Summary: “Two Sides of Faith.” One side of faith looks very inactive on the surface. It is David waiting for the signal from God. The other side is obviously active. As soon as the light turns green, it moves and it moves boldly. Sermon explores these two aspects
2 Sam. 5:22-25
In our text this morning, David has become king over all twelve tribes of Israel. He has conquered Jerusalem and made it his new capital, and He had dealt a defeat to the Philistines at Rephaim. But now they have rallied their troops and come against him again. Follow with me as we read from 2 Sam 5:22-25. “Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, ‘You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.’ 25 And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.”i
This passage begins with a problem. An enemy has come to destroy David. The problem is real and the problem has to be dealt with. My focus this morning is on how David dealt with his problem. And I want to suggest that it may help you understand how to deal with your problem.
Anybody here have a problem that needs a solution? I doubt any of us are currently dealing with Philistines. But we may be dealing with an illness. We may need to resolve some relationship issues? There may be problems on the job. There may be problems in the home. Sometimes there are financial problems that are dogging us. I don’t know what problems you may be facing in life right now; but there may be some wisdom in David’s behavior here that would be instructive and helpful for you.
How did David deal with his problem?
I want you to notice three things that David does right in this passage.
(1) He inquired (2) He waited (3) He acted
I. David INQUIRED of the Lord.
He did that before he did anything else! Sometimes we impulsively act on a situation and then when our action blows up in our face, we inquire of the Lord. That’s better than never inquiring; but David gets it right when he does that first. If you skipped that step, you might want to go to that before you do anything else.
David did not assume that he knew what to do. The interesting thing about this particular situation is that David just fought the same enemy at the same place. What he did last time worked. So it would be very tempting to assume it would work this time. Had there been pride in David’s heart as a result of his last victory, he might have made that assumption. But, in his heart, David knew where his last victory came from. Therefore He inquired of the Lord rather than presumptuously assuming he already knew the answer.
This inclination to inquire of the Lord is a key to David’s success. Even before he fought the previous battle, 2 Sam. 2:19 says he “…inquired of the Lord.” On another occasion, before David became king, the Amalekites had attacked his camp while he and his men were gone on a raid. They kidnapped all their wives. David’s men were so distressed over the matter they were even talking about stoning David. So here is David with his wives kidnapped, his men freaking out.
You would think it would be a “no brainer:” go get the wives! But 1 Sam 30:8 says, “… David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’" God gave David the go ahead and they rescued their wives. David had learned the value of asking the Lord’s guidance. You get some insight on his thinking in Ps 27:3-5 “Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident. 4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.”
Are you asking God what to do about your problem or are you just assuming you know what to do? James 1:5 from TLB: “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him….”