Inquire of God!

Philistine Warrior

Philistine Warrior

1 Chron 14:13-17
13 Once more the Philistines raided the valley; 14 so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go straight up, but circle around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 15 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 16 So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.  17 So David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.

  • God gave David specific direction, David obeyed it, and it brought victory.
  • Beforehand, the Philistines had attacked because they heard that David had been made king over all Israel. David asked God – should I go out to them or not? God granted him permission in 1 Chronicles 14:9.
  • Every challenge, every obstacle and test and step David is taking – he is inquiring of God first, even if the course of action seems obvious. In some cases, it was not, and God’s advice was to “circle around them” – sometimes the way to attack a problem is not just “head-on.”
  • God wants us to consider all angles, and like all things of God, we need to seek His wisdom and guidance in prayer.  May it be said of us that we “inquired of God again” before we acted as well!

David was reminded of the conviction to “inquire of God” initially during the events of 1 Chronicles 13, the death of Uzziah and the initial attempt to move the Ark of God into Jerusalem.

1 Chron 15:11-15
11 Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

  • Here this is an awesome insight given to explain what we could be tempted think is a “harsh” punishment of Uzziah. Earlier in 1 Chron 13:7-10:

7 They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. 8 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. 9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.

The Ark of The Covenant

The Ark of The Covenant

If you don’t seek to understand the context here and give God “the benefit of the doubt” – this would seem harsh. There are several issues here that the 1 Chronicles writer makes clear 1 Chron 15:13-15:

  • They did not have the Levites do it, nor did they inquire of them on how to do it in the “prescribed way.”
  • They did not obey the “Word of the Lord” or move the Ark as “commanded” through Moses on how to move the most sacred artifact of God’s people, the very “Ark of the Covenant” where God’s very presence resided upon the “mercy seat.”
  • It’s clear there was no regard for God, his Word, his commands or his way. They were focused on the victory and not their God. No one even bothered to inquire of God, why? The obvious thing, put the Ark on a new cart and have the oxen tow it back! We’ll have a couple of guys to keep it steady and then we’ll celebrate this amazing victory! Simple problem, simple and obvious approach.
  • God is more serious about his righteousness, his sacredness, and is holiness than he is about us “celebrating.” If we celebrate with great joy, but for get our God, his way, and his Word – he is seriously displeased.
  • In seeing this then, are we supposed to be these severe and serious folk, incapable of laughing with sincere joy? Is there such a thing as righteous jubilant people? Fortunately, David’s Godly example shows us there is – we just need to honor our God, his protocol, his word.

1 Chron 15:25-28
25 So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing. 26 Because God had helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. 27 Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the singers, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.

David dances before the Ark

David dances before the Ark

What is remarkable here? Initially, David left the Ark in the home of Obed-Edom for three months because the Lord had struck Uzziah for touching the Ark. Then David inquires of the Lord, learns from his Word via the Levites what he must do in order to transport the Ark the way God commands it to be moved, and moves it to Jerusalem. After learning this, David obeys and leads the others not just in obedience (doing things the way God commanded them to do them in his Word) but also in sheer joy.

His dancing was jubilant, humble, joyful – and inspiring. People were fired-up the Ark of God had “come home” to the people! David led the way in obedience and in joyful dancing along with all the other leaders of God’s people.

Not everyone was so fired-up about David’s jubilant dancing before the Lord: 1 Chron 15:29 As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.

We see that we can be disciplined by God,  reverently repentant and obedient, and also very joyful.  Am I inquiring of God?  Am I making sure that the way I am going about things is according to the Word of God?  Am I reverent and treating the things of God as Holy?  Do I respect God’s protocols?  Let us hope we can have David’s heart and go after doing things according to the Word of the Lord!

Jeremy Ciaramella

 

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