This week we start by noting that the last three verses of Chapter 5 point more toward Chapters 6 and 7. In 5:23, David has already defeated the Philistines once after first inquiring of God in unity with God and being assured of victory. Then a second attack comes and David wisely inquires of God again. This time, God has a different plan: David is not to attack directly as he did the first time, but rather circle around behind the Philistines and come at them from a stand of balsam trees. God instructs David:
“It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you shall act promptly, for then the Lord will have gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines” (5:24).
David is successful because he listens for God marching ahead of him in the treetops. This illuminates how unity with God can work – inquiring, waiting, and listening – repeatedly, step by step, through the minefields and messiness of life.
In Chapters 6 and 7, David reveals other practices that make the first part of his reign so successful:
- He is full of joy and celebration in bringing the ark of God to be with him as King (6:5).
- He is angry with God for striking down a servant who accidently touched the ark (6:8).
- He greatly fears God and wonders how the ark can ever come to its rightful place (6:9).
- He makes peace with God through offerings and sacrifices (6:13).
- He blesses the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, not in his own name (6:18)
- He celebrates as one of the people, unafraid of looking foolish (6:20).
- He is humble in his own eyes and exalted in the eyes of servants (6:22).
- He consults with Nathan the prophet before building a temple for God (7:2).
- He obeys God by not pursuing his dream to build a temple, as instructed (7:18-29).
This is unity with God.
Read these two chapters now, especially David’s prayer at the end of Chapter 7.
As we look next at Chapters 8 and 9, we can watch for other indicators that make his kingdom thrive.
As we move on from there, we can watch for what David fails to do that causes his downfall.
Today, God does not speak openly to us through prophets, at least not universally. He speaks through the Holy Spirit, who is given into the hearts of all who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Yet the church of Jesus is far from unity with God. We need to stop disputing with each other and listen for the sound of God’s army marching toward perfect unity – in the treetops – and then promptly and fearlessly follow God’s lead!