“David Asked God for Advice”

“David Asked God for Advice” May 1, 2024

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

When the Philistines attacked, did David rush out to battle? No; “David asked God for advice.” Do we seek God’s direction in every area of our lives?

Scripture:       

1 Chronicles, chapters 14-15; Psalm 132; Matthew, chapter 18

1 Chronicles 14:8-17 (CEB):

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they all marched up to find him. David heard this and went out to confront them. The Philistines had invaded and were plundering the Rephaim Valley. David asked God for advice: “Should I attack the Philistines, and will you hand them over to me?”  The Lord answered, “Attack them, and I’ll definitely hand them over to you.”

So they marched up to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. “By my strength,” David exclaimed, “God has burst out against my enemies, the way water bursts out.” That’s why the place is called Baal-perazim. The Philistines left their divine images behind, and David ordered them burned.

When the Philistines plundered the valley a second time, David again asked God’s advice, but God answered, “Don’t attack them directly. Circle around behind them and come at them from in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, then attack, for God has attacked in front of you to defeat the Philistine army.” David followed God’s orders exactly, and they defeated the Philistine army from Gibeon all the way to Gezer. David’s fame spread throughout all lands, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.

Observations – David Asked God for Advice

Chapter 14 begins with David being recognized as king over all Israel in Jerusalem. King Hiram of Tyre sent cedar logs and workmen to build a palace for David; that showed David that God had established him. You’d think that meant everything was going to be smooth sailing – but not so much. When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they all marched up to find him. The Philistines knew David’s track record in fighting them. The fact that he was king over all Israel did not bode well for them.

From a human perspective, the answer was clear: if the Philistines came to attack, David would fight them.  But David took a critical step first: David asked God for advice. David had lived through Saul’s reign, and he saw first-hand the dangers of acting contrary to God’s commands. So even though it seemed obvious that he should fight the Philistines, he sought God’s advice. And God said, “Attack them, and I’ll definitely hand them over to you.” And that’s exactly what happened.

David Again Asked God’s Advice

But one defeat wasn’t going to deter the enemy. They came back and plundered the Rephaim Valley a second time. David could have just marched out and attacked them again. After all, God told him to attack them the last time, right? Obviously God wanted him to defeat the Philistines, so why wait?

But David again asked God’s advice. And this time, God’s response was different! “Don’t attack them directly. Circle around behind them and come at them from in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, then attack, for God has attacked in front of you to defeat the Philistine army.”

David followed God’s orders exactly. Now, David was an accomplished warrior and leader of men. Many people in his situation would have trusted in their own experience and knowledge. David’s experience told him that it was best to follow God’s directions! And they defeated the Philistine army from Gibeon all the way to Gezer.

Application – David Asked God for Advice

How often do we run into problems because we assume that we know what God wants? Sometimes, we’re going directly contrary to God’s plans. If David had assumed that God wanted him to attack the Philistines head-on the second time, he would have missed what God wanted to do. The challenge is that a head-on attack was what God told him to do the first time, but that doesn’t mean it was the right move the second time. God understand far more and far better than we do; that’s why we need to seek his advice in every area of our lives.

In other instances, assuming that we know what God wants us to do might cause us to miss God’s best. The course we take might be acceptable – but what if God has something better in mind for us? When we learn to wait on God – for his actions, and for his “advice” – he will bless us “far beyond all that we could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

Asking God for Advice

God has given us his written word to guide us, and we should study the word regularly. Knowing God’s word helps us to discern God’s will. But God has also given us his Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, to help us understand how to apply his written word to our lives. Certain things are always wrong – “do not kill, do not steal, do not covet, do not commit adultery,” for example. Other things are always right: love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

But there are a lot of ways that we can love God and neighbor; how do we know which ones are “right” in a particular situation? That’s why we study Scripture, and that’s why we seek God’s direction. I might think that a particular action would demonstrate love for my neighbor, but God may have something else in mind. If we really want to experience God’s blessing, we need to seek his direction each day.

And while the CEB translation says that David asked for God’s “advice,” we need to remember that God doesn’t deal in “advice.” When God tells us what to do, it’s not optional!

Prayer:

Father, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth. Guard us against the tendency to think that we understand all there is to know. Help us to seek your direction each day. Amen.

 

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