It seems that much of the professing church world, even many sincere, blessed Christians, have accepted man’s teaching that the Lord does not have a specific will for their individual life, that once they have fulfilled the Lord’s general will as it is plainly revealed in His Word, i.e., “be saved…sanctified…filled with the Spirit…thankful, etc.,” they are free to exercise their own judgment as to the more specific and substantial decisions of their life. The example of David (as well as the whole of the Word of Truth) suggests otherwise. I will share but two examples with you today.
1 Samuel 30 – David had made a willful decision which manifested his imperfect faith. He had run from one problem (Saul) straight into another problem (an unholy alliance with God’s enemies, the Philistines). How he could do such a thing is mind-boggling, yet it gives occasion to show us why he was a man after the Lord’s own heart despite his very apparent and frequent weaknesses.
David had deceived the king of the Philistines so convincingly that the king seemed to believe that David was truly loyal to him and his causes. Ultimately, David’s loyalty is tested when he is called on him to fight along side the Philistines against his own people, Israel. Providentially, David is saved from the conflict, following which he is brought back to his senses and his calling to serve the Lord his God honorably and for the blessing of Israel. However, the testing of his loyalty is not over. This time it is God who tests his heart.
When David and his men return to the place where they left their families, he finds that the Amalekites, Israel’s eternal enemy, a type of the flesh, have raided and burned their camp, and captured and carried away their wives and children. David’s own men, once unquestionably loyal, are now so grieved that they speak of stoning him. In this time of crisis, he does what we should all do: he seeks the Lord’s specific leading.
The Lord’s leading! Isn’t this what men would call a “no brainer?” I mean, their wives and families have been captured along with all of their stuff. In short, all of their life’s goods and blessings have been stolen from them from avowed enemies of the Lord. Using the brains and good judgment the Lord has given to him, shouldn’t the logical conclusion be “Let’s go get them back.” What could be more plain?
Fortunately for David, his men, and their families, David had learned from his mistake. Instead of boldly, “in the name of the Lord,” charging after the enemy, he humbly and publicly (I believe) sought the Lord’s will. And notice what it was David sought. He did not seek “how” but “whether.” We might all have enough wisdom in such a circumstance to ask the Lord “how” to do what we had assumed to be His will. But would we have the grace, the trust, the humility in such a case to ask “whether” we should or should not attempt to recover our loved ones from the hands of the enemy? May we all learn the very wise prayer of the psalmist:
“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;”
As a result of David’s faith, of his refusal to do what seemed “right in his own eyes,” he was given a perfect victory. All was recovered without any loss whatsoever. Had he proceeded according to his own knowledge, who knows what the result would have been. Such are God’s ways. His will is always blessed. Ours is not.
2 Samuel 2:1 – Saul has died. There is now no one between David and his becoming king of Israel. With his enemy now gone, he is free to assume the throne for which the Lord has anointed him. Or is he?
Most, given the circumstances, would proceed to Jerusalem to take the throne. David, however, was wiser than most. He had learned that trusting in circumstances and his own understanding led to sin and loss. He had learned that to presume on God is foolishness, and that his ways were most often not God’s ways.
With holy temperance, David does what every saint should do when faced with a major, life-changing decision (or a lesser decision as provoked by the Spirit of the Lord): he petitioned the Lord for specific instruction as to His will in the matter. While assuming the throne promised him by the Lord would seem to be another “no brainer,” David had learned that, for the saint who would serve his Master faithfully and fruitfully, there is no such thing as a “no brainer” in such matters.
Surprisingly, at least to us mere humans, the Lord tells him to NOT go to up Jerusalem but, rather, to Hebron. Further, the Lord keeps David in this “separated” state for seven more years! Why? Because God’s ways are perfect; ours aren’t. He knows things that we can’t possibly know. In this case, the people’s hearts were not yet fully turned to David; they were not ready to follow him as king; there was much work for the Spirit of God to accomplish before David could assume his rightful throne. David didn’t know this, but God did. In humble submission, David set aside his own understanding, that is to say, his will, and both sought and obeyed the Lord’s perfect, directive, and very specific will. The result: a Spirit-led transition of leadership and a prosperous reign of strength to the glory of God.
Simple lesson: as long as David followed this pattern in his life, he was blessed of the Lord. However, when he wavered from such whole-hearted, submissive dependence on the Lord his God, he was cursed. So is it with us. When we are saved we confess the LORD Jesus, i.e., we confess Him to be the sovereign Lord not only of creation, but of our own personal life. Our continued blessing depends on our allowing Him to be just that.
Let the Lord reign over your life today…and every day. His lordship will bless you. Your self-will will not.
“Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
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