2 Samuel 8:6
Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts…
The Revised Version translates, "The Lord gave victory to David;" but in the margin, "saved David," which is equivalent to the translation in the Authorized Version, and is the more literal meaning of the original, from which there is no necessity to depart. In the Psalms, in which David praises God for his help against his enemies, he speaks as much of the protection he experienced as of the victories he won. His preservation in so many perils of war was worthy of special mention. The record is one that might be made in an account of the lives of most of us; in some respects, of all.
I. THE PRESERVATION EXPERIENCED.
1. Physical. That of bodily life and health and of the senses. Protection in perils by land or water. Preservation from serious illnesses, or deliverance from them. The uniformity of good health and wholeness of limbs is a greater blessing than restoration from sickness or repair of fractures, although it does not usually excite so much notice or call forth so much gratitude.
2. Mental. That of the soundness of the mind, of perception, memory, reason. It might be salutary for each of us to pay one visit to a lunatic asylum. Such impressions of the value of our reason may be obtained there as can be obtained nowhere else.
3. Moral and spiritual. That of faith and a good conscience, of principles and habits of religion and virtue. Protection from specially powerful temptations which, yielded to, would have been our ruin.
4. Of reputation. From slander or misunderstanding. A good name is conducive, not only to our comfort, but to our success in life, and to our usefulness. To some, owing to peculiar circumstances, its continuance is marvellous.
5. Prolonged. In many cases for very many years, in which dangers numerous, various, repeated, and imminent, have been met with. The greater the perils and the longer the period, so much the more noteworthy the preservation.
II. TO WHOM IT IS TO BE ASCRIBED. "The Lord." David owed much to faithful friends and brave soldiers, who regarded his life as their special care, and defended it at the peril of their own (see 2 Samuel 21:15-17); but the historian ascribes all to God; and David, when he reviews his life, or any part of it, does the same. In like manner, as we look back, we may remember many who have in various ways ministered to our preservation, and towards whom we rightly cherish gratitude; but these, and all else that has contributed to our well being, we rightly ascribe to God (comp. 2 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 4:16, 17).
III. THE EMOTIONS IT SHOULD AWAKEN.
1. Gratitude. Expressed in praise and renewed self-dedication.
My life, which thou hast made thy care,
Lord, I devote to thee."
Also in zealous endeavours to preserve others from evil, especially the young and inexperienced (see Psalm 116., 117.)
2. Confidence and hope. As to future physical and mental preservation, so far as seems good to the infinite wisdom and goodness; but especially as to the moral and spiritual (see Psalm 91. and 121.; 2 Corinthians 1:9, 10; 2 Timothy 4:18).
"We'll praise him for all that is past,
And trust him for all that's to come." = - G.W.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.