“This is David’s spoil.”— 1 Samuel xxx. 20.
WE have aforetime gathered spoil for ourselves out of David’s behaviour in the hour of his sorrow at Ziklag, and we will now turn to the other side of this leaf in his history, and receive instruction from the time of his victory. But we must not do this till we have refreshed our memories with the story of his conduct under distress. When he came to the city he found it burned with fire, the property of himself and his comrades carried away, and, what was worse, all their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, gone into captivity. In the madness of their grief the people turned upon their leader, as if he had led them into this calamity. He was the only calm person among them, for he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” With due deliberation he waited upon the Lord, and consulted the oracle through the appointed priest, and then, under divine guidance, he pursued the banditti, took them at unawares, recovered all his people’s goods, and captured a large booty which the Amalekites had collected elsewhere. David, who had been the chief object of the people’s mutiny, and the leader of the successful pursuit of the robbers, most properly received a special portion of the spoil, and concerning it the words of our text were spoken, “This is David’s spoil.”
We shall now look into this victorious act on the part of David with the view of finding spiritual teaching in it. David may be regarded as a very special type of our Lord Jesus Christ. Among the personal types David holds a leading place, for in so many points he is the prophetic foreshadowing of the great and glorious Son of David. Whenever David acts as the man after God’s own heart, he is the picture and emblem of the One who is still more after God’s own heart, even the Christ of God. David, under divine guidance, pursued the Amalekites, who had come as thieves to smite and to burn, and carry away captive. The marauders were overtaken and slaughtered, and a great spoil was the result. David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken. “And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor anything that they had taken to them: David recovered all.” We are told several times over in the chapter that nothing was lacking: “David recovered all.” When our Lord Jesus wrought out our redemption, he recovered all, and left nothing in the enemy’s hand. All glory to his name! But over and above, David took great store of cattle, and jewels, and gold, and silver, and so forth, which belonged to the Amalekites, and out of this a bountiful portion was taken which was set apart as David’s spoil. David’s men, in the moment of their despair, had spoken of stoning him; but now, in the morning of their victory, with general acclamations, they determine that David shall have, as his portion of the spoil, all the cattle which belong to the Amalekites themselves; and so, driving these in front, as they return to Ziklag, they say, “This is David’s spoil.” I think I hear them, as they drive the bullocks and the sheep before them, shouting right lustily, “This is David’s spoil.”
Now, using David as the type of Christ, I want, if I can, to set all David’s men— all Christ’s men— shouting with all their hearts, “This is Jesus’ spoil!” He it is of whom Jehovah saith, “I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” He has a grand reward as the result of the great battle of his life and death. We will even now award to him the spoil, and cry, “This is David’s spoil”; feeling, all the while, as the Psalmist did, when he said, “Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.”
I. We begin with the first observation that, practically, all the spoil of that day was David’s spoil, and in truth, ALL THE GOOD THAT WE ENJOY COMES TO US THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS. He has been given as a Leader and a Commander to the people, and every victory they win is due to him, and to him alone. Without him we can do nothing, and without him we can obtain nothing. All that we once possessed by nature, and under the law, the spoiler has taken away. By our own efforts we can never regain what we have lost; only through our great Leader can we be restored and made happy. We ascribe unto Jesus all our gains, even as David’s men honoured their captain.
For, first, David’s men defeated the Amalekites, and took their spoil, but it was for David’s sales that God gave success to the band. God’s eye rested upon his chosen servant, the Lord’s anointed, and it was not for the warriors’ own sakes, but for David’s sake, that God guided them to the hosts of Amalek, and gave them like driven stubble to their sword. How much more true it is to us that every blessing, every pardoning mercy, every delivering mercy, is given to us through him who is our shield and God’s anointed! It is for the sake of Jesus that we are pardoned, justified, accepted, preserved, sanctified. Only through this channel does the mercy of God come to us. The Lord God saith, “Not for your sakes do I this, O house of Israel! Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways”; and we, in response to that, can answer, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto the name of the Well-beloved be praise, and honour, and glory, for ever and ever!” Since everything comes to us because of Christ Jesus, we may say of every covenant mercy, “This is David’s spoil.” On this blessing, and on that favour, yea, on them all, we see the mark of the cross. These are all fruits of our Redeemer’s passion, the purchase of his blood. Again we say with gratitude, “This is David’s spoil.”
Moreover, David’s men gained the victory over Amalek because of David’s leadership. If he had not been there to lead them to the fight, in the moment of their despair they would have lost all heart, and would have remained amidst the burning walls of Ziklag a discomfited company. But David encouraged himself in the Lord, and so encouraged all his desponding followers. Drawing his sword, and marching in front, he put spirit into them: they all followed with eager step because their gallant leader so courageously led the way. This is exactly our case, beloved, only we are even more indebted to our Lord Jesus than these men were to David. The Lord Jesus Christ has been here among us, and has fought our battle for us, and recovered all that we had lost by Adam’s fall and by our own sin. It is written of him, “He shall not fail nor be discouraged.” You know' how he set his face like a flint, how stout-hearted he was to accomplish the work of our redemption, and how he ceased not till he could cry victoriously, “It is finished.”
“Our glorious Leader claims our praise
For his own pattern given.”
Following at his feet we, too, fight with sin. Treading in his footsteps we, too, overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Have you never heard him say, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”? And you, dear brothers and sisters, whatever victories you win, whatever spoils you divide, will own that it is through Jesus that you have conquered. They said of Waterloo that it was a soldiers’ battle, and the victory was due to the men; but ours is our Commander’s battle, and every victory won by us is due to the great Captain of our salvation. Let the crown be set upon his head, even on the battle-field, and let us say of every sin that we have overcome, every evil habit that we have destroyed, “This is David’s spoil.” We had never won this victory if Jesus had not led us: we have it for his sake. We have it under his leadership. Without exception, all the saints on earth and in heaven confess this to be true.
“I ask them whence their victory came?
They, with united breath,
Ascribe their conquest to the Lamb,
Their triumph to his death.
They mark’d the footsteps that he trod,
His zeal inspired their breast,
And, following their incarnate God,
Possess the promised rest.”
I will not say more upon this point, but only ask you to remember that by nature we had all lost everything. We lost the garden with all its Paradisiacal joys; lost this world, the very earth bringing forth thorns and thistles to us; lost life, lost hope, lost peace, lost the favour of God. But Jesus has recovered all. All that the first Adam lost the second Adam has restored. David recovered all, and Jesus has recovered all. We ourselves were lost; but Jesus has brought us back from the hand of the enemy. He has given us ourselves, if I may use such an expression, and now we who were dead are alive again, the lost are found. Once, every faculty of ours was being used for our own destruction, but now, sanctified by the grace of God, all is being used for God’s glory, and for our own ripening and perfecting. Jesus has recovered us for ourselves and for our God: the prey has been taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive has been delivered.
Yes, and our Lord Jesus has recovered for us the future as well as the past. Our outlook was grim and dark indeed till Jesus came; but oh, how bright it is now that he has completed his glorious work! Death is no more the dreaded grave of all our hopes. Hell exists no longer for believers. Heaven, whose gates were closed, is now set wide open to every soul that believeth. We have recovered life and immortal bliss. We are snatched like brands from the burning, and made to shine like lamps of the palace of the great King. We are set up to be for ever trophies of the conquering power of Jesus, our glorious David. Look at all the saints in heaven in their serried ranks, and say of them all, “This is David’s spoil.” Look at the blood-bought church of God on earth— the ten thousands that are already washed in his blood, and following at his feet— we may say of all this ransomed flock, “This is David’s spoil.” Each one of us, looking at himself, and all his past, and all his future, may say, “This, too, is David’s spoil.” Christ has done it, done it all, and unto his name let the whole host shout the victory.
I feel as if I could stop the sermon, and ask you to sing, but it will be better if I content myself with repeating the hymn—
“Rejoice, ye shining worlds on high,
Behold the King of glory nigh!
He comes adorned with victory,
He made our foes before him flee.
“Ye heavenly gates, your leaves display,
To make the Lord the Saviour way!
Laden with spoils from earth and hell,
The Conqueror comes with God to dwell.
“Raised from the dead, he goes before;
He opens heaven’s eternal door:
To give his saints a blest abode,
Near their Redeemer and their God.”
II. But the most interesting part of our subject is this: all the booty was practically David’s spoil, but there was apart of it which was not recovered, but was a clear gain. They recovered all they had lost, and over and above there was a surplus of spoil from the defeated foe. Now, in the great battle of Christ on our behalf, he has not only given us back what we lost, but he has given us what Adam in his perfection never had. And I want you to dwell upon that, because this part of it is peculiarly our Lord’s spoil. THOSE GOOD THINGS WHICH WE NOW POSSESS, OVER AND ABOVE WHAT WE LOST BY SIN, COME TO US BY THE LORD JESUS. Now that the Son of God has come into the field, he is not content with restoration, he turns the loss into a gain, the fall into a greater rising.
And first, dear friends, think: In Christ Jesus human nature is lifted up where it never could have been before. Man was made in his innocence to occupy a very lofty place. “Thou madest him to have dominion over all the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Man would have enjoyed that dominion had he never fallen, but he never could have obtained what he has now gained, for “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.” And we see in Jesus human nature joined in mysterious union with the Godhead. I never know how to speak about this miracle of the divine incarnation. We are men and women, poor creatures at our very best; yet in Christ Jesus our dignity is perfectly amazing. Angels excel in strength and beauty, but no angel was ever joined to the Godhead as manhood is now united to God. The nearest being to God is a man. The noblest existence— how shall I word it?— the noblest of all beings is God, and the God-man Christ Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, is with him upon his throne. It is a wondrous honour this— that manhood should be taken into intimate connection, yea, absolute union with God! For listen: through Jesus Christ we are this day made the sons of God, which angels never were. “Unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son?” But he has said this to us. Christ took not up angels, but he took up the seed of Abraham, and he has made the believing seed of Abraham to be the sons of God. Listen again: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God.” God’s heirs! What a word is this! How simple, but how sublime! I know how to say it, but not how to expound it! It does not want explanation, and yet its depths are fathomless. Every believer is God’s heir— the heir of God. Could this have been, had there been no fall and no redemption? Children and heirs are more than was ever spoken of in Eden. Ay, listen yet again. Now we are one with God in Christ Jesus; for it is written concerning our Lord, “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Close as the marriage-union is, yet Paul declared, when he spake of it, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Unfallen manhood was never declared to be one with the Son of God, and yet through the covenant of grace this is our position. We are joined by vital, real, conjugal union to Jesus Christ the Son of the Highest, very God of very God; and this is an elevation so transcendent that I feel bowed down beneath the weight of glory which is revealed in us. The most glorious being next to God is man. A sinner most shameful once, but now in Christ a child accepted and honoured! What can I say of this but “This is David’s spoil”? This is what Jesus brought us. It came to us by no other way or method. Neither do we know in what way or method it could have been given to us, but by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is given to us through Jesus Christ, our elder Brother and our covenant Head, and unto him let the glory of it be ascribed world without end.
Another blessing which was not ours before the fall, and therefore never was lost, but comes to us as a surplusage, is the fact that we are redeemed. You sang just now that verse,
“Never did angels taste above
Redeeming grace and dying love.”
It is clear that you could never have known free grace and dying love if Jesus had not come to redeem you. Unfallen intelligent spirits will say in
eternity, “Do you see those beings bowing nearest to the eternal throne? Do you see those well-beloved creatures? Who are they?” Spirits that have lived in other worlds will come crowding up to the great metropolis, and will say one to another, “Who are those courtiers— those that dwell nearest to God? Who are they?” And one spirit will say to another, “They are beings whom God not only made as he made us, but whom the eternal Son of God redeemed by blood.” And one shining one will say to his fellow, “What is that? Tell me that strange story.” Then will his companion delight to say, “They were saved because the Son of God took their nature, and in that nature died.” “Wonderful! Wonderful!” his friend will answer, “How could it be? Was there suffering for them, and pain for them, and bloody sweat for them, and death for them on the part of the ever-blessed Son of God?” The answer “It was even so,” will be news full of astonishment even to the best instructed celestial mind. Spirits will look at us with wonder, and say, “What strange beings are these? Others are the work of God’s hands, but these are the fruit of the travail of his soul. On others we see the marks of divine skill and power, but here we see the tokens of a divine sacrifice— a divine blood-shedding.” Truly, we may say of our redemption, “This is David’s spoil.” That you and I should be such wonders as we must be in being redeemed beings, is indeed something given to us by Jesus over and above what Adam lost; and throughout eternity all the sacred brotherhood of the redeemed by blood will be princes in the courts of God— the aristocracy of heaven, for “he hath made us kings and priests unto God.”
We shall be creatures who have known sin, and have been recovered from its pollution. There will be no fear of our being exalted with pride, or drawn away by ambition as the now-apostate angels were; for we shall constantly remember what sin did for us, and how grievous was our fault. We shall for ever remember the price at which we were redeemed; and we shall have ties upon us that will bind us to an undeviating loyalty to him who exalted us to so glorious a condition. It seems to me wonderful beyond expression: the more I consider, the more I am astonished. A spirit that has never fallen cannot be trusted in the same way as one that has fallen and has been delivered, and has been new-created, and blood-washed, and has been gifted with an abiding and eternal character. Such a being shall never fall, because for ever held by cords of love eternal, and bonds of gratitude infinitely strong, which will never let it waver in holy service. It is a work worthy of a God to create such beings as we shall be, since we shall be securely bound to voluntary holiness; and our wills, though always free, shall be immutably loyal to our Lord. As the twice-born, we shall be the noblest of God’s works; we shall be the first-fruits of his creatures; we shall be accounted as the royal treasure of Jehovah. Then shall we sit with Christ upon his throne, and reign with him for ever. “This is David’s spoil.”
We receive blessings unknown to beings who have never fallen. I sometimes murmur to myself— and sweet music it has been as I have quietly murmured it— we are the elect of God. Election is a privilege most high and precious, what can exceed it in delight? This also is David’s spoil. We are also redeemed from among men: the redemption of the soul is precious. “This is David’s spoil.” We are covenanted ones, with whom God has entered into bonds of promise, swearing by an oath to keep his word: this, too, is David’s spoil. Where had you ever heard of redemption, election, covenant, and such-like words, if it had not been for the blessed Christ of God, who hath redeemed us by his blood? Sing ye, then, who have received back your lost inheritance: and sing more sweetly still, ye who have been blessed with all spiritual blessings, in the heavenlies according as the Father hath chosen yon in Christ Jesus. Sing ye aloud unto his holy name; and say of your special privileges, “This is David’s spoil.”
Again, to my mind it is a very blessed fact that you and I will partake of a privilege which would have been certainly unnecessary to Adam, and could not by Adam have been known, and that is, the privilege of resurrection. We shall die unless the Lord should suddenly appear. I would not have you, brothers and sisters, look upon the prospect of death with any sort of dread. I know that death is associated with pain; but nothing can be more absurd. There is no pain in death: pain belongs to life; death, even naturally, puts an end to putting pain. But death to the of believer is undressing as his Lord undressed— putting off garments of which, I trow, we need not be so very found, for they do fit us ill; and oftentimes, when our spirit is willing, it is hampered by these garments of clay, for the flesh is weak. Some look with intense delight to the prospect of the Saviour’s coming, as a means of escape from death. I confess I have but slender sympathy with them. If I might have my choice, I would prefer, of the two, to die. Let it be as the Lord wills; but there is a point of fellowship with Christ in death which they will miss who shall not sleep; and it seems to me to have some sweetness in it to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, even though he descend unto the sepulchre. “Where should the dying members rest but with their dying Head?” That grave of our blessed Lord, if he had not meant us to enter it, would have been left an empty tenement when he came away; but when he came out of it, he left it furnished for those that should come after him. See there the graveclothes folded up for us to use! The bed is prepared for our slumber.
The napkin is laid by itself, because it is not for the sleeper, but for those who have lost his company. Those who remain behind may dry their eyes with the napkin, but the grave-clothes are reserved for others who will occupy the royal bed-chamber. When great men removed in the olden time, their servants took away the arras or hangings of their chambers; but if those hangings remained, it was for the convenience of guests who were invited to occupy my lord’s rooms. See, then, our Lord expects us to lie in his royal bed-chamber, for he has left the hangings behind him! To the retiring-room of the tomb we shall go in due time. And why should we be grieved to go? For we shall come forth again: we shall rise from the dead. “Thy brother shall rise again,” was Mary’s consolation from the Master’s lips. It is yours. We are not going to a prison, but to a bath, wherein the body, like Esther, shall be purified to behold the King. It is our joy to be sure that “as the Lord our Saviour rose, so all his followers must.” We do not know much about the resurrection of the body, and therefore we will not attempt to describe it; but surely it will be a delightful thing to be able to dwell for ever in a body that has been in the grave, and has had fulfilled in it the sentence, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” but which has been raised again by that same power which raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. We shall inhabit a body which shall no more see corruption, nor be subject to weakness, or pain, or decay, but shall be like the glorified person of our Lord. Oh, there is sweetness in the thought that we shall in this for ever have fellowship with our risen Lord! Children of the resurrection, dread not death! Your faces are turned to the sun. Press forward to the light eternal, and fear not to pass through the death-shadow: it is no more than a shadow. If you cannot leap over the grave, you can pass through it. It shall be your joy to rise when the morning breaketh, and to be satisfied; for you shall wake up in his likeness. As for the resurrection, “this is David’s spoil,” this is Christ’s gift and boon. The resurrection from the dead is the peculiar glory of Christianity. The immortality of the soul had been taught and known before, for it is a truth which even reason itself teaches; but the resurrection of the body comes in as the last and crowning comfort of our spirits: and “this is David’s spoil.”
Let me not weary you. The topic might well interest us on several occasions; it is too large to be confined to one discourse. Our singular relation to God, and yet to materialism, is another rare gift of Jesus. God intended, by the salvation of man, and the lifting up of man into union with himself, to link together in one the lowest and the highest— his creation and himself. Shall I make it very plain? These poor substances— earth, water, and the like— they seem far down in the scale. God makes a being that shall be, as an old Puritan used to say, half soul and half soil; even man who is both spirit and dust of the earth. We find in him water, salts, acids, all sorts of substances combined to make up a body, and married to this is a soul, which is brother to the angels, and akin to Deity. Materialism is somewhat exalted in being connected with spirit at all. When spirit becomes connected with God, and refined materialism becomes connected with a purified spirit, by the resurrection from the dead, then shall be brought to pass the uplifting of clay, and its junction with the celestial. Do you not see how God, in the perfecting of his gracious purpose through the resurrection of the dead, causes his glory to be reflected even upon what we regard as poor material substances, gross and mean?
Try and get at my meaning again. Quakers, whom I greatly respect, get rid of the two ordinances, by denying that they are of perpetual obligation. They banish baptism: they put away the Lord’s supper. I have sometimes wished that I were able to agree with them, because my whole spirit and tendency are towards the spiritual rather than the ritual; but if anything be plain to me in Scripture, it is that Jesus Christ did command us to be baptized in water in the Triune name, and that he bade his disciples remember him in the breaking of bread and in the drinking of the cup. The danger of men’s making too much of outward forms was encountered for some wise purpose. It was, I think, because God would have us know that even the material, though it can only enter the outer court, is still to be sanctified unto himself. Therefore, water, bread, and wine, all material substances, are used not only as symbols, but as tokens that all created things shall be ennobled and sanctified. Look ye, sirs, “Creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” Through man’s sin this outward world became blackened, darkened, and degraded; but God intends, through man, to lift up the nethermost extremities of his creation into a greater nearness to himself than they ever could have reached by any other means. And this is how it comes about. We are taking up with us, as it were, the earth which makes a part of ourselves. We are drawing up with ourselves the earth in those simple symbols with which we worship God. We are ourselves lifted up as spirits, and we are soon to be lifted up as spirits enshrined in purified bodies, and thus we bring the whole creation of God into nearer contact with himself. Hence it is that we are called “kings and priests.” What can the dead earth do in worship till there comes one who worships God as the world’s priest? What can the fields and woods and hills say in the worship of God? They are dumb till a tongue attempts the holy task of uttering their praise. You and I are made of such stuff as the world around us, and yet we are the compeers of angels. We are brothers to the worm; and this body of ours is but a child of mother earth on which it lives. See then how mother earth worships God through us, and dull, dead matter finds life and song. Behold the mists and clouds become a steaming incense of praise to God through men like ourselves, who, because Christ was slain, have been made kings and priests unto God.
I wish you would, rather than listen to me, try and muse upon the wonderful position which redeemed men do now occupy, and will occupy for ever and ever. For my own part, I would not change places with the angel Gabriel, nay, not if he gave me his swift wing to boot, for I believe that an infinitely greater honour belongs to the least of God’s children than to the very highest of God’s servants. To be a child of God— oh, bliss!— there is no glory that can excel it. But all this is a special gift to our humanity through our Lord Jesus. “This is David’s spoil.”
Our manifestation of the full glory of God is another of the choice gifts which the pierced hands of Jesus alone bestow. Principalities and powers shall see in the mystical body of Christ more of God than in all the universe besides. They will study in the saints the eternal purposes of God, and see therein his love, his wisdom, his power, his justice, his mercy blended in an amazing way. They will admire for ever those whom God loves and delights in, those whom he keeps as the apple of his eye, those whom he rejoices over, and of whom he hath said that he will rest in his love, and he will rejoice over them with singing. Truly it hath not entered into the heart of man to guess at the glory of God in the saints, the exceeding glory which shall be revealed in us through Jesus Christ our Lord. “This is David’s spoil.” Oh, come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us magnify the name of Jesus Christ!
III. I close with the most practical part of my sermon: THAT WHICH WE WILLINGLY GIVE TO JESUS MAY BE CALLED HIS SPOIL. There is a spoil for Christ which every true-hearted follower of his votes to him enthusiastically. We have already seen that all things which we have are of Christ, and that there are certain special gifts which are peculiarly of Christ; and now, what shall be David’s spoil from you and from me?
First, our hearts are his alone for ever.
“Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it from thy courts above.”
Of every believing heart it may be said, “This is David’s spoil.” You and I must give ourselves to-morrow to earning our daily bread, and our thoughts must go, to a large extent, after earthly things in the common pursuits of every-day life. But our hearts, our hearts, are as fountains sealed for our Well-beloved. O mammon, thou shalt not have them! O pleasure, thou shalt not have them! These are David’s spoil. Our hearts belong to Jesus only. “My son, give me thine heart,” is an Old Testament command, but under the New Testament manifestation of love we fulfil it; “for the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for ail, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” Let it be so that our whole heart is the sole possession of Jesus! We will neither rend it, nor cast lots whose it shall be, for “this is David’s spoil.”
Now there is another property I should like King Jesus to have, and that is, our special gifts. I know one who, before his conversion, was wont to sing, and he often charmed the ears of men with the sweet music which he poured forth; but when he was converted he said, “Henceforth my tongue shall sing nothing but the praises of God.” He devoted himself to proclaiming the gospel by his song, for he said, “This is David’s spoil.” Have you not some gift or other, dear friend, of which you could say, “Henceforth this shall be sacred to my bleeding Lord”? Some peculiar faculty? Some choice piece of acquirement not generally possessed? Something in which you excel? I would that you had at least some little garden of flowers or herbs which you could so reserve that therein only Jesus should pluck the fruits. Say of the best gift you possess, “This is David’s spoil.” Is it not well to consecrate some part of the day, and say, “This hour is Christ’s? I have my work to do, my business must be seen to; all is Christ’s. But still I will reserve a special season, and wall it in, like a private garden, in which, with prayer, and praise, and meditation, I will commune with my Lord; or else in actual service I will honour his name.” Say, “This is David’s spoil.” Come, dear heart, what do you mean to give him? Surely you have some natural faculty or acquired skill which you can lay at his feet.
Moreover, while our whole selves must be yielded to the Lord Jesus, there is one thing that must always be Christ’s, and that is our religious homage as a church. Somebody says that the Queen is head of the church. God bless her; but she is no head of the church of Christ! The idea is blasphemous: headship “is David’s spoil.” Jesus Christ is Head over all things to his church, and nobody else can take that position. No one may dare to take the title of ‘‘head of the church” without a usurpation of our Lord’s royal right. Certain teachers of the church claim authority over consciences, and assert guides that they are infallible. I have heard it said that they are supreme guides, but I do not believe it, because “This is David’s spoil.” We have one infallible Teacher, and that is Jesus Christ our Saviour. We yield obedience to his every word, and demand that others should do the same. Whatsoever he says to us by his Spirit in the Word of God is to us infallible truth, and we cease to dispute when Jesus speaks; but no man else shall dictate doctrine to us, for “This is David’s spoil.” He must be sole Rabbi in the midst of his church. We call him Master and Lord, for so he is. I would have you keep your conscience for Christ alone. Take care that no book ever overlaps the Bible; that no creed ever contradicts the form of sound words contained in God’s own Word; that no influence of minister or writer supplants the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Your soul’s obedience and faith belong to Jesus only: “This is David’s spoil.”
Lastly, have you not something of your own proper substance that shall be David’s spoil just now? That was a blessed act when the woman broke the most precious thing she had— her box of alabaster, and let the perfumed nard stream down the Saviour, anointing him for his burial. She felt that the precious perfume was “David’s spoil.” There was no waste; in fact, no other gift ever went so completely to its purpose without being taxed on the road, for Jesus had it all. Kindly did he observe the loving honour which she paid him. What if the ointment were sold, and given to the poor? Yet it could never be so economically used as when it was all devoted to him. I do think it so pleasant sometimes to give Jesus Christ distinctly a gift from yourself of somewhat that you will miss. It is good to give to the poor, but it has a daintier sweetness in it to do somewhat distinctly for him, for the spread of his own glory, and the making known of his own fame. “The poor ye have always with you”: abound towards them in your charity whenever you will; but to your Lord at special seasons dedicate a choice gift, and say, “This is David’s spoil.” There was a poor woman once, whose little fortune could be carried between her finger and her thumb,— her fortune I said, for it was all that she had. Two mites, I am told, was all it came to. She took it, it was her all, and she put it in the treasury; for this was “David’s spoil.” It belonged to the Lord her God, and she gave it cheerfully. I do not know whether since the days of the apostles anybody has ever given so much as that woman. I have not. Have you? She gave all her living. Not all her savings, but all her living. She had nothing left when she gave her farthing: she loved so much that she consecrated all her living. We sometimes sing—
“Yet if I might make some reserve,
And duty did not call,
I love my God with zeal so great
That I would give him all.”
But do we mean it? If not, why do we sing falsehoods? There was a man who, in the providence of God, had been enabled to lay by many thousands. He was a very rich and respected man. I have heard it said that he owned at least half-a-million; and at one collection, when he felt specially grateful and generous, he found a well-worn sixpence for the plate, for that was David’s spoil! That was David’s spoil! Out of all that he possessed, that sixpence was David’s spoil! This was the measure of his gratitude! Judge by this how much he owed, or at least how much he desired to pay. Are there not many persons who, on that despicable scale, reward the Saviour for the travail of his soul? I shall not upbraid them. I shall not urge them to do more, lest I spoil the voluntariness of the large gifts they mean to bring. Let a hint suffice. For us, who are deep in the Redeemer’s debt, who have had much forgiven, who every day are bankrupt debtors to the measureless mercy of infinite love— for us, no paltriness will suffice. We must give something which, if it be not worthy of him, shall, at least, express the truth and warmth of the gratitude we feel. God help us to be often setting aside this, and that, and the other choice thing, and saying, “This is David’s spoil, and it shall be a joy to my heart to give it!” We shall find much sweetness in buying our sweet-cane with money, and filling our Lord with the fat of our sacrifices. It is heaven for a true heart to give largely to Jesus.
God bless you, dear friends. May we come to the table of communion, and meet with our glorious David there, and feel his praises making music in our hearts! Amen.