David for King: Asking God
Well, this is the third week of a series we’re calling David for King. David is an incredibly important figure for us to become acquainted with because so much time is dedicated to his story in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. David becomes the gold standard! More than that, David is a foreshadow of Christ himself, and David’s throne and his kingdom foreshadow the church. So, David is a very important figure for us to know. If you have missed part 1 and 2 of this series, you can read or hear them on our website, saintmary.life.
We are first introduced to David when God expresses his displeasure in the current king of Israel, King Saul. Saul does not please God because he does not seek God’s heart and God says he’s going to put a king in place who is a man after his own heart.
So, God sends the prophet Samuel to anoint David king of Israel. But that doesn’t happen right away. When David is anointed king of Israel, nothing really changes, he’s still the shepherd in this little town of Bethlehem, he’s still basically a nobody.
Last week we talked about how when David steps up to take on the giant Goliath, everything changes for him. Whereas everybody else sees a giant problem, David sees a giant opportunity. He is fed up with Goliath mocking the nation of Israel and the God of Israel, so he kills Goliath. And from there, his life changes. He enrolls in the Israel army and there he begins to have success. As David’s popularity swells in the nation, King Saul becomes jealous and envious. In fact, his envy consumes him so much he tries to kill David.
David escapes from the court of King Saul, and his life takes a few twists and turns. I encourage you to read 1 Samuel so you can read it for yourself, but eventually, we are told in 1 Samuel, “David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam (Ad-dual-am), and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down to him.” So, David’s family comes and comforts him. Then we read, “And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented, gathered to him, and he became captain over them.” There were about 400 men. So, there are people who are in distress, in debt, and discontented, …they start following David. So this isn’t an all-star cast!
What this verse is telling us is… things are not good in the kingdom, people are not happy with King Saul and a portion of them are now joining David. So David is the leader of these 400 men, and from this cave they move on to the forest of Judah, where David is kind of a Robin Hood, with 400 not so merry men! Eventually, David hears the Philistines are fighting against the village of Keilah (KI-Lah), and are robbing the wheat from the threshing floors. Hence, the people of Keilah have a problem. And David, who has a good heart, feels like he should help them with this problem, he’s a warrior after all! But before he goes and helps, he does a very smart thing.
David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” David does not go and help until he prays about it. For some of you, this is a really important lesson because you, like David, have a really good heart, and you want to help people. But the problem is sometimes you’re helping too many people because you think you have to help everyone. Do you know you don’t have to help everyone? Even God doesn’t want you to solve everyone else’s problems.
So David, before rushing in to solve someone else’s problems, prays about it. God says, ” Go ahead and do it.” So David goes to his men and says, “We’re going to fight a battle.” And this is how his men respond:
“Behold, we’re afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” So David’s men say, “David, are you crazy? You know, we’re already afraid for our lives here in the forest! And, by the way, if we go up there, even if we do beat the Philistines, King Saul is going to know exactly where we are.
David’s men push back against David, but David does not give in. He goes back to God and inquires of the Lord again, and the Lord answers him, “Arise, go down to Keilah for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” Once again, God says, “I want you to do this, David.”
Now, the question I have is, how did David know he heard from God? How did God talk to David?
Scripture doesn’t actually tell us that and I think the reason is because God speaks differently to different people. I spoke to a staff member earlier about this message and he said, “You know, when God talks to me, it’s like a sledgehammer.” For me, I feel like when God speaks to me, it’s like a still small voice in my heart.
In any case, David hears from God and he goes and fights. David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines and took away their cattle and made a great slaughter among them. So, David is victorious! David does what God asks him to do, and he’s victorious. He helps these people. He defeats the Philistines, so people in this village can have food now. But more than that, the men have all these cattle, that’s huge!
I mean, they’ve been living in the forest, they’ve had to forage for food. But, now because they follow what God said, they have steaks and burgers for dinner. This all seems pretty good. But remember, Saul now knows where David is. Now Saul is coming after David and he’s coming with an army.
So, what does David do? He turns back to God and says, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hands? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, I beg you tell your servant. God, I want your wisdom and counsel.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.”
Yeah, Saul’s coming. So, David then says, okay, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hands of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” Yeah, don’t trust them, David. So, David knows it’s not safe to stay in that town, that he has to go. The scriptures tell us from there that he, and now 600 men, leave that town and go to the caves of Engedi (N-Jed-E).
And there an awesome story takes place, an awesome episode in David’s life, and we’re going to talk about that next week. It’s a great, great story if you’re trying to figure out some things in your life.
But, I want to return to that phrase that we hear over and over again, that David “inquired of the Lord.” It’s mentioned over and over again throughout 1 and 2 Samuel, David would inquire of the Lord.
He would seek the Lord’s counsel and wisdom. One of the reasons why David was a man after God’s heart, was because he sought God’s counsel. He practiced asking God for His wisdom. And, that makes sense for us to do as well. God is smarter than us. God is smarter than you. He’s smarter than me. And we have access to God, who is the author of life, and from whom all wisdom comes.
I want that relationship David had, so I can hear God’s intimate, personal counsel to me. So, it makes sense for us to seek God and His wisdom, so why don’t we do it?
Maybe you’ve never done it. Why is that? Why don’t we seek God’s wisdom or counsel? I think one reason is, we think it’s only for Bible heroes or saints. But let me tell you that these stories in the Bible, are there as models to follow.
They’re not there to say, here’s a bunch of great relationships God had with people 2,000 or 3,000 years ago, but aren’t available to you today. No, it’s a model, God saying I want that kind of relationship with you, as well.
Another reason we might not do this is, it can sound weird. You know, somebody comes up to you and says, “God told me to do this.” You’re like, “All right, back off brother.”
We also hear stories about people who’ve done terrible things because “God told them to.” Let me say this, first of all, far more good has been done in the world because people have slowed down to listen to God’s voice than harm. We just hear about the bad things.
And by the way, all those bad things, they really didn’t hear from God. We know that, don’t we?
So, maybe another reason why we don’t do this, is ignorance. We think of prayer as just talking to God, but prayer is not JUST talking to God. We tell our kids, “Say your prayers,” but prayer is not just “saying” or talking to God. Prayer is a CONVERSATION with God. Sometimes we forget that. This happens to me all the time. You know, I have an issue here at church, a problem we’re trying to solve, and rather than turn to God, and ask Him what to do, I just get more and more frustrated. Does that happen to you?
Another reason we don’t ask God is pride. “Hey, God, I can handle life on my own”. No, no, you can’t! You can’t.
Another reason we don’t “converse” with God is fear. “Hey, if I talk to God and I hear God’s counsel, I might hear something I don’t want to do.” You are absolutely right! At some point, if you make this a practice of seeking God’s counsel, you will hear something you don’t want to do. Even Jesus had that happen to him. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was praying, “Father, I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to do this.” But as He stayed in the garden, He kept praying and praying, He aligned His will to His heavenly Father’s will. You know, when we hear things from God that we really do not want to do, that is when we sometimes experience the most potential for growth.
And finally, it’s just a lack of practice. We haven’t done it before, so we don’t do it! It takes practice to get better at prayer.
And so we want to work on practicing, listening to God. Maybe you have a problem you’re trying to fix at work or at home? Would you just lay that before God and say, “God, I want to be like David. I want to hear your wisdom. And like David, I’m inquiring, Lord, what should I do?” And then, for this week, every time you wake up in the morning, or maybe every time you just think about this problem, this issue, this decision, you would say, “God, please give me your wisdom, please show me where you want me to go.”
I promise you, if you can make this a practice, three things will happen. Number one, you’ll make better decisions, you’ll experience more victory in the choices you make. Number two, you’ll have a greater sense of peace in your life.
But third, and most importantly, your heart will be drawn closer to your Heavenly Father. Because as we seek God’s wisdom and counsel, like David, we will become more and more men and women who are after God’s heart.