And David enquired of the Lord. — 2 Sam 5:23
When David made this enquiry he had just fought the Philistines, and gained a signal victory. The Philistines came up in great multitudes—but, by the help of God, David had easily put them to flight. Note, however, that when they came a second time, David did not go up to fight them without enquiring of the Lord. Once he had been victorious, and he might have said, as many have in other cases, “I shall be victorious again; I may rest quite sure that if I have conquered once I shall triumph yet again. Why should I tarry to seek at the Lord’s hands?” Not so with David. He had gained one battle by the strength of the Lord; he would not venture upon another until he had ensured the same. He enquired, “Shall I go up against them?” He waited until God’s sign was given.
Learn from David to take no step without God. Christian, if you would know the path of duty, take God for your compass; if you would steer your ship through the dark billows, put the help into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to His sovereign will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He who goes before the cloud of God’s providence, goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does. We must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries, tarry until providence comes. He who goes before providence, will be very glad to run back again. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go,” is God’s promise to His people. Let us, then, take all our perplexities to Him, and say, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” Leave not your chamber this morning, without enquiring of the Lord.
Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil [or, the evil one]. — Luke 11:4
What we are taught to seek or shun in prayer, we should equally pursue or avoid in action. Very earnestly, therefore, should we avoid temptation, seeking to walk so guardedly in the path of obedience, that we may never tempt the devil to tempt us. We are not to enter the thicket, in search of the lion. Dearly might we pay for such presumption. This lion may cross our path or leap upon us from the thicket but we have nothing to do with hunting him. He who meets with him, even though he wins the day, will find it a stern struggle. Let the Christian pray that he may be spared the encounter.
Our Savior, who had experience of what temptation meant, thus earnestly admonished His disciples, “Pray that you enter not into temptation.” But let us do as we will—we shall be tempted; hence the prayer “deliver us from evil.” God had one Son without sin but He has no son without temptation. The natural man is born to trouble—as the sparks fly upwards; and the Christian man is born to temptation, just as certainly. We must be always on our watch against Satan, because, like a thief, he gives no intimation of his approach. Believers who have had experience of the ways of Satan, know that there are certain seasons when he will most probably make an attack, just as at certain seasons bleak winds may be expected; thus the Christian is put on a double guard by fear of danger, and the danger is averted by preparing to meet it. Prevention is better than cure: it is better to be so well armed that the devil will not attack you—than to endure the perils of the fight, even though you come off a conqueror. Pray this evening first that you may not be tempted, and next that if temptation is permitted, you may be delivered from the evil one.
Morning and Evening - February 9
Public domain content taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon.