Today's passage: II Samuel 5
The Philistines were still not convinced that Israel's God is greater. When David (years ago by this point) killed their most ferocious warrior, they believed it to be one battle of many battles that Israel happened to win. I don't say this simply because they come up against now King David here in this chapter. I say this because of what I read in verse 21. After David prays and asks God if he should go up against the Philistines, which God approves, the Israelites are once again able to pummel the Philistines. One thing I wonder about here. In chapter 17, we don't see David asking God if he should go up against Goliath. These are the same Philistines, why would he ask here? I think in that instance, it was only him. He wasn't in charge of an army. He knew that Goliath had challenged God's power, and David was willing to sacrifice himself to take down anyone who defied the living God. In this case, he is now the commander-in-chief over hundreds of men. To simply assume God will be with them is not a risk David is willing to take with other lives involved. If it had only been him, he may have taken that chance. After all, just like Joshua and Ai, just because David's heart was right, didn't mean that the hearts of his soldiers were right, and a slaughter because there was "sin in the camp" would have significant consequences. David prays, God says yes, the Israelites destroy.
"And there they left their images, and David burned them." Why would the Philistines bring their idols with them? My guess is that they wanted to prove to Israel that their gods were far more powerful than Jehovah God. This was more than just a battle between two nations over territorial rights, over land disputes. This was a battle to find out whose God was Sovereign. And anytime that kind of battle takes place, God will always win. David uses them to build a bonfire. Perhaps when the remainder of the Philistines see a fire in the city, they assume their men have been successful, because a second regiment goes in against David's army
. This time, God tells David to wait. He tells him to send some troops in behind them and wait for the signal of the moving mulberry trees. God says He will go out before them, and He will destroy them. David follows God's instructions and the Philistines soon wish they had never challenged Israel's God. Again.
The Philistines may have thought that since so much time had passed, that since they brought their gods with them, that they would be able to conquer Israel. But Israel's God is constant. He is always powerful, not just when His people are faithful to Him. His power is not dependent on our submission. Their gods only performed for them, and they could never be sure when something they had or had not done might "change" their gods' minds. I'm grateful for a God who is unchanging, unaltered, unwavering in His love for me. I'm proud to serve a God I can rely on no matter how much time has passed. And I'm certain that David recognized that about his God as well.