I love the theme of God's sovereignty, as illustrated again in today's reading from 2 Samuel 5: 19-25. Some people struggle with this theme, and can not decide or grasp how God is sovereign, in relation to the responsibility of men. If God is sovereign, what is our role and responsibility?
The first step to grasping the tension or relationship is simply accepting the truth of it, as evidenced in scripture, and in today's readings.
At verse 19, we read that David inquires of the LORD as to whether he should go up against the Philistines in battle. But note, David asks not just for 'permission,' but whether God will give the Philistines over. God answers in the affirmative.
This does not mean David walks out into the battlefield, and waits for the Philistines to fall over dead. He does not simply sit, battle arms ready, as it were, and wait for the Philistine army to fold. God's promise to deliver must be accomplished through David's actions, so David acts. As we read at verse 20, David defeats them. That is accurate.
But note what David says in the same verse: "The LORD has broken through my enemies..." David credits God for the successful battle. That is true and accurate.
At verse 22, the Philistines prepare again, and as we read, when David inquired of the LORD, God advises not just on the result of the battle (as in, 'I will deliver'), but directs David as to battle strategy: "You shall not go up [directly]; go around to the rear...." Here is the whole text:
"23 And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees. 24 And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then rouse yourself, for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 25 And David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer."
Note, David inquires, God directs on strategy, tells David to rouse himself in response to hearing 'God' working, and says "for then the LORD has gone out before you to stike down the army of the Philistines."
And note then what the text says next, at v.25: "And David did as the LORD commanded him, and struck down the Philistines."
David struck down the Philistines? Or God?
Clearly, it was God, through his instrument David. David is not just a utilitarian instrument, not simply a perfunctory battle leader. He is key in this, as we see in the text.
But God remains the ultimate actor, and maintains his sovereignty. And as he is here in this story, he is in life, for all of us.
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
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Desiring God Ministries
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