13 Sep 2009

"How Does That King David Always Manage to Beat Us?"

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That’s what I imagine the Philistine commanders asking themselves. Whether he’s a young boy taking out a Goliath of a man with a stone and a slingshot, or whether he’s leading his outnumbered armies to victory after victory, it must have seemed to his enemies that David–father of the wisest man in history, Solomon, and great-great..grandfather of Jesus Christ–was one lucky guy. What was his secret? A rabbit’s foot, perhaps?

As with so many other puzzles, the Bible sheds light on this one too:

17 Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 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.”
20 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. 21 And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.
22 Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 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. 24 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.” 25 And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer. (2 Samuel 5:17-25, New King James Version)

The reason I like this particular passage so much is that the Lord gives David specific military advice. He doesn’t just say, “Go get ’em tiger! I’ll put the sun in their eyes to give you a hand.”

For those of you who are also believers, how strong is your faith in this regard? I confess that a lot of times I’ll catch myself refraining from praying about something, because it’s a “purely” secular matter and “God wouldn’t understand.” You know, I’m having trouble with an economics paper; maybe I’m trying to figure out the best way to make the point that capital mobility doesn’t weaken the case for free trade. Well there’s no way I should waste my time praying about that! Nah, I should go read Bastiat again or see what David Friemdan’s up to on his blog. God is good when it comes to being a nice person and loving your kid, but what the heck would God know about the work of David Ricardo?

Obviously I am just letting you get inside my head when I catch myself and realize what a fool I am being. God understands international trade theory just fine, thank you very much. If He so desired, He could inspire you to understand the issues in an instant, and even give you a great way to teach it to others.

And one last thing, to tie my points here in with my general theme about how God actually manifests His will in the world He created: Part of what happens when you pray is that you relax and stop worrying. That alone might be all it takes for you to see the point that you will realize is “obvious” once it occurs to you.

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