October 4, 2016
Inquire of the Lord
And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the Lord, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. – 2 Samuel 5:22-23
Today’s focus verses refer to a time when the Philistines twice arrayed themselves against the Israelites in the valley of Rephaim. The first time, David asked the Lord if he should meet the Philistines in battle, and the Lord said, “Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand” (2 Samuel 5:19). David obeyed and his armies smote the Philistines through God’s power.
Then, the Philistines went back to the same valley and arrayed themselves against the Israelites again. This time, David could have said, “I already know God’s will about this. Let’s go!” But he did not. Instead, he inquired again, and this time God had another battle plan. He told David to go around and come at the enemy from behind, where there were mulberry trees. The Israelites were to advance when they heard rustlings in the tops of the trees, and then the Lord would go before them to smite the Philistines. They obeyed, and God gave victory again!
One of the mistakes we can make as Christians is failing to ask for God’s leading in a situation because we think we already know how He is going to work. Just imagine what would have happened if, after the battle of Jericho, the Children of Israel had said, “We know how to make walls fall down,” and then tried marching around the next walled city they came upon. The results would have been disastrous! Or suppose that the blind man whom Jesus healed had said, “I know how blind people can be healed—just put clay on their eyes and have them go wash—that’s what happened to me.” We know it was not the clay or the water that healed the blind man, but the power of Jesus flowing into him when he obeyed. Likewise for us today, it is our obedience to God’s instructions which brings His blessing, not the instructions themselves.
We can be tempted to think that because God worked a certain way one time, He should do the same thing when a similar situation comes up in the future. But God sees details of our circumstances that we might not be aware of, and He is very creative in finding the perfect solution!
If you are facing “Philistines” or “high walled cities” in your life, do look back and be encouraged by how the Lord has worked for you in the past. Do think of how He has worked for others. Then, as you listen and carefully obey Him, expect the unexpected! He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.