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The Lord Establishes David

Our last message from 2 Samuel ended with David finally becoming king over all of Israel! He began to rule over just one tribe of Israel – the tribe of Judah – when he was 30 years old – and he waited another seven and a half years before he was finally invited to be king over all of Israel.

2 Samuel 5:4 says..

4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in all. 5 He had reigned over Judah from Hebron for seven years and six months, and from Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.

2 Samuel 5:4-5

Now you’ll noticed that when David ruled over just Judah – his capital city was the city of Hebron. This was certainly a significant city in Judah – actually I read in my devotions this week that this was where Abraham spent a lot of time. He built an altar there and when his wife Sarah died – she was buried in that area. This was also the city that Caleb (one of the 12 spies that gave a good report to Moses) – this was the city that was given to him as his inheritance from the Lord. Later it would become one of the cities of refuge and would belong to the descendants of the high priest. So Hebron had a long and important history for the Israelites.

However, when David began to rule over all Israel, he moved his capital city to Jerusalem. This was a city that up until this point had not really been a significant city for the Israelites. In fact, at this time, Jerusalem wasn’t even an Israelite city! It was a fortress within Israelite territory but it was controlled by the Jebusites – some of the original inhabitants of the land. 

However, today we’re going to see that conquering this fortress and making it his new capital city would be David’s first priority as the new king of Israel.

Our passage begins today in 2 Samuel chapter 5 – verse 6. it goes like this:

6 David then led his men to Jerusalem to fight against the Jebusites, the original inhabitants of the land who were living there. 2 Samuel 5:6a

Now before we go any further into our passage today, I want us to take a quick look at the history of Jerusalem and gain a little more understanding as to why David has now decided to attack this city.

The first mention of Jerusalem is actually in the book of Joshua. You might remember that battle where Joshua prayed that the sun and the moon would stand still while he finished the battle – well that was a battle that Joshua fought against an alliance of several Kings led by the King of Jerusalem. Now that particular battle took place at Gibeon – and not at Jerusalem – so even though the king of Jerusalem and his armies were defeated, the city of Jerusalem was not taken over by Joshua at this time.

In fact, even though Joshua did conquer much of the Promised Land, they were never really able to dislodge the Jebusites from Jerusalem. It says in Judge 1:21…

The tribe of Benjamin, however, failed to drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem. So to this day the Jebusites live in Jerusalem among the people of Benjamin.

Judges 1:21

And this was still true even by the time David came on the scene. The Jebusites and the Israelites must have come to some sort of peaceful arrangement where they could both co-exist – an arrangement that had apparently lasted for decades if not centuries!

In fact, back in 1 Samuel 17 when David killed Goliath – we see that he took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem for some reason! We’re not told exactly why – but apparently the Israelites and Jebusites had a good enough relationship where they could each come and go freely within each other’s cities.

So my question is: why now does David determine that his first act as King of Israel is to attack and try to conquer this city?

Well, there are probably a few good reasons.

First of all, God had given this city to the Israelites as part of their inheritance in the Promised Land!Specifically, the city of Jerusalem had been given to the tribe of Benjamin.

In Joshua 18 we read how Joshua divided up the Promised Land by casting sacred lots in the presence of God and he allotted each tribe certain towns and areas. In verses 21-28 we read: 

These were the towns given to the clans of the tribe of Benjamin.

Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz, 22 Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24 Kephar-ammoni, Ophni, and Geba—twelve towns with their surrounding villages. 25 Also Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26 Mizpah, Kephirah, Mozah, 27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28 Zela, Haeleph, the Jebusite town (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah, and Kiriath-jearim—fourteen towns with their surrounding villages.

This was the homeland allocated to the clans of the tribe of Benjamin.

Joshua 18:21-28

Interestingly, Saul happened to be from the tribe of Benjamin – and yet we don’t see any evidence that he ever did anything to try to conquer Jerusalem for his nation or for his tribe. Perhaps after decades of living peacefully with the Jebusites, the Israelites had just grown accustomed to having them there! Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal that the Jebusites were living in what should have been their city?!?

Well, I think maybe David would disagree on that point. As would God. God had actually commanded the Isrealites to completely destroy the Jebusites way back in the time of Moses! In Deuteronomy 20 we read:

16 In those towns that the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing. 17 You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 20:16-18

Not only was God executing judgement on these nations for their sinful ways, He was also commanding their removal so that Israel wouldn’t follow in their sinful footsteps! He knew that if they were allowed to remain among them, the sinful influence of these nations would lead the Israelites to sin deeply against the Lord! And of course, that’s exactly what happened later on – years after the time of David – Israel followed the practices of idolatry that they saw in the nations around them and eventually Israel became as pagan and sinful as the people God told them to destroy in the first place!

As Paul would later write in 1 Corinthians 15,

“…bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33b

And this is certainly true for us today! Not to say that we need to go on some kind of ‘holy crusade’ to remove all the sinners from our lives, but we do need to be careful what influences we allow to shape our lives and the lives of our kids!

I’m sure we don’t realize the half of it, but so much of our values and our priorities and the core beliefs we have about the world, God, and ourselves – so much of that comes from the people we spend time with.

And that’s not just limited to our real life interactions either! Certainly we are influenced by our friends and family, by our teachers and our co-workers – but today, more than ever, we are also influenced by  the people we hang out with through youtube or instagram, through tv & books, music and movies. 

Think of the YouTube channels you follow, or the podcasts you listen to, or even the radio host personalities you have playing in the background. How much time do you give to those people to influence you? Or think of the books you read or the tv series you watch. You are giving all those people (from the characters on paw patrol to your favourite youtube personality) you’re giving all of them hours and hours of time to influence you and your kids – and you can’t help but pick up on their values, their priorities and their beliefs.

Now that can be a good thing or a bad thing – depending on who you’re spending time with. They will either lead you to adopt godly values, kingdom priorities, and true beliefs – or they will lead you to adopt worldly values, worldly priorities, and worldly beliefs. 

My point is that when we spend significant time with the people in our lives (real or virtual) – those people (and even those fictitious characters) will surely impact our values, priorities and beliefs. And so we need to be very careful to choose wisely who we will allow to influence us and our children in that way. We truly do become the people we hang out with! 

So let’s make sure that we don’t allow bad company to corrupt good character! Let’s surround ourselves and fill our lives with people who will influence us (and our kids) to become more like Jesus Christ.

That was certainly God’s strategy with the Israelites and I think it was at least part of the reason why David chose to attack Jerusalem at this time – to remove the sinful influence of the Jebusites from among the nation of Israel.

But of course, removing the Jebusites would be no easy task. There was a reason that the Jebusites were still entrenched in their city. It was a well-defended fortress! We read in 2 Samuel 5 verse 6.

6 David then led his men to Jerusalem to fight against the Jebusites, the original inhabitants of the land who were living there. The Jebusites taunted David, saying, “You’ll never get in here! Even the blind and lame could keep you out!” For the Jebusites thought they were safe.

2 Samuel 5:6

This was probably another good reason why David wanted to take Jerusalem as his capital city – it was a very secure and easily defended fortress.  There are deep valleys on three sides of Jerusalem – naturally making it very difficult to attack – and easy to defend. It also had a good water supply – so they could withstand a very long siege without running out of water!

And so these Jebusites – much like the inhabitants of Jericho – felt there was no way that anyone could get into their city! They wouldn’t even have to to try to defend it – even the lame and blind would be a sufficient force to keep David out! Or so they thought. We read on in verse 7…

7 But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David.

8 On the day of the attack, David said to his troops, “I hate those ‘lame’ and ‘blind’ Jebusites. Whoever attacks them should strike by going into the city through the water tunnel.” That is the origin of the saying, “The blind and the lame may not enter the house.”

2 Samuel 5:7-8

Now this is another passage that has several Hebrew words and sayings that have proven difficult to understand and translate. David’s statement about hating the lame and the blind, the attack through the water tunnel, and the eventual popular saying about the blind and lame not being allowed to enter the house – those are all phrases that could be interpreted in a few different ways. And so this morning, I won’t get into all the different proposed translations or explanations of these verses.For now we’ll just take them at face value for how they’re translated here – and I’ll leave it to you to look into it further if you want or you can come talk to me after the service. But either way, it doesn’t really change the meaning or the purpose of the passage.  And that purpose is made clear in the next two verses:

9 So David made the fortress his home, and he called it the City of David. He extended the city, starting at the supporting terraces and working inward. 10 And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies was with him.

2 Samuel 5:9-10

And that, I think, is the main point right there. The Jebusites thought they were untouchable – but they failed to recognize that the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies was with David. And because of that – David was unstoppable. David conquered the city, expanded it, made it even stronger than it was before, and made it his home. And he didn’t do that simply because he was a skilled warrior or brilliant strategist – he was able to do those things because the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies was with him.

And that’s such an encouragement for us today – because very same Lord God of Heaven’s Armies is with us too! We may not have a literal fortress to conquer like David did, but we face our fair share of fortresses in life none-the-less.

Maybe our fortress is a fortress of baggage that we carry with us from past experiences? Perhaps it’s a fortress of failures or addictions? Maybe the fortress that we face is related to our health or the health of a loved one? Maybe it’s a broken relationship? Maybe it’s a lack of purpose or meaning in our life? Maybe it’s an unfulfilled dream.

There can be all kinds of things that just seem to have a stronghold in our life – things that we can’t get past or simply don’t know how to deal with.

And sometimes all we can hear is the voice of the lame and the blind Jebusites – mocking us and taunting us. Saying we’ll never beat this thing. We’ll never conquer this fortress.

And you know – maybe they’re right! In our own strength or with our wisdom – maybe we can’t get past this fortress! But God can! He is the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies – and nothing is to difficult for him!

Jeremiah 32:17 says…

17 “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” Jeremiah 32:17

There is no fortress too strong, no problem too difficult, no task too impossible, no situation too hopeless – that God can’t overcome!

And that actually leads us into our last couple of verses for the day. They might sound a little inconsequential at first – but I love the great truths that we see here. It says in verse 11 & 12…

11 Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters and masons. And they built David a house. 12 So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.

2 Samuel 5:11-12

Like I said, it sounds a little inconsequential at first. In verse 11, the King of Tyre sends a bunch of supplies and workers to David to build him a house in Jerusalem. Ok, that’s nice. So what?

Well, because of this, David has a realization. He recognizes something that maybe he hadn’t seen before. And this is it: David realized that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that God had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.

There are two very key truths in there.

#1. David recognized that the Lord had establishing him as King over Israel. David’s kingship wasn’t the result of David’s hard work or his charismatic personality. It wasn’t because the people of Israel held a vote and decided that David was the best man for the job. No, David was established as King over Israel because God had made it so. This was God’s doing. God had established him as King.

The second great truth is the reason why God chose to do that – for the sake of His people Israel. God had a plan and purpose for David. He was to be king – not for his own glory or benefit – but for the benefit of God’s people Israel. God had done all these things for David – not for just David’s sake – but for the entire nation of people that God had chosen and loved dearly!

And those truths have such application in our lives. First of all, I think about our church.

It so important that we recognize that God is the one who has established our church. It’s very cool to see how our church has grown and how we fill this building and how our programs and services seem to be doing good things! But It’s not our church – and it’s not our hard work or charismatic personalities that have caused it to grow have a positive impact in our community. That’s God’s doing! God has established his church – and he will continue to do so. Why?

Not for our sake! Not for our egos or our personal enjoyment or satisfaction! God has establish this church for the sake of his people – the ones who know and love him – and the one’s who don’t yet – but one day will! God has established this church for the sake of those people – His people!

It’s so important that we recognize that and acknowledge that! Otherwise, we risk making it all about ourselves – and how our church can benefit us! How it can benefit me! But that’s never been God’s intention for his church. We are to be a blessing to others. We exist for the benefit of others. We need to make sure we don’t lose sight of that!

And that takes us to an even more personal application.

Just as God had establish David as king of Israel – so too, has God established you and I in our situation – whatever that situation is. He’s placed us in this geographical location, he’s given us homes and jobs and families – he’s put us in positions of influence – he’s arranged our circumstances (some enjoyable and some not) – but’s it’s God who has established us in those places and all those circumstances! We’re not where we are because of our hard work or charismatic personalities or even by accident – we’re where we are because God has placed us here.

And he’s done so for a reason. God has a plan and purpose for your life – right now – where you are today. And it’s not all about you. Now certainly, God loves you like crazy and and wants you to experience real abundant life – but that real abundant life is not about your comfort or enjoyment! God has designed life in such a way so that our greatest purpose and pleasure in life – is loving and serving others. That’s what brings glory to Him! God has established us (wherever we are and in whatever situation we find ourselves) for the sake of his people – for the people around us whom God dearly loves!

So what does that mean in real practical terms?

Well, for one example, for me, God has established me as a dad – why? so I can love and serve my kids (aka – the people that God dearly loves). And when I do that, I am fulfilling my God-given purpose which brings great glory to God.

And of course, that’s just one example – maybe God has established you in a difficult work situation. Why? So that you can love and serve others – which brings great glory to God.

Or maybe God has established you in the midst of some relationship conflict. Why? So that you can love and serve others – which brings great glory to God.

Wherever God has established you – He’s done so for a reason – so that you can love and serve others – which brings great glory to God.

This morning, I can’t help but think about Andrew – and how God had established him in such a way that he would cross paths with Jim. And for the past several years, Andrew has been doing exactly what God established him to do – to love and to serve Jim – for the glory of God.

And so this morning, I would just encourage you – that where ever God has established you – in whatever situation God has placed you in – to fulfill your God-given purpose to love and serve the people that God brings into your life. In doing this, you will experience real joy and abundant life – God will be glorified!

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