II Samuel 5:19b "And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand."
What a blessing and encouragement it must have been to David to KNOW that the Lord would deliver his enemies into his hand. Imagine David's confidence going into battle. "The Lord promised.." must be foremost in his mind.
And the Lord delivers. He gives him such a victory that the Philistines leave their idols where they lay, and David works with his men to burn them. Victory!!
But those crazy Philistines just don't know when to give up. They come back for more. This time God tells David:
2Sa 5:23-24 " And when David inquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. (24) And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines."
What? Sneak up on them from behind? Doesn't that seem like a let down after the full-scale beating we just gave them?
Imagine Dave and his men ready for battle, hidden among the mulberry trees. I can see them straining to hold themselves back, like a bull fighting against a restraint. They must be anxious, tense, every muscle ready to go. Yet, they wait.
And they try to be still so they can hear the sound of 'a going.' What is that anyway? Can you picture the restless men...
Soldier 1: (Tapping David on the shoulder) Oh! I think I heard 'a going!'
David: Nope. That was a bird.
Soldier 1: (After a moment) Oh! What was that? What that 'a going?'
David: (rolling his eyes) Um, no. Joab sneezed. Now be quiet.
Soldier 1: (After a shorter moment) Ooh! Ooh! I think THAT was it!!
David: (Grabbing the man by the shoulders and gently shoving him away) Someone get him out of here! I don't want to miss it because he can't shut up....
Or something like that.
I have found myself in the same position as Soldier 1. Trying to wait for the proper time, or thing God has shown me, and because I have just come from a victory, being unable to wait. I sometimes jump ahead of God because I presume to know how He operates. But, as we can see in this example, the Lord changes tactics often. We cannot presume to know what He knows, or how He will handle a given situation.
Which is why David is so wise to ask the Lord every time. I need to remember when I'm faced with a situation that I can't just forge ahead. I need to ask the Lord what I should do. And I need to accept His answer, even if it means crouching among the mulberry trees for a while.