David asked the LORD, “Should I go and attack them?”
“Yes, go and save Keilah,” the LORD told him.
1 Samuel 23:1+2 nlt
There is a tradition in some Christian churches of giving up something for the season of Lent. (Lent is the 40-day period of time leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus.) The idea behind this tradition is to sacrifice something important to me for 40 days to align my focus with honoring Jesus’ sacrifice. It got me thinking, though. I wonder what kind of activity or possession would be effective enough [yet realistic] to part with for 40 days in my world. It took a couple days, but I figured it out:
I have been extremely blessed with wise allies in my life. Extremely blessed. However, over the years I have begun to use that as a curse rather than a blessing. I have started going to humans for approval and advice more than God and it has turned into a crutch. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it’s bad to go to human resources for advice and counsel – I’m just noticing that it becomes a problem when God isn’t the first and final say.
Reading 1 Samuel, chapters 22 and 23 really put it into perspective for me. Saul is still king but he knows that he will be replaced by someone not in his bloodline. This fact makes him so upset that he has decided to let nothing stop him from killing David, the next king of Israel. That’s a pretty firm “no” from a human who was God’s chosen leader and, at one time, filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
Although David is being pursued by Saul, David doesn’t give up on God’s call to be the next king. He also doesn’t waste any time trying to convince Saul that God’s will WILL be done. He does what he can with the resources he has access to, even though it appeared to be foolish by human standards. He was in hiding for his life when all of a sudden:
One day news came to David that the Philistines were at Keilah stealing grain from the threshing floors. David asked the LORD “Should I go and attack them?” “Yes, go and save Keilah,” the LORD told him. But David’s men said, “We’re afraid even here in Judah. We certainly don’t want to go to Keilah to fight the whole Philistine army!” So, David asked the LORD again, and the LORD replied, “Go down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 23:1-4)
He is faced with quite a few obstacles and resounding “no’s” from his allies. Instead of letting his men make the decision, he seeks God’s approval. He seeks it not once, but twice, and he follows God’s command even though human wisdom said otherwise. He mobilizes his troops in the very next verse and is successful, just as God said he would be.
I want to follow David’s example of seeking God’s approval over my questions and quests. I want to live in the knowledge that God is with me regardless of any other “no” that I may hear. Galations 1:10 says it better than I can:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galations 1:10 niv)
Challenge: Consult God first and consult God last – then go and boldly do what He says.
Dear Lord, Thank you for offering me the chance to know your will for my life. Your wisdom transcends all my human understanding; please bless me with the strength to obey even when my mind fails to see your full plan. Teach me to use my friends and family as helpful resources, not replacements. Amen.