Sometimes it feels like God is quiet. I want paragraphs of conversation and tweet length thoughts don’t even come through. It’s during these moments that I tend to run into people that tell me God is talking entire phone books of information to them.
Like the guy I’ve mentioned before who played a song at church in Birmingham. I asked him if he wrote it. He said, “No, God did.” Fantastic. That didn’t feel condescending at all. My friend is a musician and sometimes people will tell him, “God gave me this song for you.” The songs are usually horrible and my friend thinks to himself, “God probably gave it to you because he didn’t want it. Angels prefer to sing good songs.”
But there are moments of quietness in our lives and its interesting to see in the Bible that other people had similar moments.
In 1 Samuel 23, David and his men are hiding from Saul when they hear that the Philistines are attacking Keilah. Against the wishes of his men, David leads his army into Keilah to defeat the Philistines. Saul figures that with David and his men tired from their battle and trapped inside the walls of Keilah, now is the perfect time to attack. David learns of Saul’s plans and tells his priest, “Bring the ephod.” He cries out:
“O Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, tell your servant.”
Sometimes I feel guilty about asking God specific questions but David is detailed here. God’s answer to the question will Saul come down?
The verse continues “Again David asked, ‘Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?’”
Forget for a moment that certain death is marching toward David. Forget that the people he’s just saved are going to turn him over as soon as that certain death arrives.
At this point in the story there are 600 adrenaline drunk, battle beaten men trapped inside the walls of a city that is not their own. The streets were littered with the dead, the doors and windows of every home shut.
David reaches out to God for a message. Surely God has some deep, possibly detailed thoughts about this situation. Surely he has instructions for David.
But all God does to break that silence is give David four words. He will. They will. So often I demand more words than that from God just to motivate myself to get out of bed. David had four. With four words he had to motivate 600 men to flee. Have you ever tried to motivate six people to choose a restaurant for dinner?
Verse 12 ends “And the Lord said, “They will.” Verse 13 begins with “So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place.”
Where was the analysis? Between verse 12 and 13, where was the wrestling and triple checking and months of prayer? There wasn’t any. In the space of a verse, David left and in doing so saved the lives of his men and the entire city, for the second time.
Next time I find myself asking God for detailed instructions I should instead ask him for the wisdom to hear the four words he does give me and the courage to act on them.
We’ve talked about the quietness of God before on this blog, is that something you can relate to?