When the Philistines heard David had been crowned king of Israel, they tried to capture him; but David was told they were coming and went into the stronghold. The Philistines arrived and spread out across the valley of Rephaim.
God has a good plan for you. Sometimes we start out well, pursuing it, then lose our way. Some perhaps haven't ever pursued God or his plan. But if there's one thing I've seen over the years, it is that the enemy will never be happy when you (decide to) start pursuing God's plan. In doing so, you become his enemy; a loss to his kingdom, a threat to darkness. If you were the devil and your only mission was to steal, kill and destroy, and someone tried to derail your plans, would you like it? Would you idly stand by and do nothing? Neither will he. So here God is promoting David into a position of power - David's time has come to rule over God's people - and what happens? The enemy goes after him. Whenever I step out in something I believe is obeying the Lord (following his leading) and things seem to come against me I try to see it as the enemy confirming for me I'm on the right track!
But here's the thing: we don't have to simply suck it up. Pursuing God is a very worthwhile goal. He promises to never EVER leave us. He has already defeated our enemy. Because of him we are more than conquerors. However, He is the vine and we are the branches. The secret to all of what God has for us is that we stay connected to the vine! So, if you're not connected, get connected. Then stay that way. Now, because David is connected, he can do this:
Then David asked the Lord, "Shall I go out and fight against them? Will you defeat them for me?" And the Lord replied, "Yes, go ahead, for I will give them to you." So David went out and fought with them at Baal-perazim, and defeated them.
Because David is connected with God through relationship, when the enemy pursues David, David pursues the Lord! He became acquainted with God while watching over his father's sheep. He saw God at work first hand in helping him defeat the lion and the bear. Now that he is in trouble he knows where he is safe. He runs to God for advice and instruction. There is absolutely no substitute for Godly wisdom, and who knows our enemy better than God. He's already defeated him, remember? When life feels like it is pressing you on all sides, run to the One who knows, and God will instruct you just like He did David.
You need to understand this too: the devil knows just how important your connection to the Vine is. If you are not careful he will make sure to try and keep you disconnected through guilt, shame and condemnation. He will tell you that you've failed, that you're not good enough, that God is angry with you; He will try to convince you that God doesn't want to help you. Anything to enlarge the chasm you feel between you and God when something has gone wrong. All he is doing is trying to prevent you from connecting to the very thing you need most desperately - that will restore life and victory to you. Don't let him succeed!
The next step, of course, is obeying God's instruction. Obedience is a very big deal in God's kingdom. It is such a big deal that God prefers obedience over sacrifice. Obedience is a form of worship. It is an attitude of heart and God honors it. But not just that, obedience also brings good results for us. So while you're obeying God, you're really doing yourself the greatest favor ever. You get to live with the reward of your obedience when the time comes. For David obedience meant defeating his enemy; Coming out on top! And isn't the view usually just awesome from up there?!
What do people do who have climbed some famous mountain? They plant a flag. Something to say "I made it!" After conquering his "Philistine mountain" David plants a "flag". "The Lord did it!" he exclaimed. He burst through my enemies like a raging flood." So he named the place "Bursting". At that time David and his troops confiscated many idols which had been abandoned by the Philistines. David made sure to give praise where praise was due. He remembered to give God the glory. Asking comes so natural when we're in trouble, but do we remember to be thankful when God has come through for us? Even more, do we remember all we have to be thankful for even while we're still trusting God for a difficult circumstance or provision for a need? We should always be thankful. God is good all the time.
David's challenge is not over yet... Before the party can get started the Philistines returned and again spread out across the valley of Rephaim.
When David asked the Lord what to do, he replied, "Don't make a frontal attack. Go behind them and come out by the balsam trees, attack! For it will signify the Lord has prepared the way for you and will destroy them. So David did as the Lord had instructed him and destroyed the Philistines all the way from Geba to Gezer.
Thank heavens David didn't take the position of "been there, done that". He maintains his dependence on God - he stays connected - and he runs to God again. Know the Lord in all your ways and he shall direct your paths. Surely he instructs David yet again with a brilliant strategy. (I love the detail! He demonstrates just how he knows all things. What an amazing God we serve!) Again David obeys and again he kicks the enemy's butt! (I love it when that happens! It reminds me what fun it is to "bat" for the winning team.)
Are you in need of a battle plan? Don't wait till the enemy has worn you down. Run quickly to the one who knows exactly what you need to do to overcome. Follow his instruction with care and diligence. And don't forget to thank him. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is fare more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ. (Phil 4: 6)