Take David’s experience in 2 Samuel 5:17-25 for example. No sooner was David made king over all Israel than the dreaded Philistines mounted an invasion. So David did the smart thing and prayed. He asked the Lord, “Should I attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” And God said, “Attack! I will certainly hand the Philistines over to you” (v19). So David led the army of Israel in a full frontal assault. The Philistines were not just defeated, they were decimated! They even left their beloved idols behind as they ran for their lives.
A short time later David received word that the Philistines were back. It was like a repeat performance. David could have bypassed prayer this time. He could have opted for the former plan of attack thinking, “It worked once; it will work again.” Wisely, David did not take that course of action. He must have suspected the unpredictability of God.
David prayed again, but this time received a different answer. The Lord said, “Don’t attack now” (v23). The frontal attack that worked before was not to be used again. This time God told David to circle around behind the Philistines and create an ambush. The army of Israel was to wait until they heard the sound of marching feet in the tops of the nearby balsam trees to launch the ambush. The sound was the sign that God had gone ahead of Israel to defeat the enemy.
David learned to not assume that God would always act the same way twice. Does He not say in His Word, “Behold, I will do a new thing”? About the time you think you have God figured out, He does something to remind you He is past figuring out! I think God enjoys mixing it up. For one thing, it keeps us on our spiritual toes. It also makes life quite exciting because you never know what incredible thing God is going to do next, or how He is going to pull it off.
I am glad to serve a God who can be unpredictable at times. While I cannot always figure Him out, I am thankful God is always trustworthy. No matter how He does it, God will always do the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way. In this, He is absolutely predictable!
Pastor Todd Weston