The Leadings of Providence
1 Samuel 23:2
Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said to David, Go…

David lived under the Mosaic dispensation. Now, that dispensation, as it was remarkable for many extraordinary circumstances, was so more especially for the particular revelation which God was pleased to make in it of Himself to mankind upon special occasions. The will of the Lord appears to have been made known in five several ways:(1) By voice, as when God conversed with Moses by an audible voice; and with Samuel, when he was yet a child.

(2) By dreams.

(3) By visions, in which a prophet in an ecstasy, without being asleep, saw some striking parabolic representation of what was about to take place.

(4) By special revelation, in which was communicated to a prophet, probably by some remarkable impression on his mind, which clearly discovered its Divine origin, the will of God, or the notification of some future event. And(5) By Urim and Thummim. When the primitive Church had been some time established in the world, a practice prevailed amongst some of its members of consulting the Scriptures as a directory of conduct, — the Bible was opened at random, and the passage which first presented itself was considered as indicating the Divine will. By degrees this practice came to be generally disused, and men were contented to remain in ignorance concerning events before them, trusting only in the general superintendence of Providence. Another way by which many persons have in all ages endeavoured to discover the direction of God respecting their conduct, has been by observing what they have termed the landings of Providence; that is, by attentively considering those impressions on the mind, or those extraordinary circumstances, by which they suppose God may point out His will that they should act in this or that way. But it will be asked, Are not promises of direction and guidance given to us in Scripture? Are we not told that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and are we not bidden to acknowledge God in all our ways, and assured that He will then direct our paths?For our guide in temporal things, God has given us our understanding.

1. Let our first rule be, that we are chiefly solicitous to discharge Duty.

2. Beware of mistaking your own inclinations for the suggestions of Provident.

3. It may be laid down as a maxim that Providence never sanctions the neglect of any duty to point out other courses of action. There is a beautiful uniformity in the conduct which God prescribes for us. No duties over clash with each other.

4. We ought to beware of seeking for other directions than those which Providence has been pleased to appoint. Do not expect revelations where God has not promised them.

5. Let me also caution you against a partial use of the means which Providence has afforded us for our direction. You pray, perhaps, very sincerely; but do you also listen to the suggestions of prudence; do you take the advice of wise and faithful friends?

(John Venn.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

WEB: Therefore David inquired of Yahweh, saying, "Shall I go and strike these Philistines?" Yahweh said to David, "Go strike the Philistines, and save Keilah."

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