When I was growing up I liked collecting medals. I won medals for soccer, Bible recitation, running, and athletics. I thought of them as giving me worth in some way. My father had raised me with the ‘no-one-remembers-second’ mentality and I had bought into that. Since I have grown up awards and accalades have been a snare for me. I have excused my insecurity as having ‘words of affirmation’ as my love language.
It is good to honour those who have done well but not to create vain superheroes. The aim of all achievement is to give glory to God. Recently I have started accumulating running shirts and medals. They are not on display, but I keep them as a reminder to be thankful for all God has done in keeping me fit and allowing me to compete.
The list in 2 Samuel of David’s exploits is really an account of how God strengthened David’s hand. How God brought security and safety to Israel is testimony to David’s trust in God. It is not the aggrandising of self.
2 Samuel 8
1In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.
2David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought him tribute.
3 Moreover, David defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to restore his monument at[a] the Euphrates River. 4 David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers[b]and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses.
5 When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand of them. 6He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.
7 David took the gold shields that belonged to the officers of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 From Tebah[c]and Berothai, towns that belonged to Hadadezer, King David took a great quantity of bronze.
9 When Tou[d] king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, 10 he sent his son Joram[e]to King David to greet him and congratulate him on his victory in battle over Hadadezer, who had been at war with Tou. Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold and of bronze.
11 King David dedicated these articles to the LORD, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued: 12 Edom[f]and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. He also dedicated the plunder taken from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.
13 And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites[g]in the Valley of Salt.
14He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.
15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelek son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.
- What kinds of things are listed as achievements for David?
- What would have been the original response to all of the bloodshed?
- How is God portrayed through David’s victories?
- What would your trophy cabinet look like if it honoured your most recent achievement?
- Which of your achievements would God place most value in?