3 But David's men said, "We live in fear of our lives right here in Judah. How can you think of going to Keilah in the thick of the Philistines?" 4 So David went back to God in prayer. God said, "Get going. Head for Keilah. I'm placing the Philistines in your hands." (I Samuel 23:3-4 The Message)
David was the one asking for them to get "deeper into the muddle" and the entire army of men responded back, "We live in fear of our lives RIGHT HERE!" If we just look at this portion of the passage, we might feel like David was an insensitive leader, or completely self-centered. So, when we look a little deeper, here's what we find - David did not act alone! He consulted God first! He took what he knew to God - the Philistines were attacking the region of Keilah and raiding the fields of grain. He asked God what to do with what it was he knew - "Should I go after these Philistines and teach them a lesson?" He received his confirmation before involving others - God said, "Go. Attack the Philistines and save Keilah."
We have all responded at one time or another with the admission of living in fear right here in the present muddle. The things we face seem insurmountable to us - because we can only see our own mess, the impact it has on us, and the impression we have of being "surrounded" on all sides can seem to overwhelm our faith at times. David was probably not immune to this same fear at times. He hid in caves, trying to escape the pursuing armies. He escaped in the dead of night, to get a running start on his enemies. He knew the wisdom of retreat. Yet, he also knew if God was for him, none could stand against!
We often don't realize the impact of our actions. David clearly did not move ahead of God's plans here. He FIRST consulted God - then he ENGAGED others in the plan. Whenever we do this the other way around, we get the cart before the horse. We all know how well that one works! David's men were honest - We live in fear right here in Judah! In their present mess of trouble, they were fearful for their future state. They were surrounded on all sides - Judah was under siege. The enemy was unrelenting. I don't think there is anything wrong with their honesty of "faith-struggle". It is often when we are honest about our struggle that our deliverance is made possible.
David knew their next move - but he had to overcome their present fear. He doesn't just plunge ahead. He regroups with God. Often the most telling thing we do with our fear is revealed in who we take it to! We have a tendency to take our fears to other men - those with similar fears. What does that do for us? If we were honest - we all just have one big pity-party with it! When we take those same fears to God, what does he do with them? He clarifies and confirms the steps we are to take! David received the confirmation from God - "I'm placing the Philistines in your hands". The first time around, God said to David, "Go. Attack the Philistines and save Keilah." This time around, he confirmed the victory!
In feeling doubt, we often shrink away. In finding faith, we plunge ahead. Whenever we find ourselves shrinking back, we would do best to admit how the enemy's attack (the muddle) is impacting us. When we "feel" surrounded and under siege, chances are our faith is taking the blunt of the blow! The only place to have our faith "settled" and "made sure" again is at the feet of Jesus. If we don't get it the first time, then we need to go back again until we do!
In the midst of the muddle, we are often involved with others experiencing the "muddle" with us. There is great wisdom in walking with another through the muddle. We do better with having our flanks covered with other warriors. Yet, we need to be sure we have right "order" to our battle. First - seek God's plan. Then, engage others! When we engage first, we are open to all kinds of "advice" which not be what God intends for the present battle. God's advice comes in the quiet of place of prayer - his battle charge comes in the presence of others of like faith! The battle charge begins in the quiet of his confirming counsel!