Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ask. Listen. Do.

Recently I was on a road trip and found myself at a church service in Adelaide. After plenty of loud music, emotive prayer etc, up gets this great little Indian guy to deliver the week's message. I must admit, I did giggle when he first took the stage...this guy was straight out of a bollywood movie. He had it all going on; the accent, the moves. But then he delivered a straight-down-the-line message. One that I loved and will try to share with you.

We started by flipping to 1 Chronicles 14:8-17 (you might like to do this and have a read now too).

So the Philistines are attacking David, the new king of Israel. David hears that these bad guys are on the move, so what does he do? Does he quickly march out and try to smash them? Does he barricade the gates and hide in his room? Does he ask the advice of the palace staff? Although all these options  probably seem quite reasonable in worldly terms (personally, I think hiding in my room would have sounded like a good idea...), David did none of these. Not straight away, anyway, because David is an Ask. Listen. Do kinda guy.
David prayed. He asked the advice of The Almighty One, "is this the right time to attack the Philistines?" he asks. "Will you give me the victory?"
God says yes. So David attacks and destroys. Just as God said would happen.

Before too long the Philistines are at it again. And once again, David has a choice to make. To attack or not to attack?
For a moment here, we need to have a little think. David has been in this situation before (Philistines running towards his land with swords drawn...). And what did God tell him last time? Attack! So why would David not just say to himself, "I know the drill...attack!"
Because David is wiser than that. He knows God will rescue him, but he does not assume that he knows best this time. He does not assume that the same victory plan will apply. He asks God again. And lucky he did, because the plan was different (read about it in 1 Chronicles 14:13-16).

So, what does this mean for us? We don't generally have to make choices about attacking on-coming armies (not literally, anyway). But we do have plenty of choices to make. We can decide to struggle through by ourselves. We can barricade the door and hide in our room. We can ask those around us for advice. But our first stop should always be to pray. Ask the advice of The Almighty One. 
Then what? After you ask a question, the only sensible thing to do is listen for the answer. So listen carefully, He will always answer. And then comes the part where you do something. Whatever it is God has instructed you to do. This can be the hardest part of all sometimes, but do you think David would have been successful if God said "attack" and David said, "No, I'd rather stay at home and hide"?
"So", says our cool Indian guy, "where in your life are you are stuck for direction? What places in your life have you been going your own direction?" 

Ask. Listen. Do.

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