“And the Lord said to David: ‘Go and attack the Philistines…..’ 1 Samuel 23:2

“But David’s men said: “Look, we are afraid……….then David inquired of the Lord once again’ ! Samuel 23 3,4

“And Lord answered him and said……..For I will deliver the Philistines in your hand ”  1 Samuel 4

There is scene from a movie called Taxi Driver where the main character is playing out in his mind how he will react if he is approached or questioned by the “bad guys”.  Sever times he repeats the line: “Are you talking to me? Are you talking to ME!?”, in a tone of increasing anger.  He then plans to bring great violence upon those who would dare to question him.  To a certain extent there is much in our current culture that glorifies or at least validates that type of response as appropriate.

After all, if you question something I’ve said aren’t you questioning my authority?  Are you not doubting my wisdom?  If I am in a position of power or authority; aren’t I justified in reigning down contempt and punishment on you for your brazen acts of disrespect?  Am I not weak if I don’t do so?

David is not yet king but he has already built a relationship with Our Heavenly Father.  Samuel has already anointed David as the future king.  David has already called on the Name of God Almighty in slaying the giant Philistine Goliath.  God has also already saved David and his men lives as they flee from Saul who has turned from God and is trying to kill David.  As David is hiding, he is told that the hated Philistines are attacking the city of Keilah.  David does not act rashly nor cowardly.  He does not take matters into his own hands, basing his current decision and behavior on past successes.  Yet David also has no fear of the Philistines.  He will go and attack, even with his small band of men (and here is the most important part) only after inquiring about what he should do from God.

Here, to me, is where it gets interesting, especially because of the humaneness of it.  David expects an answer, although he doesn’t know if it will be stay or go.  And God answers David.  Go attack the Philistines.  At this point it is crystal clear to David what his next action is and he prepares to go out and smite the Philistines.  Then the world, in the guise of his men, intervene.  David is not afraid but his men are.  He and his men are in Judah and even in that somewhat safe place, David’s men are afraid.  They argue if we leave this place of relative safety to fight for the city of Keilah we will be in much greater danger.

David has several choices in responding to his men’s reluctance.  One, he could berate his men as cowards and haters of God for questioning David.  Or, David could be swayed by his men’s argument and conclude that God is wrong.  Finally, David could do what he ended up doing, going back to God and asking him the exact same question over again; in essence, God are You really sure about this?

If David’s behavior is interesting, God’s response is amazing; especially in His Mercy, Patience and Understanding of His creation’s needs and limitations.  Really David, Really?  You’re going to question the command of the One and Only God Almighty.  Prepare to sweep the ashes of David up after the lightning bolt hits.  In fact it won’t be just David but his entire crew whom God will destroy. We might be tempted to do that.  Or we might be tempted to reply something like: “Fine, you don’t trust me Mr. I take my men’s fears over Your Power David, then do what you want.  But you’re on you’re own mister!”  God did neither of those.

God knew David’s heart.  God knew that David, although faithful, had human limitations to that faith and needed support and clarity.  God was building a relationship with David.  So God answered David, not with threats, not with retribution, but with an even more supportive, definitive answer: “I will deliver the Philistines into your hands”.  With this second answer in hand, David and his men do not hesitate but go and carry out God’s plan and are completely successful.

God knows yours and my heart.  God wants to build a relationship with us.  God knows that we have limitations.  You and I are facing situations that have choices.   Hopefully we feel we’ve been given direction by Our Heavenly Father.  But most of the time, it doesn’t end there.  The enemy in this world does not want us to succeed.  He will try his hardest bring about our questioning of God’s plan.  He will try to find resources to tell us that the plan is wrong and our destruction is at hand if we follow it.  It is true we should resist and disregard the world’s counsel when against God’s.  Yet we are human, we are imperfect, we are fallen.

Brothers and sisters, please don’t take the path of listening to the world enough that you turn from God’s plan to follow the world’s. If need be, ask The Father again.  He has shown, through scripture, time and time again, that He is patient, merciful and long suffering.  God will answer.  God will support.  In our asking, we must be willing to truly follow the answer we receive.  Yet, In His Love, we will receive The way forward.

It is true, at some point, we will have to stop reasking the exact same question and step out in faith with God’s response.  Though know this, should you and I ask a second time, in Love and Grace, not rebuke and scorn, we will be answered.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we thank you for the Mercy and Patience You show to us.  Please forgive us when we seem to hesitate or disregard Your answer, Your will, when we are confronted by the world.  Pour out Your Spirit of discernment on us as well as a spirit of obedience, that we will be faithful and confident in doing Your Will in our lives.  That we would know that Your Plans are perfect for us, bringing about lives of Praise to You.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.   Amen

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