ideal – a people without a king will quickly become a target for the hostile peoples nearby. So, the elders of the people of Israel come to David at Hebron with an olive branch and an offer.
They make three arguments to try and persuade David to be their king. First of all, they appeal to their shared ancestry. Together with David, they’re all descended from Jacob. They’re brothers and brothers should live at peace with one another. Next, they appeal to history and David’s historical role as a military leader. Even when Saul was king, David was the one leading the charge against Israel’s enemies. Being out in front of the people is a natural position for David. But the most important argument comes at the end of verse 2. “And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’” When David was anointed way back in 1 Samuel 16, God promised David that he would be the king. Now there’s been a lot of resistance along this path to the throne, but God’s promises are sure and steadfast. God promised David the throne and now it’s here. So, they’re saying, “Come on David, this is the time, this is truly the day that Yahweh promised you.”
David agrees. He can see that God’s promises have come true and this is the legitimate way to the throne of all Israel. David makes a covenant with the Israelite elders. In this covenant, David would agree to be their king and to abide by God’s law. The Israelites would agree to serve David and follow him faithfully, supporting his reign. Then David was anointed. Yes, he was anointed by God in 1 Samuel 16, but now he is anointed by the people. His reign was recognized in advance by God, and now it’s recognized in reality by Israel.
The author then gives us the details of David’s reign – he reigned a total of forty years, seven years and some in Hebron and then thirty-three in Jerusalem over all Israel. This was a standard way not only of telling us about the reign, but also the fact that this was the official inauguration of David. Here David finally receives the fullness of what God promised.
But it came only at the end of a long road of suffering and trials. From time to time, we all experience times of deep sorrow. At such times, we acutely feel the brokenness of this world. We see the senselessness of sin with a clarity of vision we otherwise don’t necessarily have. At times such as that, we need to let ourselves by guided by God’s Word. Through all his suffering and trials, David had God’s promise. Through all his questions and difficulties, David trusted God’s love for him. David believed that God would be his God, he had faith that the LORD would be his shepherd. We need to do likewise in our sufferings and questions and difficulties. All the more so because of the one to whom David pointed.
Loved ones, on the way to his reign of glory our Saviour also travelled the road of struggle and pain and questions. When he prayed on the Mount of Olives, he was in great anguish. He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” And you know the great question that echoed from Golgotha, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He endured all of that for us and in our place, so that when we endure struggles and difficulties we can know that God’s promises stand firm for us, so that we can be assured of God’s nearness, his presence, his desire to bless us and help us. The Lord Jesus promised in John 16, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” At the end of that chapter he says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We need to hold on to those words of our Saviour. We need to hold on to our Saviour. In this life, we have these griefs and sorrows, but the gospel promises us a brighter day. The gospel tells us that we have a king who reigns in glory and some day, some wonderful day we will share his glory. Look to him again in faith. Rest and trust in him who has overcome the world and who reigns in glory, and some day we too will share his glory in unimaginable ways.
Christ’s glory was what David’s glory here pointed to. And David’s glory only grew greater. David and his men set out to take Jerusalem from the Jebusites. David wanted Jerusalem for his capital likely because it was central. Hebron is to the south of Jerusalem in the territory of the tribe of Judah. The northern tribes wouldn’t be too comfortable with a capital that far south – Jerusalem would have been an excellent compromise location. It was also a great location from a military point of view – located on the top of a mountain with deep valleys on three sides, it would be easily defensible.
This isn’t the first time that we read about Jerusalem or the Jebusites in the Bible. Already way back in Genesis 15:21, God had promised Abraham that he would give his descendants the land of the Jebusites – in other words, Jerusalem is part of what God promised Abraham. In Judges 1, the tribe of Judah conquered Jerusalem, but they only razed it to ground – they didn’t settle it. The Jebusites who lived there simply came back and rebuilt. Then later in Judges 1, the Benjamites came along and they also attacked Jerusalem, and they settled there, but they didn’t do anything about the Jebusites. Despite God’s command to rid the land of the original inhabitants, the tribe of Benjamin allowed the Jebusites to go on living in Jerusalem and eventually they dominated the city again. So, the history of Jerusalem involves a promise from God on the one hand, and failure on the part of Israel on the other.
But today, here in 2 Samuel 5, that story of failure comes to an end and the promise comes to fulfillment. David sets out to attack the Jebusites and take Jerusalem for good. But the Jebusites send a message to David warning him to back off. They say that David’s ambitions will prove vain. The city is a fortress and so even the blind and lame can be left to defend it. There’s no way that David can take it. But David has some inside information, some intel on the city. He knows that there’s a secret way in and he gets his soldiers to take it and the result is that this seemingly untouchable fortress falls just like that.
Now I should say something about verse 8 of our text. You’ll note that there are a couple of footnotes in our Bible translation. This verse is very difficult to translate. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into all the details or the virtues of one translation over another. The important point is that David took the city and his enemies, the Jebusites, were conquered.
Then what follows is David establishing his throne in Jerusalem. Jerusalem from this point forward becomes known as the City of David. David reinforces the city and makes a strong fortress even stronger. And then we find verse 10, “And he became more and more powerful, because the LORD God Almighty was with him.” David’s power and glory was not because of his own character or qualities, but because of the blessing of Yahweh. Unlike Saul, God was with David, blessing him and guiding him.
And the glory of David’s kingdom is even enhanced from outside. The author of 2 Samuel inserts something here that happens later in David’s reign, but that still illustrates the splendour of his majesty. Tyre was located further up the coast towards present-day Lebanon. Hiram was the king of Tyre. He sent the finest supplies of cedar wood, woodworkers and stonemasons to Jerusalem to build David’s palace, a home for his throne. Hiram the King of Tyre, a Gentile king, enhances David’s glory in Jerusalem. From this, David recognized that it was God who was establishing him and blessing him and exalting his kingdom. This glory was not his own, but belonged to God. And it was not for the sake of David, because David himself was so great or so valuable to the LORD, but because of God’s people Israel. Because of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God brought these wonderful things to pass because of his love for the apple of his eye.
So, on the one hand we see David’s strength and glory. But the author of 2 Samuel is also not shy about showing us David’s stupidity. His folly is found in verse 13. David acts like any other king in his day – taking multiple wives and concubines for himself. What’s a concubine, you might ask? A concubine was a female slave. She would mostly be taking care of household duties, though she could also be called on to sleep with the king. Taking multiple wives and concubines may have been the practice of many ancient kings, but it was directly forbidden by the law of God in Deuteronomy 17. Taking many wives would result in the king’s heart being led astray. And as we survey the names in verse 14, that’s exactly what we see. We know about Solomon and his mother, but there are also three others in this list who are sons of Bathsheba: Shammua, Shobab, and Nathan. This is a selective list; the author could have mentioned more names. But he mentions these, and by doing so he draws attention again to David’s sin and weakness.
Someone once compared the glorious kingdoms of David and Solomon to a prison house film festival – brief diversions from the grim reality of barbed wire, impenetrable walls and gun-toting officers. No matter what glory David received, he was still a fallen son of Adam. Even though he succeeded in taking Jerusalem and conquering the Jebusites, succeeding where others failed, he still had the poison of sin running in his veins. Even with all the favour curried by men like Hiram of Tyre, David portrayed only a faint glimmer of the true Messiah.
It took centuries for God’s promise to Abraham about the Jebusites to come true. But it did. It took centuries more for God’s promise about the Messiah to come true. But it did. Loved ones, we see in this that God’s promises don’t have expiry dates. Fulfilling God’s promises, Jesus came into this world and was revealed to us as the true Son of David, the only one in whose hands the kingdom is safe. Jesus is the one who is enthroned for his people. John 8:29 tells us that the Lord Jesus is the one who always does what pleases the Father. David was not a one-woman king. But in the New Testament we see Jesus revealed as the King who only has a heart for one bride: his church, for us. For us, he lived a perfect life. For us, he gave up his life. For us, he rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at God’s right hand in glory. And remember, brothers and sisters, God’s promises don’t have expiry dates. Remember that God’s promises don’t have expiry dates when you hear Jesus saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am.” (John 14:1-3). Remember that God’s promises don’t have expiry dates, when you recall that he is returning to judge the living and the dead, and we will live with him and we will reign with him, and we will share his glory – that glory that we catch a glimpse of here through David.
But wherever God’s people are on this earth, Satan’s minions are hard at work to destroy them. It happened also in David’s time. The Philistines heard that David had taken the throne of all Israel and they recognized that this was a potential threat. How long would it be before David would come after them? The best defense is a good offense and so they take the initiative to go after David. David hears about it and prepares for battle. The Philistines deploy into the Valley of Rephaim, a few kilometres to the south-west of Jerusalem.
David seeks God’s will as to what to do in this situation. He does that via the Urim and Thummim – this is implied in the words used by the author in the original. The Urim and Thummim were a means of divine revelation. They were a special gem or gems that gave off light. The Urim and Thummim, these special gems were in the ephod of the High Priest. The way that it worked was that God would give a special revelation to the High Priest, maybe through a dream or a vision, maybe he would hear a voice. The High Priest would report the words and the Urim and Thummim would confirm what was being said. If it was truly God speaking, then the Urim and Thummim would give off light and everyone would know that God had truly spoken. So, David would have prayed and then gone to Abiathar the High Priest, and Abiathar would give God’s answer and the Urim and Thummim would confirm it.
God replies in detail that David should go forward and attack the Philistines. God will surely give him the victory. That’s exactly what happens. The Philistines are totally routed. In fact, David names the place after what happens, calling it Baal-Perazim, the Lord who breaks out, the Lord who smashes his enemies to pieces. One commentator says that the English equivalent would be Smasherton. By calling it Smasherton or Baal-Perazim, David recognizes that God is the one who gave the victory here. God is the one who poured out these enemies like water. This is God’s victory. Calling the place Baal-Perazim also looks back to one of David’s ancestors. In Genesis 38:29, Tamar gave birth to David’s great-great grandfather Perez, named for the fact that he beat his twin brother out of the womb. Calling the place Baal-Perazim also looked ahead to David’s greatest descendant, the one who would have victory over sin, death, and Satan. In Micah 2:13, the prophet speaks about the Messiah and describes him as the one who would break open the way for the people of Israel – the same word, Perez, is used. Jesus Christ would be the true Baal-Perazim for Israel, the true Lord who smashes his enemies to pieces and opens the way for their peace. That’s the picture we see of him in Revelation 19 as well, and we’ll come back to that in a minute.
For now, see that God is revealed here in 2 Samuel 5 as the victor, the one who is repelling the enemies of his people and protecting the new king. God is also revealed as the true God and we see that with these idols being abandoned too. In fact, there is a clever word play in the Hebrew that mocks the Philistines and their false gods. If we try to translate the word play, it comes across something like, “They left behind the ones who left them behind...” These idols are useless and David and his men take them away and we learn from the parallel passage in Chronicles that they burned them – they’re just good for firewood and that’s about it. There’s a lesson here for all of us about idols – idols will leave you behind, so they’re best left behind.
But the Philistines didn’t give up. They tried again in exactly the same place. Who knows what they thought would be different this time. Maybe they had more troops. Whatever the case may be, David takes the same approach. He inquires of Yahweh and receives guidance via the Urim and Thummim. But this time he gets a different answer. This time the LORD tells him to take the Philistines from behind. And as he would do this, he would receive a divine sign about the right time to attack. David would hear the wind blowing through the tops of the balsam trees and that would be his signal to move. In fact, it would be the signal that God himself had gone out to strike the Philistine army. This is exactly the way that it went down and David routed the Philistines and chased them across the country side. A decisive victory.
And who gets the credit for this victory? That’s where the last part of verse 24 is so important. God portrays himself as the warrior who leaps into battle and knocks off the Philistines. God is revealed here as someone with whom to be impressed: the mighty Divine Warrior. And that’s an image that comes back repeatedly in the Bible and it’s ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. And nowhere more vividly than in the last book of the Bible. Here we see Jesus revealed to us as the rider on the white horse who is faithful and true. He judges and makes war. His name is the Word of God, he rules with an iron sceptre and he treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God. Nobody stands in his way. The book of Revelation is about him and his victory. He defends and preserves us against all our and his enemies. With Christ on our side, we’re safe and secure. He’ll never let go of us. That’s comforting to know, isn’t it? So, let me encourage you again to fix your eyes on him, on the Divine Warrior, King Jesus.
And as you look to this Warrior for all your help, remember that his Spirit lives in you. His Spirit is a Warrior Spirit. His Spirit has a sword. That sword is the Word of God. The Spirit’s pleasure is to have us wielding that sword against the enemies of the kingdom – against our old nature, against the world, against Satan. The Spirit’s pleasure is to have us eager and willing participants in the good fight of the faith. Paul says in Ephesians 5:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Instead, please him. Please him, thank him, love him – by waging war on every spiritual enemy through his power, through his grace and through his word.
Let’s now pray:
Father in heaven,
We praise you as the Divine Warrior. We worship your Son as the Rider on the White Horse, a mighty and victorious soldier. We exalt your Spirit as the one who bears the powerful sword. We want to please him. We want to thank you and love you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We pray for you to continue working in our lives so that we look to you for everything. Help us also as we grieve and as we deal with life’s tragedies and difficulties. Help us to know and believe that your promises have no expiry date, but that you will always be faithful. We pray that you would give us more grace so that we would entrust ourselves more and more to you, our faithful God and king. We thank you for the redeeming work of our Saviour. Thank you that he lived a perfect life, that he died the death that satisfied your wrath. We praise you that he is a one-woman King and that his love for us endures forever. We pray in his glorious name and we look forward to his glorious kingdom. AMEN.
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service. Thank-you.
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