The same formula does not always apply to the same situation

There is a popular saying that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. It means that when someone has done something once and there is a proven technique for the process, under the same conditions you simply need to apply the same formula and you should get the same result. But that’s not quite right when it comes to biblical things.

As Christians, we need to know the right strategy to use for every situation, even if the two situations are identical. This is best illustrated by the story of David in 1 Samuel 5:17-21 and 1 Samuel 5:22-25.

In 1 Samuel 5:17-21, when the Philistines heard that David had been made king, all of them went to search for King David. On hearing of this, David went to a stronghold and the Philistines in turn went to the Valley of Rephaim. So as was his custom, he enquired of the Lord whether he would be successful against the Philistines. One of the key successes of David’s life was his continual reliance on God by enquiring of Him.

“So David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?’ And the LORD said to David, ‘Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.’’

As a result, David went to face the Philistines and the Lord delivered them into David’s hands according to His promise.

Then we come to the second incident in 2 Sam 5:21-25. The venue is exactly the same – the Valley of Rephaim with the same enemy – the Philistines; the situation was the same as before but David was not taking any chances. Again David enquired of the Lord and this time the instructions and strategy given by God were different.

‘Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 25 And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer’.

So he was confronted with the same circumstances. David could have attacked the enemy the second time as he did the first. Yet God’s answer was the opposite of his initial counsel. In the first instance, God said ‘Go up’, in the second instance, God said ‘Don’t go up’ and told him to listen out for the sound of marching.

This is a real test of our dependence and reliance on God. We cannot assume that because a certain strategy worked the first time, it will automatically work the second time, even if the same circumstances present themselves. We should learn to wait on God for His strategy each time.

So this week’s post is quite short but I hope to the point We need to continually check in with God because the formula for success might be different for the same situation, so until I appear again in your inbox with more insight from the scriptures, stay blessed.


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About the Author: Ola Aroyehun

Ola Aroyehun editor of The Christian Business and Professional Magazine: a magazine dedicated to helping Christians apply biblical principles to their professional lives.

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