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Seeds of the Kingdom

Learning to Listen

by Annalene Holtzhausen

So David inquired of God again, and God answered him, Do not go directly after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.
1 Chronicles 14:14-15, NIV

The Philistines heard that David had been anointed as king over all of Israel and subsequently mobilised all their forces to capture him (1 Chronicles 14:8). They arrived in the valley of Rephaim and made a raid there. When David heard that they were coming, he marched out to meet them there and enquired of the Lord if he should go out and fight the Philistines. The Lord replied and gave him the go-ahead. Only then did David and his troops attack and they defeated the Philistines. In verse 11 we read David`s reaction upon their victory: `God did it! David exclaimed. He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!`

After a while, the Philistines returned and made another raid on the valley (1 Chronicles 14:13). It would be easy to gather from the previous victory that David would just go ahead and attack the enemy again - God would surely give him another victory if he just followed the same advice as during the previous battle. He is the anointed king and the Philistines are the enemy; so that should settle it, seeing the situation is similar to the previous one.

But the verse for today shows us that David once again took the time to enquire of the Lord what he should do. David hereby acknowledged God in his decision-making, since he knew how dependent He was on the Lord’s guidance. As we see, the Lord gave David a totally different battle plan, and accordingly David and his troops gained another victory over the enemy! David didn`t put his trust in his army to gain victory over the Philistines. He put his trust in the Lord.

Another fact, that I find inspiring, was that David also had to wait on the Lord`s timing. He had to wait until he heard the sound of marching in the tops of the trees (verse 15) - only then was he to move out to battle. In a battle situation like this, I`m sure the men were tense, and wondering about the wisdom of David’s command. Perhaps some of the men even questioned David’s battle plan. But David stood firm and trusted the Lord completely. He didn`t listen to the voices or advice from others around him; his focus was on God’s instructions. And once again, God gave them the victory - He went out ahead of them and struck the enemy.

’So David did as God commanded him, and they drove back the army of the Philistines from Gibeon as far as Gezer. Then the fame of David went out into all lands, and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations’ (I Chronicles 14:16-17).

Prayer: Dear Father, so many times I’ve made decisions without asking You for advice - and I know You wanted to guide me. Please forgive me for not trusting You with all of my life. Where I’ve made wrong turns, please guide me back to Your plan for my life. Help me to always acknowledge You in all of my decisions and to not allow the advice of people to stop me from hearing Your voice and following Your guidance. Amen.

Annalene Holtzhausen is on the Associate Team at Ellel, Africa. She is married to Renier, who introduced her to Ellel Ministries. She is a full-time mother to their two boys. Her passion is for the restoration of women’s hearts and for people to find their worth in the Lord.

 

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