“And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Methegammah out of the hand of the Philistines…” (2 Sam. 8:1-14).
When God makes promises to us, there are certain things that we must do on our part to fulfill the covenantal agreement. The fulfilling of these Divine mandates, however, have boundaries and we must acknowledge those boundaries. Why? Because if we do not, we will overrun the boundaries placed upon us by our Heavenly King. In so doing, we run the risk of becoming autonomous and focused upon our own selfish endeavors.
Understanding The Text
When God promised to make David’s lineage a royal dynasty, this was also a promise to give David rest from all of his enemies. However, God did not mention anything about David going forth to dominate the other nations to attain this rest. Within this text, we can observe David’s reign shifting from reliance upon traditional religious convictions to a reliance more focused upon political and militaristic ambition.
Although the text reads that “…the Lord preserved David whitersoever he went…”, what the text does not show is David consulting with God prior to engaging in warfare as he had done in the past (1 Sam. 23:2,4,10-12; 30:8; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19,23). It also does not show God giving David instructions to expand “his kingdom”. God initially set Israel apart as a “holy nation” with the intention of Israel being “…a light to the Gentiles…” (Isa. 49:6). God’s intention, however, was not for Israel to become a self-reliant, autonomous empire. In the upcoming Scriptural texts, we can observe the consequences of this type of action and thinking as the Davidic dynasty is almost placed in jeopardy as a consequence of this shift.
Why Is This Important To Us?
This is important to us because the danger in this type of behavior is that it becomes easier for us to become prideful as we begin to make a name and reputation for ourselves. Our focus can easily shift from the former things which kept us in check and adherent to God’s Divine mandate for our lives. We can easily forget that ‘bigger is not always better’.
Our success in God’s Kingdom depends solely upon where our true allegiance lies. The moment we shift from relying on God’s rule and reign in our lives is the moment we begin to place confidence within our own abilities. When this occurs, we are basically saying to God that we are expecting Him to forsake His own agenda in favor of our agenda.
With this type of thinking, we have made our agendas and ambitions more important than God’s Kingdom agenda. We begin to function as though our agenda is more relevant and His agenda has become more outdated over time. The problem with this type of thinking is that we forget that God is eternal and timeless. Therefore, anything He says and does is eternal and timeless. This also means that His rule and reign is also eternal and timeless.
God has established boundaries within His creation, and all of His creation must comply with those eternal decrees (Jer. 5:22; 31:35). This includes us as well. Once we begin to operate outside of the boundaries of those eternal decrees, we will begin to observe the chaos and disorder in our lives that result as a consequence of our actions.
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”