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Just God’s Voice

March 2, 2009

By: Carole D. Hicks

We laugh but it is really not that funny nor far-fetched that people hear all kinds of voices and it is enough to truly drive a person out of their mind. There are so many ideas and opinions and influences in our lives that “the voices” become quite overwhelming. The ONE voice that we need to hear is often distorted by all the other voices chiming in. And often, it’s our own fault for we invite those other voices in.

Once I was doing a mission project at a church that was of the Pentecostal denomination and after my part of the service was over, the group (being served) wanted to encircle my group and pray for us. No harm in that, right? Well, our small group of 6-8 was suddenly surrounded by their large group of 100 or more; they laid hands on us and began to pray out loud for God to bless us. IEveryone was shouting their prayers to God and I felt completely overwhelmed, confused and basically, tried to think of a way to crawl between their legs and escape. I would have had plenty of time to do this too, because their prayers seem to go on (at the top of their voices) for 15-20 minutes. Whilst standing there in the midst of these “mighty” prayer warriors, I remember thinking that they must think God is deaf.  It was a tremendous experience in many ways, but I was relieved when it was over. (I am not ridiculing their manner of prayer … just saying that it was all very confusing to me at that time!)

Also, I’m not dismissing or demeaning the prayers or wise counsel of Godly people, I’m just saying that sometimes there are so many “voices” (caring, wise, experienced and welcomed as they may be) that we cannot seem to discern God’s voice.

I’m also reminded of something that a “prophet” friend of mine said once … that “people don’t want counsel for the issues or problems or sin in their lives … they want permission.” He suggested that the reason we have so many voices of counsel and/or discernment is that we’re looking for someone who will tell us what we WANT to hear so we can do what we wanted to do in the first place. That might sound a bit harsh (which some have described him to be) … but I think he’s hit the nail on the head.  I know I’m prone to do this when I am faced with a decision … and seeking human counsel before I even ask God.  (sometimes that’s because I want to legitimize my decision, or circumstance, before I take it to God)

From a Bible study by Dr. Charles Stanley, titled “Success God’s Way,” he uses the experience of David and Goliath in one particular section that offers a bit of wisdom on this subject. When David got permission from Saul to go up against Goliath, Saul offered his own armor for David to wear. You will remember that David put it on but found it too overwhelming and could not manage, or maneuver, within it. This armor might have been perfect for the King who was a grown man with experiences in his life that helped him utilize this armor. But David was just a boy. Granted, he’d man-handled a few bears and lions, but still his experiences in life did not yet begin to compare with those of Saul. Saul had good intentions and was genuinely trying to help and protect David. (Quite frankly, I think Saul thought David was doomed and wanted to feel better about his own lack of courage and the illogical idea of sending a boy to do something he could not. At least, it would “look” like he had done something to help him, “when” he got killed by Goliath.)

The point is that what was beneficial and worked for Saul, was not necessarily beneficial to David. And David knew it. He was wise enough to go back to what he knew had worked for him in the past.

Here’s where David and I can relate. He went down to the creek to find some stones. Now, “creekbank” (and critical) thinker that I am, perhaps David also went there to collect his thoughts and find peace and clarity to hear just God’s Voice. He had already heard the chastisement from his brother. He had probably heard ridicule from the other soldiers. He had definitely heard the mocking voice of the giant, Goliath, and the advice from the King who thought he was going to be defeated. It doesn’t say so, but I suspect that somewhere in the crowd there was someone who prayed for David, and others who thought he needed to be checked by the “company psychiatrist.” The most obvious thing is that all of those voices were based out of “fear.” And as an acronym, FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. And anything FALSE is a LIE … and David needed to hear the VOICE OF TRUTH.

I’ve read this story over and over, and cannot find it referenced that David prayed or called out to God for special help or rescue. He just went down to the water’s edge and found five smooth stones to do his battle. But back in Chapter 16, it does tell about the Spirit of God coming upon him when Samuel anointed him with oil … and one of Saul’s servants refers to David as “the Lord is with him,” when he suggests that Saul have him come play the harp when he is feeling stressed. The one thing that David does do is recall all the times before that God had delivered him from wild animals and other perils in life. He gives God the credit, and expresses his confidence (faith and trust) in God to do it again, because “the battle is the Lord’s.”

So yes, I think while he was down by the creek, away from all the “ya-ya” going on at the battlefield, he was able to collect all those thoughts and memories, give thanks to God … and hear His voice. Imagine how the story would have turned out if David had gone around asking everyone in camp what he should do.

“Do you think that I should even try to fight this giant?”

“Would you use stones, or BIG ROCKS, to throw at him?”

“What could I say to reason with Goliath … and just negotiate this battle?”

“Is fighting Goliath the best thing for my career and family, or should I go back and tend sheep until I’m older, wiser and stronger.”

“How do I look in the King’s armor? Do you think it fits me?”

“What does this “giant-killing” job pay? Are there benefits?” Aha! THERE IS a question that he did ask. And there is a point of motivation that everyone in camp was considering … even in the midst of their fear. “What’s in it for me?” “Are the rewards worth the risks?”

The answer was, “You’ll be set for life! Probably even get to married one of the King’s daughters.”

But the difference between David and the rest is that he was appalled at the audacity of Goliath to insult and mock the armies of the Living God. This was David’s main motivation as he retorted to his brother, “Is there not cause?” David was asking questions to possibly understand, or even make clear to others the enormity of the situation … beyond just the circumstantial and the monetary rewards of defeating the giant. The main thing … the MAIN THING … was standing up for what was right in the NAME OF GOD, following God … being His Servant and hearing just His Voice.

Still, God’s Voice is not mentioned in this story. There are plenty of other voices … but not God’s. The only thing we have to go on … that God was directing David’s footsteps and actions … are David’s remembrances of deliverance in the past, and then the victory on the other side of the battle.

Perhaps, it is not necessary for us to be told in this passage that God was speaking to David. It doesn’t say it here, but Jesus said many years down the road, “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” As a shepherd, who had obviously spent many nights alone in the fields; alone near the creek bank; alone on the mountainsides … perhaps he did indeed know His voice and was able to recognize it distinctly even amongst the many other voices that he was hearing. Maybe, His Shepherd’s voice was so familiar to him, so recognizable … that he knew that if he could just “be still and know that HE is God” (probably down by the creek)… that he would hear Just God’s Voice.

Works Cited

17, 1 Samuel. Holy Bible. n.d.

re-published

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 3, 2009 8:41 am

    I really appreciate your thoughts on this passage. The full trust in God that David exhibited is inspiring, a demonstration of the new testament teaching that all things are possible with God and I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

    I found your blog via google alert for the phrase “five smooth stones”, which happens to be the name of my family band, a name chosen, of course, from 1 Samuel 17, because of David’s faith in the Lord.

    Peace, Dadooz

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