1 Samuel 23:4 “Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him.”
David was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). As I continue to read through the book of Samuel, it is impossible not to notice a characteristic trait of David’s relationship with God. Multiple times we read David inquiring of the Lord before making any decision.
He frequently sought the Lord’s counsel and direction. The Lord’s guidance was what directed his steps. It is about nine times we see him inquiring of the Lord (1 Samuel 23: 2, 4, 10-11 and 12, 1 Samuel 30:8, 2 Samuel 2:1, 5:19 and 23, 2 Samuel 21:1)
There is so much we can learn from the life of King David. David did not have his plans made up, share them with God and asked Him to bless them, he truly wanted to know the will of God and did what God directed him to do. He was indeed a man who spent time with the Lord aligning his desires to that of the Lord.
Let’s just look into two of those instances when David inquires of the Lord.
First instance – In 1 Samuel 23:1-5 we read “When David was told, ‘Look the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors’, he inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I go and attack these Philistines.’ The Lord answered him, “Go attack the philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, ‘Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces.’ Once again David inquires of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.”
The philistine army were attacking Keilah and not David and his men. So why does David want to fight for them? Even though David was not yet appointed king, God used David here to serve as Israel’s protector.
During this time King Saul was still alive. While hiding from King Saul with that constant threat over him, David did not forget to fulfill and step forward in the path that God was calling him toward. His focus was not only on Him but what God wanted of Him and who God was shaping him to become.
For us: May we not wait for our circumstances to be ideal to step forward to what God is calling us toward. With whatever is happening around us may our focus not be myopic, but always look towards God’s plans and purposes for us.
We read on in those verses that although the Lord had given the green signal to go and attack the philistines, David’s men were afraid. They were in the wilderness on the run, fighting for their lives for a while now. It is natural to lose some confidence and allow doubt and disbelief to creep in.
Being in the wilderness/valley moments for a while can drain someone of their strength and resolve. And fear can find an easier way to take residence in our minds during those times.
When faced with a situation where fear and doubt seemed to be surrounding him, what does David do. Does he give in to that? He turns again to the Lord, because he knows where he finds his strength – in the Lord.
For us: May we always turn to the Lord who is the source and sustainer of our strength. And however scary the situation or that which we stand against might seem may we remember that –
The reality of the situation does not dictate or limit the extent of the possibility of God’s power but God’s power dictates the possibility in an insurmountable situation.
The Lord graciously answers David when he inquired again on the same issue. The lord never tires of hearing from us. He welcomes our doubts and questions, all He wants is for us to turn to Him, so that He can speak to our hearts, teach us and minster to us.
Second instance– 2 Samuel 5: 17-25
David had been anointed King over Israel by this time. The philistines had come and spread out in the valley of Rephaim to attack David. David asks the Lord “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?
David did not seem to rest on his past victories. He did not let those victories make him believe that it was his skill and bravery that got him those wins. By inquiring of the Lord every single time, he acknowledges that He is indeed an instrument in the hand of God. Appointed to be King because it is God’s will and purpose for him. The victories are purely God with Him that enables and empowers him to do what he does.
The Lord tells David to go ahead and attack because the Lord will hand them over to David. After this defeat, the philistines once again come and spread out in the valley of Rephaim. David inquires of the Lord again. This time God gives very specific but different instruction on how to proceed with the attack.
In verses 23-24 we read “David inquired of the Lord and he answered ‘Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching on top of the balsam trees, move quickly because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the philistine army.”
A very similar situation with the philistines in the valley just like before, David could have assumed the philistines are Israel’s known enemies and God chose me to serve as king and protector so fighting them is a given. He could have gone ahead and battled in the same way as before. But he chose not to. He inquires of the Lord every single time. If David chose to act without inquiring the lord, he might or might not have won the battle but he would have definitely missed out on witnessing and experiencing the Lord going into battle ahead of them with His heavenly hosts (sound of marching)
For us: May we never jump ahead of God and miss out on our very own miraculous moments to see the Lord fight for us and go ahead of us with His power.
Like David, may our daily walk be characterized by prayer, may we desire and cultivate the habit of letting God lead, always inquiring of the Lord and wait upon Him to know His will for us.