1 Chronicles 14:8-17 (Part 1) – God of Our Last Resort Instead of God of Our Every Day

Posted: April 1, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 14:8-17 (Part 1 of 2)

David Conquers the Philistines

Have you ever noticed sometimes with your kids, whether adult or teenage, that they really don’t want to have anything to do with you – until they need something. Maybe, you have one child like that. Maybe, all of your children are like that. I have had some experience in the area over the past decade with my youngest child. She disappears from my life for months at a time, sometimes for a year or more. Then, suddenly, she reappears in my life and wants to spend time with me. Because of my experience with her in this way over the past decade, when she calls for the first time in a while and wants to see me, then, my natural first reaction is, “what does she want?” or “what kind of jam is she in that she needs my financial help to get out of?” I reach for my wallet, so to speak, when she calls. I know it’s going to cost me something. I hate that being my first, natural response when she calls out of the blue for the first time in months. I wish I did not feel that way. But experience, time and again, has proven that this response is the one most often required.

It does not have to be your kids. You may have friends that only show up in your life when you can do something for them and then they disappear. We all know friends like this. And, I fear that sometimes, we all are like that with God sometimes. But David…David was different. He was by no means a perfect guy. All the times that he screwed up, it was when he did not consult God before he had to choose a course of action. However, in most cases, David always consulted God before making any of his military or administrative decisions. In contrast, though, most of us only consult God when we have made a mess of things. Let’s read this passage and see how David goes to God before each action in this passage, 1 Chronicles 14:8-17:

8 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he marched out to meet them. 9 The Philistines arrived and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. 10 So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”

The Lord replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.”

11 So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God did it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). 12 The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, so David gave orders to burn them.

13 But after a while the Philistines returned and raided the valley again. 14 And once again David asked God what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” God replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar[a] trees. 15 When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, go out and attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” 16 So David did what God commanded, and they struck down the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

17 So David’s fame spread everywhere, and the Lord caused all the nations to fear David.

In this passage, we see that, before David went to battle, he inquired of God first. He sought what God wanted him to do (not demanding that God support what he was planning). He asks for God’s guidance and presence. Too often, we wait until we are in trouble before turning to God. By then, the consequences of our actions are already unfolding and are irreversible. Do you ask for God’s help only as a desperate last resort? Instead, we should go to Him first, before we take any action, particularly on important actions that could have deep impact on our lives and the lives of others. Like David, we may receive incredible insight and help from God so that we can avoid serious pitfalls that could cause us to crash and burn, so to speak. Often, God will respond with a thought of the course of action needed that comes to your mind that you had not thought of before. Other times, this guidance comes through people that we trust. He influences them to speak truth to us about what we need to do before we do it.

Are you using God as the God of last resort? Or do you cultivate a loving and daily relationship with God? Do you wait until you have no other place to turn to come to God? Or do you seek God’s guidance before you make decisions? Some of us make the mistake of trying to run our own lives 95% of the time and then when things turn sour in those 5% times, we are all up into prayer to God. God will not fix the effects of our own causes. He developed the universe based on the laws of cause and effect. So, He will let the circumstances of our lives to play themselves out. That’s when many of us get mad at God – when He doesn’t magically end the unfolding chain of events that were caused by our actions – in which we did not consult Him beforehand.

That’s the thing that I love about David in this passage. He is wise enough to know that He does not know it all. He is wise enough to know that God does! He is wise enough to go to God before He has to make a decision, particularly ones where it’s not just him but the lives of His soldiers are involved too. He wants to make God-ordained decisions. Why can’t we be like that? Let’s be like that. Let’s make God our God every day and every minute and not just a God of last resort!

Amen and Amen.

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