A very abbreviated story of David’s conquest of Jebus, which is Jerusalem, fills our reading today. David triumphed because the Lord was with him.
From what I can find in research, one of David’s acts in his first year after becoming king of Israel was to take Jerusalem. I wonder why he decided he wanted it so badly. Could it be because it was so well fortified that he figured it would serve him the same way? Did God set David’s heart on it? When David killed Goliath his head was displayed in Jebus/Jerusalem. Did this city already occupy a place of power in Israel’s hearts? I wonder if David devised his battle plan while still over only the tribe of Judah. “When God finally makes me king of Israel, I want Jerusalem for my throne and here’s how I’m going to make that happen…”
It amazes me that David was able to find the one weakness in Jebus’ defenses. I would probably say it was a ‘God thing’ that showed him just how to get in this fortified city. God could have knocked the walls of Jebus down as easily as He did Jericho’s but He didn’t. Instead, He allowed (and possibly pointed out) David to see the chink in their armor. God was also able to keep the Jebusites blind to this fact. They were arrogant enough to think themselves invincible. They might have been, against any other god but not against the God of David and Israel. They probably thought they were invincible against Israel as they had maintained their city all the years of Joshua’s campaign.
David shared the secret he had discovered with his attacking force. I have no doubt that some thought it too risky to sneak in through the water system. They preferred the old ‘tried and true’ method of laying siege to a city. But David was able to motivate some of them by giving them an incentive. “Whoever strikes the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander” (verse 6a). Joab took him up on his challenge and this was the beginning of his place of power in Israel’s army. He held that place in David’s army while in Hebron. Now he would secure his place by demonstrating his bravery and commitment to David.
Joab proved himself valuable before, during and after this event. One of the things we see him do for David is to refortify the city after they took it. This included fortifying the waterways that David had used in his entry plan. No other conquer would use this method to subdue Jerusalem. It would be subdued MANY years later by Nebuchadnezzar but not through the water system. That is a story for another day.
David was able to lead his men to victory in a supposedly impossible task for several reasons. First, he had built up their trust in him. Second, he was able to show an avenue no one else had ever thought of. And, third, GOD was with him.
Through the years on the run from Saul and while king of Judah, David had proven himself in battle AND in leadership. His men saw how is campaigns defied the odds. They saw him snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat more times than they could count. The saw that what he did was blessed. And they themselves participated in acts of amazing feats while under David’s command. If David said they could do it, they believed it! And they followed him with great confidence, no matter what.
When David identified the flaw in Jebus’ defenses I bet there were MANY around him whose jaws dropped. Many who were ready to smack themselves for not identifying this themselves. There were doubtless some who said “It will never work” too. But those who had fought beside David knew of his ability to appraise the situation and find the one chance in a million of success AND see that success through to its conclusion. David had a military eye and he knew how to solve problems.
The BIGGEST reason David’s men were willing to follow him is that they had seen God’s hands on David’s life. Those who ran with him personally experienced God wielding their swords in defense of David. They saw massive armies routed when David prayed for direction. David and his men rescuing their families who were taken at Ziklag is just one example of this. They had MANY other stories to look back on. ALL of Israel knew of David’s prowess in battle and that it was God who gave him such success. Even as a young lad he faced down a giant in the name of the Lord. They would throw their lot in with the man they KNEW was in the shelter of the Lord.
For these reasons “all Israel” went up with David and succeeded in taking Jerusalem from the Jebusites. This was from then on, “the City of David” and the place where God would put His name. A ‘chain of trust’ forged in the deep of the night, the heat of battle, and in every day events tore down the stronghold that everyone else saw as immovable.
That same ‘chain of trust’, or ‘bullet proof faith’ as we called it last time, was what made the events in David’s story possible. They are also what make the amazing stories in our life possible. I would LOVE to hear your stories of triumph with God. Mine range from the “unexpected but prayed for check in the mail” to the “life sustaining chain of events that saved me as a child.” God has proven Himself faithful time and Time and TIME again in my life. I KNOW He has done the same for ALL of those who love Him. You may not see it in the moment but if you look back at your life you will see HIS fingerprints all over it. THOSE times are what forge your ‘chain of trust’ and create ‘bullet proof faith’. Count them every time you are tempted to worry. The sheer number and scope will send the enemy quaking as your faith is built up again.
Father God, THANK YOU for ALL the times You have moved in my life. Before I even knew what a miracle was You were performing them in my life. The first one was through the wisdom of a doctor who recognized my problem and directed my mother to the solution when I was still an infant. My mother was clueless to the cause of my delayed development. YOU brought just the right people into our lives to address the issue. Who knew glasses would have such a profound impact on my life. You haven’t stopped making just as deep of impact moments for me. Even today You helped me calm one of my children who was in severe anxiety because of events in her life. YOU made that possible by having her come to me and by providing me with the experience necessary to help and the resources to make it happen. THANK YOU. I’m asking and trusting that YOU will protect her little family from the attack of the enemy and calm her fears. Let NO ONE trouble her with threats of reprisal.
(For those who want to stand with me in faith, my youngest son’s daughter ran into the neighbor’s truck while on her bicycle. She is uninjured but the truck got two small scratches and a small dent. The owner is threatening my daughter in law over the damages. We have them taken care of in terms of paying the owner’s deductible and car rental fees but they are threatening to have their insurance try and recoup the full ‘repair’ cost. It is an over inflated number and beyond reason. Stand with me in agreement for God’s favor in all of this.)