The Victory List (II Samuel 8)
Topic: II Samuel Passage: 2 Samuel 8:1–8:18
Crying for a King
The Victory List
II Samuel 8
September 22nd, 2013
(One Lord: So Great a Salvation)
I. A List of Lists
Okay, I’m sure you’ve heard of a “grocery list”. And I would guess that you’ve heard of a “bucket list”. And I think it would be safe to assume that you’ve heard of an “enemies list”, and a “black list”, and even “Craig’s List”.
But have you ever heard of a victory list? That's the very thing God wants us to think about this morning. Please turn with me to II Samuel, chapter 8.
II. The Passage: “And the LORD Gave Victory” (8:1-18)
Let's continue to our study of Samuel by looking at verse 1 of chapter 8. Now let me warn you before we begin, there are a lot of strange names, of both people and place. Don't let those throw. Let's consider what God has for us this morning from this chapter. Verse 1...
After this David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines.  And he defeated Moab and he measured them with a line, making them lie down on the ground. Two lines he measured to be put to death, and one full line to be spared. And the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute.  David also defeated Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to restore his power at the river Euphrates.  And David took from him 1,700 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses but left enough for 100 chariots.  And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down 22,000 men of the Syrians.  Then David put garrisons in Aram of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute. And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went.  And David took the shields of gold that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem.  And from Betah and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, King David took very much bronze.  When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadadezer,  Toi sent his son Joram to King David, to ask about his health and to bless him because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him, for Hadadezer had often been at war with Toi. And Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold, and of bronze.  These also King David dedicated to the LORD, together with the silver and gold that he dedicated from all the nations he subdued,  from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, Amalek, and from the spoil of Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah.  And David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.  Then he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David's servants. And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went. So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people.  Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder,  and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, and Seraiah was secretary,  and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and David's sons were priests.
Do you see what God has given us here? He's given us a victory list! This is an inspired record of David's victories. Not long after we met David back in I Samuel 16, we learned that David was a great warrior. And ever since that time, we've heard about David's various victories. But we've never had a list like this.
Now in terms of understanding this chapter, let me point out a few things I'd like you to notice:
First of all, in terms of geography, the extent of these victories was broad. The list of nations or kingdoms that we are given here in chapter 8 covers a good-sized piece of real estate. The Philistines lived to the west and southwest, along the Mediterranean coast, the Moabites and Edomites to the south, southeast, and east, and Damascus, Zobah, and Hamath are to the north and northeast. Why is he fighting against his neighbors? Well it doesn’t tell us exactly, but there are enough clues in the context to indicate that these nations were hostile to David. We’ve known from I Samuel that the Philistines have needed to be subdued, and verse 3 tells us that Hadadezer was attempting to expand his power base in the region. But it’s clear that to almost every point of the compass, David is going forward in victory.
Second, in terms of success, the extent of these victories was comprehensive. Notice that David didn't simply repel or rebuff these foreign armies. He dealt a severe blow to these nations. He took control of a major Philistine city (v. 1). He wiped out two thirds of the Moabite army (v. 2). He captured thousands of Zobah's chariots and charioteers, and rendered almost all of their horses useless in terms of future battles (v. 4). He not only trounced the Syrians, but he was able to set up garrisons in their territory (v. 6). He did the same in Edom, so that the Edomites became his servants. (v. 14). And he took lots of spoil from all of his enemies, gold and bronze and silver (vs. 7, 8, 10). There can be no doubt that David's victories were comprehensive.
Third, in terms of notoriety, the extent of these victories was far-reaching. Two verses here give us an indication of how the word had spread about David's victories. We read in verse 13 that David's victory over 18,000 Edomites was well-known in the region. But in verses 9 and 10, we also hear about a king named Toi, who hears about David's victory over Hadadezer the king of Zobah and sends his son Joram on a diplomatic mission to David. We read in those verses that Toi was very pleased that his old enemy Hadadezer had been crushed by David. And of course, Toi was very wise to show that he was for David and not against him.
III. Who Gives Us the Victory
Now as we think about the importance of chapter 8, we would be remiss if we missed the emphasis the author gives us here. Did you see the one phrase that is repeated in this chapter? It's at the end of both verses 6 and 14. Do you see it?
And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went. (vs. 6, 14)
You see, first and foremost, this chapter is not a record of David's victories. It's a record of God's victories. And if that's true, then listen to an amazing connection...courtesy of the Apostle Paul:
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:56-57)
Like David, has God given you victory? If your faith is in Jesus, if you've trusted in Christ as your only hope, then He has...and He is...and He will! What kind of victory does God give us by grace, through faith? He gives us the victory of Jesus: victory over sin, victory over death, and victory over the Enemy. In Jesus God gives us victory over despair, victory over self, victory over fear, victory over lust, and greed, and jealousy and unforgiveness. Victory over purposelessness, victory over meaninglessness, victory over hopelessness. Victory over the world. As the Apostle John expressed it:
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (I John 5:4)
Like David, has God given you victory? Beginning with Christ's victory over the power of sin and death, do you recognize the smaller victories that flow from that victory at Calvary? Do you recognize the victories He's given you, in your home, in your family, in your workplace, in your marriage, in your words, in your finances, in your thoughts, in your desires? God gives the victories and God gets the glory, right!
I think one of the ways we can glorify God in light of His victories is to do the very thing we find here in II Samuel 8. I can, you can write out a victory list! I've even given you space on your “notes” sheet to do that very thing. Think about the things God has helped you overcome. Think about the challenges God has brought you through. Think about the prayers God has answered. Write those things down, and glorify God by acknowledging that He has given you the victory. AND/OR, write down the areas where you are praying for victory, areas in which you desperately want to overcome.
And then keep adding to that list. Keeping looking for His victories in your life. Let that victory list be a reminder of His faithfulness. Let that list be an instigator of thankfulness and praise. Let that list be a means of humbling you, and turning your eyes from yourself, to the real Hero of your story. Keep that list close.
Let me finish this morning with three additional lessons I believe God has given us here in II Samuel 8. These are things we can think about as we think about our victory list.
First, God's victories flow directly from His promises! The context here is very important. Do you remember what we saw in the last chapter? We read in chapter 7 about how God made a covenant promise to David, to establish the throne of David forever. We talked last week and the week before about how that promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the descendant of David who lives and reigns forever.
But we also talked last week about God’s covenant promise to us in Jesus Christ. All of God’s promises are fulfilled in some way in Jesus Christ, and if our faith is in Jesus as our only hope, then we are recipients of those promises. Why is this so important? Because as you go forward in faith, you need to know that God is not like some wishy-washy ally who may or may not be there to have your back. You need to know that God will show himself strong in your life according to His unbreakable treaty with you.
Like many treaties the U.S. has made in the past, in Jesus, God has said to you, “When you are attacked in any way, I will be there to fight for you. I will stand with you. You are not alone.” Does that in every situation God simply comes and gets rid of the difficulties. No, but He is always there supporting you, reinforcing you, arming you so you can “fight the good fight of faith”.
The second thing we are reminded of here is that, God's promises, we fight! I think we sometimes have the mindset that God's promises are received passively, as if God simply places us in a first-class seat, puts a drink in our hand, kicks the sit back, and pulls the sleeping mask down over our eyes so that he can transport us, turbulence free to our heavenly destination.
But that’s not we see in the Bible. God calls us to receive His promises with an active faith. When God promises to get us past the finish line, we run. When God promises to give us a harvest of righteousness or of eternal life, we plant and we water. And when God promises us victory in Christ, we fight, each day. Remember, David received the promise in II Samuel 7 that God would establish his kingdom and give Israel rest from all of her enemies on every side. And in light of that promise, what did David do? Sit back and wait for God to rain down fire and brimstone? No, he went out and fought the battles that needed to be fought.
Let’s be clear, the Victory (capital “V”) has already been won by Jesus through His death and resurrection. But we are called to “fight the good fight” each day in light of that victory and in the power of His triumph. And when we fight to trust Him, when we fight to obey Him, when we fight to speak and live for Him, we are not fighting in our own strength. Listen to a couple verse from Paul in regard to our fighting and God’s power:
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.  Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. (I Corinthians 15:10-11)
For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Col.1:29)
And will these battles be easy. No! We learn from the title inscription of Psalm 60 that that psalm was written in the midst of these very battles, the battles of II Samuel 8. Just listen to how David cries out to God in the midst of the conflict. In verse 1, He say God you have
[60:1] …broken our defenses;  Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go forth, O God, with our armies.  Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!  With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes. (Psalm 60:10-12)
Finally, third, we respond by dedicating everything to Him!
What good thing do you possess that is not a spoil of the victories of God on your behalf? And if that’s true, then we should gladly give all things over to God for His pleasure. David did that in verse 11. Did you see that? All of the gold, silver, and bronze that he took as spoils of war, he dedicated to God. What does that mean? Well a practical example of this is found in I Chronicles 22, where we learn that these precious metals were set aside so they could be used by David’s son Solomon when he constructed God’s temple in Jerusalem.
Have you set aside your time, your talents, your treasure for God, for His glory, for His work in this world?
This morning as we finish, as we think about this idea of a victory list, I don’t want us to miss the amazing statement the writer has given us here in verse 15:
So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people.
The message of this verse is central to the message of the book of Samuel. God installed a king over His people who would reign over them as He reigns over them. “Justice and equity”. What do these mean? It means David did what was right for his people.
That justice and that equity have to point us forward to Jesus Christ, the Son of David. David's reign was only a shadow of the glorious reign of Jesus. Jesus came with justice and equity. But what did He do with them? Did He give to every person according to what they deserved? No, He took justice and equity and combined them with mercy and love to make a beautiful salve for needy sinners like us. He mixed it all on the cross and declared, “justice will be satisfied here”.
Jesus was like David in that he came as the king as fought the battle that needed to be fought, and He won! And the extent of His victory is incomparable. Sin, death, the Devil, and the world were overcome by the power of the death and resurrection of Christ.
We want to follow Him and bring our tribute to His feet, right? All of the victories in our life flow from the battle fought on that cross.
Are you humbled this morning? Are you thankful this morning? Are you ready to go into your week looking for God to be your champion? Are you going into your week ready to identify and celebrate all of God's victories on your victory list?
Don't let the week go by without recognizing the victories that God is accomplishing in your life, every day. And when you see that, you are filled with joy and gratitude. And it prepares you, in your faith, to look for God, each moment, to be your champion.