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1 Chronicles 14:10 And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and will you deliver them into my hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into your hand.
1 Chronicles 14:14-15 Therefore David inquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them opposite the balsam trees. And it shall be, when you shall hear a sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, that then you shall go out to battle: for God has gone forth before you to smite the army of the Philistines.
A few days ago I had an interesting enounter with God's Truth from His book. Not that I didn't know this before. But sometimes we need to be reminded of the Truth again.As I was reading through the book of 1 Chronicles, I was again amazed at how much David actually relied on God in everything that he did.
In the first encounter (Verse 10), David encountered the Philistines in battle. And he does what most Christ-followers try to do: Before you make any important decisions, check with God whether this is His will. We all know that's what we should do. But it's sometimes difficult to practice.
So David inquires, gets an answer and obeys. He does what God tells him to do, and the battle is won. Glory to God.
Then the Philistines attack again. And here's where David is more mature than I am. I usually follow my usual patterns. "Well, it worked last time, so let's do the same thing again." If I had been in David's shoes, I might have simply attacked the same way again: Go straight up.
God's way however is different. This time He gives David a different instruction: "Go around them!" David obeys, and the battle is won again.
When reading this passage, I just had to confess to God of how often I simply "do what worked last time". I'm asked to preach, I seek God about the topic, He gives me one, and the message is a success. A while later I am asked to speak in a different context. My immediate thinking: "This message worked last time, so let me just pull it out again. It'll be great again!" But more often than not I eventually had to admit: The message wasn't as successful the second time. Why? Probably because God wanted me to give a different message this time. I relied on my experience instead of seeking God a second time.
Same when giving people advice. A person is asking me for advice, I seek God and give a timely Bible verse into the person's situation. A few weeks later another person comes to me with a similar question. This time I don't seek God. I simply give the advice from last time. And it doesn't have much of an impact this time. Why? Probably because God wanted me to speak something different into this person's life. The situation might have been similar. But God's ways are different.
Another way I sometimes rely on experience: Receiving guidance. I'm very thankful for people who allowed God to speak into my life. They gave me prophetic words, encouragement or advice. Sometimes also rebuke. I'm very thankful for these people and their courage to be God's prophet to me.
But then too often I started relying on them. When I had a question, I started asking them instead of God. I expected them to take God's role in giving me the encouragement, advice or correction that I needed. And too often I got disappointed. Why? Probably because God wanted to give me the message in a different way this time.
Seeking God the first time is something many Christians do. But seeking God the second time, when we are in a similar situation,... that's a total different story.I have to confess that my rate in "seeking God the second time compared to the first time" goes down significantly.
Alright, so am I only talking about "having success in this life"? I think the problem is much more severe.
Isaiah 30:1-5 Woe to the rebellious children, says the LORD, that take counsel, but not from me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked my counsel; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your humiliation. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be a help nor a profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.
Yikes. Strong language. Here God is clearly saying: When we make decisions without God's Spirit, we are in serious trouble. Not only do we miss out on the blessing that God intended for us. We bring shame and God's wrath on ourselves.
This is a serious matter. Jesus taught us the same thing:
Matthew 6:33 But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
He didn't mention the serious consequences of NOT seeking God first. But he is confirming the truth that we read about in the book of Isaiah.
Let's get this right. Let's seek God first. Let's ask Him first before we accept a job, pursue a relationship or move into a new apartment or a new city altogether. Let's stop doing things simply because "last time it worked". Let's not rely on other people anymore who God used to help us last time.
Let's simply do it David's way again, and inquire of God first!
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