A Dozen Helpful Adjectives for Spiritual Warriors
2 Samuel 5:17-25
By Phillip G. Kayser at DCC on 9-3-2012
There is a story that has been circulating through pastoral circles and Christian books about Ivan the Terrible. I'm convinced that it is an urban legend for three reasons, which I won't get into. But the story goes that Ivan the Terrible, the Tsar of Russia, wanted to marry the daughter of the king of Greece. The Greek king agreed to the marriage on one condition – that Ivan become a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. I smell a rat right there because he was already member of the Orthodox church! But anyway, the urban legend says that the Tsar was quite willing to do that, and had 500 of his professional soldiers get catechized so that they could get baptized as Orthodox converts as well. Everything was going along swimmingly well until the Patriarch insisted that professional soldiers were not allowed to be members of the church; they would have to give up their profession. Well, Ivan wasn't about to go along with that. So they were at an impasse until the Tsar came up with a brilliant compromise – immerse the soldiers in baptism, but let them keep one arm and sword out of the water. That way they could become Orthodox but still be able to be professional soldiers.
While I think it is a fabricated story, it is a great illustration of a problem that we have in Christian circles – that there are often parts of our lives that we don't want to submit to Christ's Lordship; there are parts of our lives that we do not want to Christianize. The books and articles that I own have applied this story to money (titling it the unbaptized wallet, or something similar). But I found it rather curious that not one of the books applied the story literally to godly military service. I think is the most obvious application that you could make. David was quite willing to baptize his sword (so to speak) and to serve God with his sword.
And the reason I bring that up is that there are segments of the twenty-first century church that are pacifist and think that any warfare is by definition sinful. Though I am going to be applying this passage to spiritual warfare and other areas of life, if I was teaching a bunch of soldiers, I would have no problem teaching principles of dedication in warfare – that you need to be the best soldiers that you can possibly be. You cannot read through the life of David without realizing that David served God with his sword and pleased God with his sword. And you can't just dismiss it to the Old Testament because Romans 13 says exactly the same thing. Romans 13:2 says that it is lawful for the civil government to exercise judgment with the sword. Verse 3 makes it clear that it is lawful for civil rulers to terrify crooks with the sword. Verse 4 says that civil officers should use the sword as a ministry to God by executing evildoers. That's as explicit as you can get. They are supposed to be ministers of God; they are supposed to baptize their sword and keep using that sword rather than resigning from office. But they must do it as Christians; the sword must be baptized into lawful use. In Romans 13, verse 5, it says that they can be instruments of God's wrath. Verse 6 says that it is OK to pay taxes that will cover the costs of such warfare and law enforcement. Jesus did not make soldiers leave the military. He just taught them how to serve Him in that office. John the Baptist, Peter, and Paul all did the same.
In fact, based on other things that I have read by him, I'm pretty sure that I know how Stonewall Jackson would teach on this passage if he discussed it in the Virginia Military Institute. If those soldiers of the Tsar really existed, they should have been allowed to baptize their swords and to employ their military giftings to the glory of Christ.
This morning we are going to look at a dozen adjectives that are useful for both civil and spiritual warfare. These are adjectives for warriors. But I think that even some of the women and children in our midst will appreciate these adjectives.
I. Wary — David didn't relax after a victory (v. 17a) ==================================================
And the first one is "wary." If there is one thing that you see throughout 1 and 2 Samuel, it is that David was always aware of what was happening around him. He was wary of possible danger. Verse 17 says,
2Samuel 5:17 "Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold".
He was not caught by surprise because he was wary. And I think this verse speaks to the balance that needs to be maintained on our country's military intelligence and involvement with other countries. There always needs to be preparedness and wariness concerning aggressor nations. And on this I disagree with at least some libertarians. David did not relax after the major victory against the Jebusites because he knew that there were dangers from other sources. He was always anticipating potential problems and he was always gathering intelligence.
But here comes the balance - he always understood who the true enemies were. They were not his own citizens. It was not until chapter 24 that Satan moved David to start gathering intelligence on his own people, and as minimal as that intelligence gathering was, it was offensive to God and brought down God's judgment. When we get to chapter 24, I will have a great deal to say about the overreach of the Census Bureau, the FBI, and other agencies. It's a great passage on the limitations of the Federal Government.
But this little verse all by itself shows that there is a difference between wariness of the true enemy and paranoia about everyone. I have no problem with the massive amounts of intelligence that we gather on China, Russia, Iran, and other potentially dangerous countries. I have no problem with declaring that Islam is a threat. In fact, I wish we would. Unfortunately, we have not been wary in the right directions. We allow Muslims to immigrate even when they have radical ties. The real threat from Iran is not what they can shoot at us – at least not right now. It could be in the future. The real threat that they pose comes through our immigration policies. And so, while we give every appearance of being wary in other nations, we are letting the Philistines stream into our country in many forms. For example, dozens of countries have spies in our country via the diplomatic immunity that we grant to all United Nations officials. It's crazy. The United Nations itself is a huge breach in America's security. It always has been. So a nation's wariness can take good directions (like it does here) or it can take bad directions (like it does in chapter 24).
But we can apply this to spiritual warfare as well. Too many Christians spend no time understanding our worst enemy, Satan and his myriad demonic helpers. It doesn't even enter the consciousness of many Christians that Satan is attacking us on a daily basis. Too many times we treat our spouse as the enemy when it is really Satan that is the enemy of our marriages. Or we might fight against our flesh but fail to fight against the demons that use our flesh to tempt us. Wariness is a critical component of a well-governed person, a well-governed family, a well-governed church, and a well-governed nation. Don't be naïve about the dangers that our own government is posing economically and in other ways. Be wary.
I. Adaptable — David didn't box himself in to one Biblical option - Jerusalem (v. 17b) ===================================================================================
The next word is adaptable. Where was David when the Philistines sought to capture him? The previous verses say that he was in Jerusalem. Now, that would have been a pretty safe place to be if David only wanted to escape from capture. The Jebusites had been secure in that city for hundreds of years. But David wasn't simply after personal security, and so he didn't stay in that city. Verse 1 says, "And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold". The operative words are "went down," which commentators say rules out the stronghold being anywhere in Jerusalem. This was the stronghold that David was familiar with in the desert. He could adapt to many more contingencies in the desert stronghold than he could in Jerusalem. This move enabled David to pick when and where he would engage the enemy. And with the flexible options that it opened up, it enabled David to adapt as the need arose. But most importantly, David was concerned about protecting all of Israel, and not just protecting his life. He refused to let the Philistines box him in.
I think the military wisdom is obvious, but it is a principle that applies to all of life. Too many times we box ourselves in to one option. When churches take on huge debt, it's suddenly impossible for them to be flexible. They for sure can't go underground because they have a commitment to the bank and are stuck in one building. We have the flexibility of going underground within one week if we needed to. And having grown up in Ethiopia and having spent time in China and India, I am very conscious of how easily such a necessity could arise. When the communists took over in Ethiopia and started closing down the churches, the churches in the capital city that were building-based ceased to exist almost overnight. Those that had shepherds over tens continued to function and to grow even though they couldn't meet as a huge group. They were instantly adaptable. Flexibility and adaptability is so important in business, family, church, and nation. Businesses should not box themselves in to only one option with all of the potential dangers in our economy. So there are many applications that you could make on this one point.
I. Informed — David always knew what was happening (v. 18) =======================================================
The third adjective is "informed." Verse 18 says,
2Samuel 5:18 "The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim".
2Samuel 5:19 "So David inquired of the LORD…"
The word "so" indicates that David was informed of the new developments. I've touched on this under the "wary" point. Point I dealt with the balance that we need to have between wariness and paranoia. But this just addresses the need to constantly be informed. It implies a good chain of communication from soldier to Commander in Chief, and the application to the military is so obvious that I won't dwell on it.
But why is it that Christians are not equally well informed about the dangers that face us in other areas of life? Or to press this to your own hearts – have you studied the dangers that could threaten your family in the next few years, and have studied them sufficiently to at least know what the options are? You will still need to go to the Lord for guidance as the next point suggests, but (as one example) with Obamacare looming over our heads, have you at least investigated how it will impact your family or what your options are? Have you informed yourself of other Philistine-like dangers that are pursuing you – dangers like potentially massive price increases on food, electricity, and other items in the next couple years? Bill has already given us a heads up that there will be electrical price increases because of unconstitutional EPA mandates. Can your budget sustain those financial increases? If not, what are your potential options? Are you aware of what both government and private research is saying about potential terrorist attacks within the USA? Some Libertarians take a "who cares" attitude. You shouldn't do that. It could easily happen. And what are the resulting dangers of riots and shortages if an economic collapse happens? Or to use a different application, are you informed about the strategies that Satan uses to destroy individuals, families, and churches? Now, people sometimes go overboard on this and read more than they need to in order to take action. And a later adjective will deal with that. But in 2 Corinthians 2:11 Paul said about the Christians in his churches, that they were not ignorant of Satan's strategies. Could that be said of you? Be informed.
I. Prayerful — David sought God's guidance (v. 19) ===============================================
The next adjective is "prayerful." David sought God's guidance in verse 19:
2Samuel 5:19 "So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?" And the LORD said to David, "Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand."
David already knew the Biblical options, but he wanted to know which Biblical option would work the best in this situation. And the Lord gave him that guidance. And some Reformed people have failed to understand this point when it comes to guidance. They say, "You don't need to pray for guidance. All you need to do is read the Bible. And if the Bible gives you several options, just do whatever you want." There is a whole book in my library that basically gives that advice. And if that was as far as it went, it wouldn't be so bad, but it went on to say that we shouldn't pray for guidance. It's the "shouldn't" that troubles me. I believe it is very shortsighted and I believe it is a legalistic "shouldn't." That is saying that all I need to make any decisions in life is knowledge and understanding but I don't need wisdom. That is saying that all I need is a knowledge of the Biblical data, and an understanding of how the Biblical facts relate to each other systematically and is practical – but that I don't need wisdom on how to apply the Biblical understanding to the specific situations that I face.
Just to use courtship as an example – in our conference we saw that the Bible gives a great deal of flexibility on how to get married. We looked at seven models, with courtship and betrothal being the most common and usually the best. So you have freedom within boundaries. The boundaries would be the laws of God that govern romance, and they must always be in place in all cultures and all times. So there is freedom within the law. If you use the clear place of freedom as an excuse to disobey God's laws, you end up destroying freedom. So you should never pray for guidance on whether to follow Biblical law or not. Of course you follow the law. Those laws are inspired guidance. In fact, the Law Word of Scripture is the only infallible guidance that we have.
But on the options of liberty within the law, a parent might need to ask God for wisdom on how to proceed. And the son and daughter are certainly going to be praying for wisdom. I had one Reformed person who told me that if there were two girls that were equally qualified to be married and both of them were interested, just flip and coin and marry one of them. Well, that's kind of a cavalier attitude toward a serious issue. While it wouldn't be sin to do so, there are a ton of things that you don't know about either girl's future. Most people would definitely be in prayer for God to give them wisdom. And if we shouldn't be so cavalier about marriage, there are many other issues that we shouldn't be cavalier about as well.
In the case of David, the Bible allowed a wide latitude of liberty. It allowed for frontal attacks, guerilla warfare, hit and run tactics, ruses, flight, and many other options. It gave liberty. David could do what he wanted. But that misses the point that David wants guidance for what would be successful in this particular battle. This time God guided him to engage the Philistines in a frontal attack. In verse 23 God told him not to do a frontal attack, but to come in from behind. Both were biblical strategies, but when we speak of guidance, we aren't talking about asking God for new ethical guidance. The Bible gives us everything we need for that. Agreed. We are talking about asking God for wisdom in using the Biblical axioms and options in real life. And every single day there are options before us that we have the privilege of asking God for guidance on.
I don't want to drag this point out too far, but so many Reformed people struggle with it, that I will make one more comment. James 1 says that Christians sometimes lack wisdom on what to do. What's his advice? His advice is not to read the Bible. He has already assumed that you have done that and that you already have all the Biblical data. His advice is to ask God for the supernatural wisdom that you need to know how to apply the Biblical laws and Biblical liberties in the specific situations that you face. Let me read from James 1:
James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him".
And then he goes on to say that you've got to ask in faith or that wisdom won't be given. So one of the laws that Scripture gives is to pray for wisdom or to pray for guidance. And while there are many times when it really doesn't matter what you do (you can flip a coin on whether you eat oatmeal or cornflakes tomorrow morning or just do what you feel like). Most decisions are going to be that way. Within Biblical freedoms you just do what you want to do. But there are other times when the stakes are high that you want to take the Biblical option that will be most prospered. And actually, even on the breakfast illustration that I gave, the wisdom you might be praying for is that you are allergic to, or why you are allergic. Does that make sense? I know I have hammered on this, but I have done so because some of you have struggled on the relationship between the sufficiency of Scripture and guidance. There should be no tension between the two. Outside of the Bible you have the freedom to do whatever you want to do, but I ask for wisdom because I want God to prosper my actions. As far as I am concerned it is the relationship between the knowledge and understanding that we get from Scripture and the wisdom in applying it in real life.
I. Decisive — David takes decisive, immediately action based on God's guidance (v. 20a) ====================================================================================
But the next word is a key one – be decisive. David took immediate decisive action based on God's guidance. He knew that he wasn't violating any Biblical principles; he knew God's guidance; it resulted in boldness of action. Verse 20 starts,
2Samuel 5:20 "So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there…"
What gets some Christians into trouble is failure to take actions that need to be taken immediately. They get themselves into trouble through over-analyzing, procrastination, laziness, and fear. Some people can't make snap decisions because they always feel like they need more information before they make their decision, and they analyze, strategize, and chart things to death, never getting anything done. We are limited creatures and we have to make decisions based on limited information. We just have to face that fact. That will mean that we will sometimes have to make mistakes because of limited information. And we shouldn't feel bad that we make such mistakes if it was the best decision we could have made, given the limited information. That's one of the things my father in law used to say when we would have regrets over a decision. He would ask, "If you presently had only the information that you had when you made that decision, would you make the same decision again? If so, don't worry about." It's just one of the limitations of creaturehood. Decisions can't be postponed forever simply because we don't know everything.
And by the way, if you want to protect your children from such indecision, it is usually character issues that cause indecision, and they are character issues that you can instill at a rather young age. For example, without a work ethic, Proverbs tells us that opportunities will be missed and repairs not made. So sometimes a lack of a work ethic leads to indecision. Likewise, without future orientation, people will tend to do what comes easiest, which usually is not the best decision. Without boldness, people will make the business decision too late, or will jump on other opportunities too late. And those are just three character issues that are tied to decisiveness. Training our children in decisiveness is critical. Personally, I think it is better to make some bad decisions and be decisive than never to make decisions.
I. Humble — David gives God the credit for his victory (v. 20b) ============================================================
The next adjective is "humble." And this is a wonderful balance to the decisive feature, isn't it? In verse 20 David gives God the credit for his victory.
2Samuel 5:20 "So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, "The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water." Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim"
It was David who battled, and yet David realized that ultimately it was God who battled through him. I talked to a Christian at my Bible School one time, and he struggled with this. He asked me, "Why should I pray for God to help me on my exams when I am the one who is studying? Why should I thank God for good grades when it is I who did all the work?" He had done well on a previous exam, and I asked him if he had memorized every detail of the textbook. He said "No. That's impossible." And I asked him, "What if every question on the exam had been on precisely the points of information that you hadn't studied for? Can't you be thankful that God allowed you to master the portions that were covered on the exam? Secondly, Scripture says that God made your brain and there are Scriptures that say that God can bring confusion. Could you not be thankful to God for allowing you to think clearly? Can you not pray to God to help you to think clearly? Third, Isaiah says that God gives the farmer wisdom to know which kind of soil to plant various crops in. Even though he doesn't the source of god's wisdom, God still gave it. in fact, John 1 says that Christ enlightens every man who comes into the world. The very fact that you can think logically comes from God. Can you jot thank Him for that? Fourth, Scripture says that in Him we live and move and have our being – even our daily breath comes from Him. You couldn't study if God did not give you the ability. There is no basis for pride. Fifth, God prospers or frustrates our labors. He could make you so sick on the day of the exam that you couldn't think straight. Sixth, God makes the blind, and if He wanted, He could make you blind right now. Seventh, Philippians 2:12-13 does not pit God's sovereignty over every detail against our hard work. Instead, it says,"
Philippians 2:12 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling";
Philippians 2:13 "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure".
"That verse says that you wouldn't even have the desire to do the right thing let alone be able to do the right thing without God. [And then I told him,] "There are many reasons to labor hard and to have the humility to give the credit to God."
In the midst of a pitched battle, Oliver Cromwell told his soldiers, "Trust God and keep your powder dry." And those two always go together: the humility of faith always results in diligent obedience.
I. Principled — David destroys the Philistine idols (v. 21 with 1 Chron. 14:12) ============================================================================
The seventh adjective is "principled." Look at verse 21.
2Samuel 5:21 "And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away".
They carried them away as a vivid declaration that those gods were powerless before Jehovah. They carried them away so that the Philistines would no longer be able to trust them. That itself is debilitating – to undermine the confidence of the enemy. But 1 Chronicles adds a point of information when it says,
1Chronicles 14:12 "And when they left their gods there, David gave a commandment, and they were burned with fire".
He didn't' try to sell them. That would perpetuate the idolatry. But neither did he treat those idols as mementos or souvenirs of the war. He could have put them on a showcase and told his kids, "Each of these idols represents another victory against the Philistines." No, he didn't do that. He burned them with fire.
There are some things that are so dangerous that they should be destroyed. In Acts 19:19 the apostles burned witchcraft books worth 50,000 pieces of silver. That's a lot of money. Why didn't they sell them on ebay and make some money for the church? Why didn't they keep them for research on witchcraft? And the answer is that such books would be dangerous to sell and dangerous to keep. It's one of the reasons why Joshua burned the library cities in Canaan. There are a lot of Christians who have been unsuccessful in their spiritual warfare because they have tangible items in their homes that give legal ground for demons to harass them. Those things might be occult games, occult books, or other occult paraphanalia. We had incredible demonic activity in our home when a Korean brought an idol into our home.
My encouragement to you is to do like David did and don't give Satan one inch. Get rid of Ouija boards. They are not innocent. They give Satan legal ground to harass your family. Get rid of Dungeons and Dragons. Get rid of New Age crystals and pyramids. Get rid of occult medicine. Christians must not mix pagan idolatry with their Christianity in any way. We must be principled; we must have antithesis.
I. Persistent — The enemy didn't go away (v. 22) =============================================
The next adjective is "persistent." David had to be persistent in his warfare because the enemy didn't just go away. Verse 22 says,
2Samuel 5:22 "Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim".
We understand the importance of eternal vigilance on our borders. But the enemy can be within a country as well. David had experienced that with king Saul. Saul was the enemy. Over and over we find that nations fall from within when its citizens are not vigilent and persistent. The famous Irish jurist from the late 1700's, John Philpot Curran, had seen numerous attempts by wealthy people to unjustly destroy men they didn't like through the British courts, and he tirelessly championed liberty. He said,
It is the common fate of the indolent [which means lazy or inactive] to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
That's an incredible comment. Let me read it again:
It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
He would say that Americans today deserve what we have gotten in American politics because we have been indolent and not persistant in opposing tyranny. We see that in connection with the attempts to put in a central bank in America. Alexander Hamilton lost in his bid to achieve that in the Constitutional Convention, but he never stopped trying. And other tyrant Philistines kept trying until not only a central bank, but even worse, the private Federal Reserve was put into place. One of the great opponents of the central bank was President Andrew Jackson. In fact, it was his best legacy that he killed it. That's why it is such an insult to his name that the Federal Reserve has put his picture on twenty dollar bills. Jackson would metaphorically roll over in his grave. He did everything he could to stop our present evil banking system. He knew the horrible consequences of a Central Bank. In his farewell address in 1837 he said,
But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.
And all I can say is, "Amen, and Amen." Satan will guarantee that humans will be persistent in casting off the bonds of Christ. We must be just as persistent in promoting the perfect law of liberty in our nation.
I. Dependent — Don't assume a past walk with God equals a present walk with God (v. 23) ====================================================================================
The ninth adjective is "dependent." We must not rush into battle with self-confidence or confidence in past victories or confidence in anything but God. It would have been easy for David to think that since God had guided him once to take on the Philistines head on that he could do so again. But David was not so foolish. In verse 23 it says,
2Samuel 5:23 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, "You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees.
This was to be an action from the rear of the enemy. And in terms of military practice or football practice you could apply it toward strategies of mixing it up and keeping the enemy off balance. But I just want to make an application to dependence. This verse reinforces what we said before about guidance. We need to seek the Lord daily. Don't rest on your past successes as a sign of your present success. Faith does not say, "I am saved because I had a conversion twenty years ago." No. Faith depends upon Jesus right now and continually for our salvation. It's OK to say, "I trusted Jesus twenty years ago, and I continue to trust Him alone for my salvation." But faith always (present tense) depends upon God. It is not hit and miss. Don't just glory in God's work in your life from the past. Moment by moment depend upon Him entirely – even for the smallest things in your life. That's why we dependently pray and thank God before we eat Corn Flakes - Lord bless this to my body's health. It might be a presumptuous prayer if all you eat is Twinkies.
I. Attuned — David did not just focus on flesh and blood battles (v. 24) =====================================================================
The tenth adjective is "attuned." David did not just focus on flesh and blood battles; his vision took in the fact that the ultimate victories take place in the realm of the unseen – unseen demons and unseen elect angels who were battling all around them. Verse 24 says,
2Samuel 5:24 "And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines."
God was indicating that even military campaigns must seek the favor of the Lord, because our battle is not just against flesh and blood; it is also against the demons who spur on the enemy. And in this case David's prayers were linked with angelic warfare. David couldn't see them, but he could hear them. And I believe God enabled David to hear the sound of marching so that David would never forget that every battle he engaged in was a battle that also involved the unseen angels.
By the way, this helps to explain why historically there has so much demonic activity during warfare. Both elect and non-elect angels are interested in such things. Sometimes the soldiers themselves cannot understand why they have so willingly engaged in torture, brutality, rape, theft, and other evils. It's not just Hitler's Germany that had rampant demonic activity. Virtually every European war has. And as armies approached towns and cities in Europe, the demonic activity among the civilians of those districts would increase. It's a fascinating historical phenomenon. There is a very tight connection between warfare and spiritual battles. It is one of the reasons why I believe we must pray diligently for our military men when they are deployed. It's not just the bullets that are dangerous. The whole spiritual environment is as well. But praise God! He encamps round about those who fear Him. He sends His angels to guard their steps. If you want a fabulous story on this, read Sergeant York's autobiography. He was attuned to the spiritual dimension of battles.
And when you face difficulties and battles in your home, at work, in the church, or elsewhere, I would encourage you to pray that God would send His warrior angels to deal with the demonic and to break off their grip. If you have not learned how to engage in spiritual warfare, you must. If you want success in life, you must be attuned to the spiritual.
I. Obedient — David was sold out to following God (v. 25a) =======================================================
The eleventh adjective is "obedient." Verse 25:
2Samuel 5:25 "And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer".
And David did so, as the LORD commanded him. Unlike normal guidance, David's was inspired, and so it took on an authority that was similar to Scripture's. It required obedience. There is no inspired guidance or revelation anymore, and so no guidance that we receive can have such authority. 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 say that there are no good works outside the Bible that we must obey. And that is another balance that must be maintained. Christians sometimes allow there conscience to be bound by things outside the Bible. that's wtong. But when it comes to Scripture, we must have a completely sold-out commitment to obeying God's Word, the Bible. If we will be sold out in following God in all that He commands us to do in the Bible, He will bless us. Deuteronomy promises it.
I. Advancing — David pressed beyond the old borders (v. 25b) =========================================================
The last adjective is "advancing." The last part of verse 25 says, "and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer." Geba was five miles northeast of Jerusalem, and David pushed the Philistines westward in a drive up and over the central mountains and back to the place where they were early in Saul's reign. I'm not sure how far it is up and over, but it was twenty miles as the crow flies. So David wasn't just securing his present borders. He was pushing the Philistines completely out of the territory that God had originally given to him.
And this is a great lesson for us as well. We should never be satisfied with partial victories in our spiritual life. We should desire the whole inheritance that God has given to us. We must be aggressive in fighting against sin; we must be aggressive in our drive to claim back America; we must be aggressively pressing for the crown rights of King Jesus even beyond what we have experienced so far in our own lifetime. Don't be satisfied with anything less than God's call. Keep pressing against the enemy.
And so, while this passage obviously has implications for warfare, I think I have shown how these twelve adjectives should describe our entire life. May God make us warriors like David. Amen.
Charge: I charge you to embrace these twelve adjectives for warriors.
A Dozen Helpful Adjectives for Spiritual Warriors
2 Samuel 5:17-25
By Phillip G. Kayser at DCC on 9-3-2012
I. Wary — David didn't relax after a victory (v. 17a)
II. Adaptable — David didn't box himself in to one Biblical option - Jerusalem (v. 17b)
III. Informed — David always knew what was happening (v. 18)
IV. Prayerful — David sought God's guidance (v. 19)
V. Decisive — David takes decisive, immediately action based on God's guidance (v. 20a)
VI. Humble — David gives God the credit for his victory (v. 20b)
VII. Principled — David destroys the Philistine idols (v. 21 with 1 Chron. 14:12)
VIII. Persistent — The enemy didn't go away (v. 22)
IX. Dependent — Don't assume a past walk with God equals a present walk with God (v. 23)
X. Attuned — David did not just focus on flesh and blood battles (v. 24)
XI. Obedient — David was sold out to following God (v. 25a)
XII. Advancing — David pressed beyond the old borders (v. 25b)