2 Samuel 5:10
And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.
And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him. The growing greatness of David was owing to the presence and favour of God, and was accompanied with them. It was, then -
I. GREATNESS WELL-DERIVED. All greatness is in some sense from God; but all does not spring from his favour. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction" (Psalm 73:18). He that becomes "a great man" through unjust violence, the oppression and swallowing up of the weak, low cunning, unscrupulous ambition, insatiable avarice, or an absorbing activity of mind and bevy which excludes God from thought and life, cannot rightly attribute his success to the blessing of God. Such greatness is disastrous, and carries a curse with it. It is reached by serving Satan, and accompanied with slavery to him and participation of his doom. He was not altogether lying when he said (Luke 4:6, 7) that the power and glory of the world were given by him to those who would worship him. The world abounds in instances of greatness so won. But the greatness which is a gift of God's favour is reached by paths of truth and uprightness and piety; by the strenuous employment of all the powers, indeed, but in harmony with the Divine will; not so much, therefore, with the purpose to grow great as to be of service to others. It is rather accepted as a gift of God than sought; and is accepted "with fear and trembling," lest the strong temptations which accompany all worldly greatness should become victorious. Such greatness is accompanied with a good conscience, and may be without serious peril to the soul. It may foster principles of godliness and benevolence. It qualifies for high service of others, and, so employed, enlarges the heart and elevates instead of degrading the character. It thus ministers to the truest greatness - that which is spiritual and eternal.
II. GREATNESS WELL-ACCOMPANIED. Some, the greater they grow the less of God they enjoy; they gradually forsake him, and he at length abandons them. But there are those of whom it may be said, as they grow great in this world, still "the Lord God of hosts is with them."
1. How the great may secure this blessing. By:
(1) Humility (Deuteronomy 8:13, 14; Psalm 138:6; James 4:6).
(2) Devotion of their enlarged powers to the service of God and of man.
(3) Constant prayer. On the other hand, pride, selfishness, and prayerlessness will separate them from God.
2. The benefits they will derive from it.
(1) The highest and purest enjoyment to which worldly honours and resources can minister.
(2) Preservation from the perils of their position.
(3) The power to gain the best kind of good. from it.
(4) And to do the most good by it.
(5) Greatness thus accompanied is likely to be lasting.
Finally, spiritual greatness combines in a pre-eminent degree the two excellences of being God derived and God accompanied. It springs from the favour of God, and secures its constant enjoyment. It consists in abundance of spiritual wisdom, holiness, and love, and consequent power for good; in the honour which these bring from God, and in the confidence, affection, and respect with which they inspire men. It has the advantage of being accessible to all, its conditions being, first, faith in Christ and God; and then the fruits of faith, such as love, humility (Matthew 18:4), obedience to God (Matthew 5:19), self-control (Proverbs 16:32), self-denying service (Matthew 20:20-28). Such greatness is intrinsic and essential. It is best for ourselves and best for others. It is inseparable from the man himself, and, surviving all worldly distinctions, goes with him into eternity, and abides forever (see 1 John 2:17). - G.W.
Parallel VersesKJV: And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.