It is not just 'full-speed ahead'

Maybe life is a little complicated for us right now - every day brings new reports of worsening pandemic, more loss of life, riots, disagreements, and the list goes on. Why would we ever want to leave the safety of our homes? We have all experienced those moments when the "mess" of our present "muddled circumstances" seems like more than enough to handle - then along comes someone telling us to get "deeper" into the "muddle"! I think we all probably might have responded similarly to the one who tells us to get ourselves into a deeper muddle - it probably went something like, "Are you nuts! Things are more than I can handle right here and you want me to do what?" Hey, this is not a new response! In fact, there is are tons of similar ones recorded in the Bible - I think God doesn't want us to think we are alone in this muddle!

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?" 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 MSG)

David was the one asking for them to get "deeper into the muddle" - something he had done before, but now he was asking for his men to follow along. It should not go without note - 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 with motives that bordered on selfish or self-elevating. When we look a little deeper, here's what we find - David did not act alone in asking for them to join forces and fight! 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 about the circumstances at hand - "Should I go after these Philistines and teach them a lesson?" He received his confirmation before involving others in his plans - 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 we are in. The things we face seem insurmountable to us - because we can only see our own mess and the impact it has on us. 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 sort of 'woe is me' fear at times. He hid in caves, trying to escape the pursuing armies that sought him out. He escaped in the dead of night, to get a running start on his enemies so they might not catch up with him. He knew the wisdom of retreat and the value of the right time to attack. He also knew if God was for him, none could stand against him (and his armies)! 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 are getting the cart before the horse - and we all know that doesn't work so well. I appreciate David's men because they were totally honest - admitting to living in fear right there where they were 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 because they were having a "faith-struggle". When we are honest about our struggle, our deliverance is made possible.

David knew their next move - but he had to help them 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 might just shrink away or pull back. In finding faith, we plunge ahead. Whenever we find ourselves shrinking back, we need to admit how the enemy's attack (the muddled circumstances we are experiencing) 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 and again until we do!

In the midst of the muddled circumstances, we are seldom alone - others are experiencing the "muddle" with us. There is great wisdom in walking with another through the mess of circumstances. We do better "in the muddle" when we have our flanks covered by other warriors. We need to be sure we have the right "order" to our battle march, thought. First - we seek God's plan. Then, we engage others! When we engage first, we are open to all kinds of "advice" which may not always be what God intends for the present battle. God's advice comes in the quiet 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! Just sayin!

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