Early in the morning, when it is still dark outside, is the very best part of every day. The only time this is NOT the best part of the day is when Steve is “sharing” it with me. He lacks a joyful attitude until around 11:00 a.m…
My favorite part of the day is the time I spend in the light of one lamp reading God’s Word. Just Him and me. Almost every day I end our time together with tear-filled eyes marveling at how awesome He is and how much He cares for His children. I never read it without it speaking exactly what I needed to hear.
Hunter asked me to write a blog a few months ago and I thought then that the first thing I wanted to share was a story we read together as a family last year. Here is the story and a few reasons it has stuck in my mind.
In 2 Samuel 5, the Philistines had spread out and were searching for David who had just recently been anointed king over Israel. Instead of worrying, fretting, or running to gather up his men, he went to talk to God.
A godly leader begins every battle on his knees.
The king went before THE King to seek guidance. David had asked God in the verses right before this if he should attack the Philistines and God said “yes.” David did and he defeated them. But this time God had a different plan. He told David, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.”
As I read about this in my favorite commentary, I realized how truly strange these instructions must have seemed to David. God told him to pull back and wait until he heard marching in the tops of the trees…?
Well, here is what happened. God had David wait in the spot where the Philistines had entered the land, and He sent His troop of angels into enemy territory ahead of David. The Philistines could hear the marching of the millions of angelic warriors descending toward them through the tops of the trees. Can you imagine the sound? It scared the Philistines to death! They withdrew and scrambled to head back toward home. God knew this was how they would react, so He had strategically placed David and his army in the spot where they would exit. They fell right into his hands unguarded and unprepared.
Here are some reasons I love this story: God sometimes gives unconventional directions. He has done this in my life so many times. He has guided Steve and me to build a house in a place where it made no sense for us to build. He has guided Steve to quit a job to accept one for a much lesser income. He has guided me to a different job when I was perfectly happy where I was working. Each and every time, He put us in a place where He had work for us to do. Each and every time it was a work that required skills and strengths we did not feel we possessed. Yet, each and every time it was a spot in which we learned that His power is made perfect in our weakness. A place where blessings awaited us.
This story also teaches that God will never send you into a place without going there ahead of you. There are so many times in this life when we feel like we are facing an army and no one on earth is on our side. Over and over again in the Bible, God has shown that He is already there fighting for His children. He entered the battlefield before us and all we have to do is wait for the signal to move forward. In Exodus 14:13-14, Moses shared this message with God’s people when they feared leaving Egypt. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” In Deuteronomy 31, God sent this message to Joshua through Moses, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” If you are a child of God, there is no battle you will ever fight alone and there is no trial you will go through without Him fighting alongside you. When you make it to the other side you will be able to look back and see how He cared for you each step of the way.
I don’t know about your Bible study habits, but I can tell you that your greatest strength will be found in reading His Word. Accept the challenge to start your day in His Word and see what happens. I promise it will be life-changing.
Lenett Thrasher, Pastor’s Wife