Summary: David inquired of the Lord for his big decisions; how do we do that?
1 Samuel 23:1-12 October 19, 2008
How do we “Inquire of the Lord?”
2 weeks ago I preached from the story of David where he wanted to build a temple for God. He asked Nathan the prophet about it and initially got the thumbs up. But Nathan goes home and God gives him a prophetic word for David that said “thanks, but no thanks.”
The sermon was about making our plans with God, and how to respond when God says “no” to our plans.
I mentioned that for almost every big decision, (excepting a few notorious decisions) David would “inquire of the Lord.”
As a person who wants to do God’s will, I have often wondered how David did this? What did it mean for David to inquire of the Lord, and how do I do this today? How can I know God’s will for my life?
1. God does have a plan for our lives – David’s life teaches us that He is concerned with every decision.
2. God’s plans are the best way to live our lives – they take into account his individual plan for us, and his plan for all of creation.
3. God reveals his plans when we have the intention of obeying him – if not, not so much –
When it says that David Inquired of the Lord, the writer assumes that we know what he is talking about. When I & II Samuel were written, most people would have known exactly what that phrase meant – not so much today.
I think that we can know how David inquired of the Lord by looking at how Saul tried to and failed.
It says in 1 Samuel 28:6
He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.
There would have been any number of Prophets in Israel in David’s day, but there was often one of the community who would advise the king. At the time when David wanted to build a temple, Nathan was the prophetic advisor to the king. Nathan loved David, but he was not shy to tell him what God was saying, even if was that he was going down the wrong path.
Even today we have people with prophetic gifts who we can go to when we want to know God’s mind on something – we just need to make the distinction between prophetic words and personal advice. We can gather a few prophetic people around and lay our decision before God together, wait on God and see if he speaks directly for the issue that we have. In our culture, people are often reticent to declare themselves as a prophet, or even having a prophetic gift. (and those who do often don’t) so you could just as easily say that we should gather some people who hear from God at times and pray together for direction.
There was a strong belief that God spoke through dreams – and he does all throughout the scripture. Particularly at Jesus’ birth, God speaks through dreams. He still does today, but many of us have stopped listening to our dreams thinking that they are meaningless: we seldom even remember what we dreamt. When we remember our dreams, it is good to ask if God is speaking to us through the dream. There are times that I know that he is saying something, but the interpretation only comes as I explain the dream to someone else.
If you have troubles remembering your dreams, keep a pad and pen near your bed, so you can write down the gist before your rational mind erases the memory. Not all dreams are from God, some just tell us about what is important to us, some are just brain entertainment while we sleep, but some are a message from God.
If you have an issue you are concerned about, ask God as you lie down to give you direction in your dreams.
Ephod – Urim & Thummim
This is the method we might connect to least out of the three. The Urim & Thummin were “sacred lots:” stones that were cast like dice. They were kept in a pouch in the front of the priestly garment called an Ephod, so when David called for the ephod, he was asking for these stones. It appears that they would give yes or no answers to questions, as well as no answer, since Saul could not get an answer out of them.
The last decision by casting lots that we have recorded was the choosing of an apostle to replace Judas in the twelve. So it was a practice of determining God’s will throughout Bible times
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.