Monday 23rd March - Remember the battle and the victory.

Read: 2 Samuel 8:1-15 & Psalm 60.

This is an odd passage to start the week with. Whereas previous chapters have gone over specific battles and points of interest with detail and depth these 14 verses serve to summarise several military victories that would have stretched over months. There is a clear change in pace. I almost feel this is the Biblical author's way of changing the direction of the narrative. It is like the end of a TV season, one main story has finished (David rising to become King), now it is time for something else. David is in a good place, is something bad around the corner? We have had the rise of David's Kingship, are we now going to read about His fall?

I'd imagine that many following this Bible in a year plan would have found these interluding verses as captivating as plowing through a list of genealogies. Historical detail is valuable, as it adds credibility to the claims of the Bible through streams such as archeology, although this is not always an interesting field of subject. Today, we tend to read our Bibles with a different focus in mind; we want to be able to identify and draw upon a principle in the text and apply it to our lives.

My greatest effort to appease is: 'The Lord gave David victory wherever he went' (V6). David was blessed by God and He never forgot it. Despite all the victories, accolades and titles God was rightfully remembered. Look again at verse 11-12: 'Joram brought with Him articles of silver, gold, and bronze. King David dedicated these articles to the Lord, as He had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued' (2 Sam 8:11-12).

We also should strive to remember God in the battle and the victory. I can't find the footnote (sorry!), but in John Calvin's famous Institutes of the Christian Religion he offers three reasons why Christian's should commit themselves to prayer;

1. To acknowledge that we need help in life.

2. To acknowledge the source of our help - God!

3. To give thanks when the drama is over.

While God welcomes us to be quick to seek Him in our hour of need, we should also be just as rapid to give thanks when issues are resolved. This will only deepen our faith, love, and trust in God. Some people, including myself, find it helpful to maintain a prayer journal to record answers to prayer for this very reason. In Luke's Gospel, we read of a short story where Jesus heals 10 men with leprosy but only one returns to give thanks (Luke 17:11-19). I want to be one of the ones who goes back to God with thanksgiving in my heart. I pray you do too!

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