2 Samuel 2:1
And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?…
David had now arrived at a very important point in his career. Saul being dead, his way to the throne was cleared; but the next step to take was doubtful. Under these circumstances he adopted the course usual to him when in difficulty. He "inquired of the Lord," sought directions from him as to what he should do. The high priest, Abiathar, was with him with the ephod (1 Samuel 30:7), and by means of the Urim and Thummim could ascertain for him the Divine will. By this method, doubtless, he received directions to go into Judah and settle at Hebron; "and the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah." We cannot ask direction from God in the same manner as David, but, using the means available for us, we should imitate him in this respect.
I. UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WE SHOULD INQUIRE OF GOD.
1. It should be a constant practice. Part of our devotions every day should consist of endeavours to ascertain more fully and accurately the will of God concerning us, seeking of him guidance in all our ways, that we may know what the general commands of God mean for us in our position, in the practical details of our individual life.
2. The practice should be made special under special doubts and difficulties.
(1) When like David we have to make a choice on which much depends, and there is difficulty in choosing. When proposing to enter on a new enterprise, to form new connections (especially a lifelong alliance), to change our place of abode, etc. There will be reasons for and against, promises of good, possibilities of evil, in each direction. What shall be done? Inquire of the Lord.
(2) When we meet with perplexities in the inquiry after truth. It is not by mere logical processes that spiritual truth can be ascertained; from first to last we need guidance from above, and should earnestly seek it,
II. How such INQUIRY SHOULD BE CONDUCTED.
1. By what methods. Where shall we find a Divine oracle to answer our inquiries?
(1) Reason and conscience will often (if we allow them free speech) give a response which at once commends itself as a Divine reply. If one course be morally right and the other morally wrong, one in manifest accordance with the laws of Christ, the other in plain opposition to them, there is no room for further question.
(2) Holy Scripture is to be consulted. Not in the way of bibliomancy, but by study of its revelations and precepts. The New Testament is especially the Christian's vade mecum, from whence he may obtain all needful instruction as to the will of God.
(3) The providence of God. Courses to which we are prompted by the best desires may be seen not to be our duty, because ability and opportunity are wanting to pursue them.
(4) The counsels of wise and good men. Consulting them, our course will often become clear. Yet we may not submit blindly and slavishly to our fellow men.
(5) The commands of superiors. For children at home the will of their parents is the will of God; for servants, the commands of their employers; always supposing in both cases that what is enjoined is not clearly sinful.
(6) Withal and always, prayer for Divine guidance should be resorted to. "Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths" (Psalm 25:4). By direct influence on the minds and hearts of those who seek him, God becomes their Guide. His Spirit leads those who are willing to be led by him.
2. In what spirit. A simple and sincere desire to know and do the will of God. In opposition to pride and self-will, and double-mindedness. Many seek counsel of God as the advice of men is often sought. They virtually make up their minds before they inquire, and "make it a matter of prayer" in order that they may obtain a feeling of the Divine approval of the course they have chosen. Not avowedly, not consciously, is this done. But "the heart is deceitful," and never shows its deceitfulness more than in such cases (comp. Ezekiel 14:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-14).
III. MOTIVES TO SUCH INQUIRY.
1. Our ignorance. "The way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). Human affairs are so complex, appearances so deceitful, men often so untrustworthy, our vision so limited, that we may well desire and shall wisely yield ourselves to the guidance of God.
2. The right and power of God to direct us. As supreme Ruler, as perfect in knowledge, wisdom, and goodness.
3. His promises. (See Psalm 25:12, 14; James 1:5.) Especially the great promise of the Holy Spirit to all who ask of God this unspeakably great and precious gift (Luke 11:13).
4. The blessedness of being divinely led. In present wisdom, holiness, and happiness, and in eternal life.
5. The certainty of fatal darkness and stumbling to those who do not inquire of God. (See Jeremiah 13:16; John 12:35.) - G.W.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron.
WEB: It happened after this, that David inquired of Yahweh, saying, "Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?" Yahweh said to him, "Go up." David said, "Where shall I go up?" He said, "To Hebron."