“And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.” II Samuel 5:22-24
The Bible refers to David as a man after God’s own heart. Probably one of the reasons for this was that David was a man of prayer. Most of the Psalms that he wrote are prayers for specific needs in his life. In almost everything he did, he asked God for guidance.
Just prior to our scripture reference, David and his armies had attacked the Philistines and won a great victory. Now it seemed that another battle was needed. David asked the Lord if they should go up against them as they had before, and the Lord told them not to, but to go around behind them and listen for a sound in the mulberry trees, and only then should they attack. Obeying the voice of the Lord, they had another great victory.
Remember when the wise men came to visit the child Jesus in Bethlehem, they had been asked by Herod to bring news back to him in Jerusalem. But God had a better plan, and so He told the wise men to go home in a different way.
Joseph and Mary were told by the angel not to stay in Bethlehem, or to return to Nazareth, but to go to Egypt. Thus by both the wise men and Joseph listening to the voice of God and going in a different direction, the life of Jesus was saved.
Often we are faced with decisions about relationships, career paths, and other major things in our lives. We look at two paths before us and try to figure out which is the better choice. The one that may look the best to us may not be the one that the Lord wants us to take. As we earnestly seek His face in prayer, He will show us the right way to go. He sees the future we cannot see. He sees which decision will draw us closer to Him, or take us further away.
Listen for that still, small voice – the rustling in the mulberry trees – and we will know His will. When we make the right decision, we will have peace.
Prayer: Jesus, in our human frailty, we do not always see the path that is best for us, but we ask that you speak clearly to us, letting us know which is the way you want us to go. Help us to be obedient and willing to go your way.
Devotion by Anne Johnston