When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim. And the Philistines left their idols there, and David and his men carried them away.
And the Philistines came up yet again and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees. And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then rouse yourself, for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” And David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer. II Samuel 5:17-25 ESV
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:23-28 ESV
Have you ever wanted to climb a mountain? Climbing a mountain is a great adventure, but it is also a dangerous one. If someone wants to have a mountain adventure, they will usually hire a mountain guide. Mountain guides know how to keep people safe and how to find the best way to go. They know the best routes to take and what the snow and weather conditions are. They know how to climb on rocks and ice and how to use tools like crampons, ropes, and axes. It would be very foolish for someone who doesn’t have this knowledge to try to climb a mountain without a guide.
The Philistines continued to be the enemies of the people of Israel, and they tried to fight David. David knew he needed God’s help to defeat their armies. Before David went into battle, he would asked God for his help. God gave David the guidance he needed to fight his enemies. He told David if he should go into battle or not, and also what his battle plan should be. Most importantly, God fought for David. David could trust God’s guidance and help as he ruled his people.
We also have God’s guidance and help in our lives. God tells us his will in his word, the Bible. We might not get exact answers to our problems the way David did, but God’s laws tell us what we need to know about living God’s way. But when we look at God’s laws, we know that we don’t measure up. We haven’t followed God’s guidance. If people don’t follow the mountain guide’s guidance, they might get badly hurt or even killed. But if someone doesn’t follow God’s law, the penalty is separation from God forever. That’s why God sent his Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and because of him we are God’s people. He is with us every day to give us his help and guidance, and forgiveness for when we go wrong.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the guidance you give us in your law, and for our Savior Jesus who won forgiveness for when we go our own way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.