So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel…Now when the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went out against them…And David inquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up, for I will deliver them into your hand.” So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there…Then the Philistines once again made a raid on the valley. Therefore David inquired again of God, and God said to him, “You shall not go up after them; circle around them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 1 Chronicles 14:8, 10-11a, 13-15
Four Reasons Why Christians Suffer
Generally speaking there are four fundamental reasons why born-again Christians experience suffering. First and foremost we’re afflicted because we live in a fallen condition brought about by Adam’s indiscretion in the Garden. As a result we sin against others and they sin against us; God does not routinely interfere lest He deny us our free will.
A subsequent (and obviously interrelated) cause is based not on what other sinners do to us, but rather upon what we do to ourselves; i.e., the things we suffer because of our own foolishness. The reality is God is not mocked and we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8).
Thirdly, there is the sanctification process the Christian willingly submits himself to. Followers of Christ choose submission over disdain because the trying course consistently proves to be a blessing rather than a curse. The truth be told, believers know that those who are without God’s chastening are considered to be illegitimate children (Hebrews 12:5-8).
The final reason is subtly revealed in the 1 Chronicles 14 passage (above) and fortified by this New Testament canon:
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
When David knew that God had established and ordained him ~and~ when the Philistines heard about it, they attacked. This satanic policy holds true for us as well, for when the enemy learns of our anointing, he too will attack. How the enemy manifests himself varies and I submit that they range from flat tires to martyrdom. I know of one brother in the faith who had a deer jump through his car window as he traveled to a ministry conference. The naysayer rolls his eyes and screams, “Coincidence! Hardly. Christians know better.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Our first response is birthed in our hope, for we know that, ‘All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28). We have our rest in the assurance that God is orchestrating a picture beyond the scope of both our suffering and our imagination. However, in light of that hope, we have spiritual responsibility.
That responsibility is revealed in what David did. In an act of Godly dependence, he inquired of the Lord, not once, but each time the enemy was on the attack. How God answered David teaches us that our responses can be as varied as the attacks themselves. Like David, we might be called to mount up a frontal assault one time and a rear offensive another. The significant point is that we cannot be confident in anything until we ask for His input. For all we know, we might be called to ignore the enemy entirely. Important things to glean from David’s story are to never suppose God’s methodology runs consecutively and to never assume (based on history) we can leave God out of the equation. To become dependant upon what God has given rather than upon God Himself, we effectively open the door of victory to our adversary.