Ask and Obey
Problem-Solving with David and God
You got a grade on your test that you aren’t proud to show your parents. Someone you thought was your friend made fun of you in front of everyone at school. You feel like no one understands you when you need it most. We all have problems that grate against us like a hand towel made of sandpaper. What do we do to keep these problems from taking over our lives?
Let’s take a look at how David handled his problems in 1 Samuel 23:1-5.
1 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.”
2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”
3 But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?”
4 Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.”
5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
Stop and think about these verses a moment. What do you notice about David’s responses to threats? Sometimes it helps to re-read the passage.
In verse one, we have a problem. Enemy soldiers are stealing Israelite food. Immediately (verse two), David inquires of the Lord. Then the Lord answers him.
Verse three presents another problem. David’s men are already terrified from being chased by their own king, Saul; how are they supposed to go fight other enemies too? David is being pressured to doubt what God has told him.
Immediately (verse four), David inquires of the Lord again. The Lord answers again with the same command, but this time He says, “I will give the Philistines into your hand.” Then verse five shows the completion of the battle where God is with David and his men, gives them victory, and saves Keilah.
Later on in the chapter, David writes Psalm 54, praising God and saying,
“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life…I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.”
(Psalm 54:4-7, ESV)
What’s important about the pattern here? When faced with problems, fear, and confusion, David immediately asks God what to do. Then he obeys God. Then he praises God when God delivers him, his men, and the Israelites from the Philistines. God uses one man’s obedience to save many.
We have two things to work on this month: asking God and obeying God. Who do you turn to first when faced with difficulty? Perhaps a friend, a parent, or a sibling? These are perfectly good and normal relationships to trust in for advice. But when that sandpaper strikes, try talking to God about it before anything else. Tell him what you’re feeling; ask Him to lead you. When He shows you what to do (through His Word, your conscience, other people, or circumstances), obey what He says in confidence that He will work through you, even if in ways you don’t understand. Then thank Him and praise Him for His activity in your life.