II SAMUEL 5:19-20: “So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.” So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever tried to put God in a box? This may appear to be a strange question at first. However, if we think about it a bit we will realize – we have all done this in our lives. What does it mean to put God in a box? It is when we expect God to work in a way we have experienced once, the same way over and over again.
The text being considered covers the first battle with the Philistines that King David encountered after he was established as King over all the tribes of Israel. When the Philistines heard that all Israel had gathered together and made David King, they gathered together in battle array to stand against David. David was facing his first challenge as their new King.
David had learned over the years of challenges and difficulties in his life, that the battle was not his, but the Lord’s. As a man after God’s own heart, David did not simply summon the army of Israel and enter into battle.
The first thing David did was seek the Lord!
- “So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”
The Lord answered David and he led Israel in battle array to meet the Philistines. David and the army of Israel did not have a strategic battle plan, they simply met their enemy head on. And, when they did, God gave them an overwhelming victory!
- “So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.”
Now, this is where we usually get snagged with the temptation to put God in a box. In our time of desperation, we cry out to God, and He intervenes with a great victory and breakthrough in our life. Like David, we rejoice and give God praise! And, then we do something else. We begin to think that God will work in the same way every time we face another difficulty. When we do this we are putting God in a box.
If this account of David was in modern times, this is how it might have played out. News of the victory would have been broadcast on social media. David would have been invited to numerous mega-churches to give his testimony. David would have appeared on Christian Television to promote his new book – “God of the Breakthrough” (How you can find your breakthrough too!). And, there would be T-shirts, keychains, and “God of the Breakthrough” version Bibles sold at every Christian bookstore, and even Walmart!
Does any of this sound familiar?
When David experienced this victory he gave God praise! He named the place of victory “Baal Perazim,” which means – the Lord breaks through. Yet, David did not fall into the trap that so many of us do. He did not begin to teach the “Baal Perazim” school of battle strategy. He did not presume that God would work in the same manner each time. David continued to seek the Lord!
- “Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.” II Samuel 5:22-25 NKJV
Note what David did. When the Philistines came against Israel again, David did not simply rely on his previous experience. He did not presume that what God did before, He would do again in the same way. David inquired of the Lord! And, when the Lord answered David it was with an entirely new approach and a new battle strategy.
The constant in all of this was God’s faithfulness and deliverance. The variable was the Lord’s method and timing.
When David refused to put God in a box, when he sought the Lord anew, when he listened to the Lord’s direction, and when he obeyed – he experienced the Lord’s breakthrough in an entirely new way!
What can we learn from this? Before we write the book, before we wrap the package, we need to seek the Lord! We need to avoid methodologies and focus on the source of our victory. When we avoid methodologies it forces us to seek the Lord each and every time! And, when we seek the Lord with a sincere and humble heart, He hears us and delivers us in new and undetermined ways!
- “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:6-10 NKJV
Lord, help me to humble myself this morning. I confess that I do not know what to do. The path before me is uncertain. I have not traveled this way before. However, You know my going out and my coming in. As I humble myself before You, as I seek Your face, speak to me this morning and let me hear Your Spirit say – “…This is the way, walk in it!” Let me lay all of my boxes at the cross and humbly seek You today.
In Jesus Name!