Ever reach a place in life when you didn’t know what to do next? Maybe you had a few options, as if “two roads diverged in a yellow wood.” You may find yourself at those times asking, “So what do I do now?” I don’t know about you, but I wish I had one of those Magic 8-balls then to help me decide.

David reached one of those places that had a fork in the road — but he did have the 8-ball to help him decide. Well, not the actual 8-ball, of course. Don’t be silly. They didn’t have batteries then. And those things are made in China, not Israel.

But he did have seemingly magical rocks that God had given to help discern His will.

We find the story in 1 Samuel 23. David is running for his life from the envious, bitter, and psychotic King Saul. Who hasn’t had one of those days, right? Along the way, however, David pauses to do a good deed. He frees the inhabitants of Keilah from the perennial Israelite archenemy, the Philistines. While reveling in the victory, David gets some bad news. King Saul has heard of his success and is on the way to kill him.


David has a decision to make: 1) Run away. Again. or 2) Trust the grateful citizens of Keilah to defend him.

He asks God, “So what do I do now?”

David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest,  “Bring the ephod here.” Then said David, “O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will come down.” Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.” (1 Sam. 23:9-12)

God “spoke” to David most likely through the use of two stones called the Urim and Thummim that were kept in the priestly attire of the ephod. Most theologians speculate that the stones were used much like dice or the casting of lots. As Proverbs tells us, even such simple things as the roll of dice are firmly in God’s control:

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. (Prov. 16:33)

David asks. God answers. Simple enough.

So if God could answer right away with a simple roll of the rocks, why does He often make us wait for the answer to that vexing question: “So what do I do now?”

Here’s a thought:

When God says, “Wait,” He isn’t trying to make us miserable. He doesn’t delay because he is temporarily out of supplies and needs to replenish His storehouse. The wait isn’t for His benefit; it’s for ours…. Big picture people understand that God uses waiting to prepare His people for the right answers to their prayers.  ~ Doug Carter, Big Picture People (emphasis mine)

What if the reason God doesn’t quickly answer has more to do with us than with him? Could it be that we are not ready for His answer? Could he be testing us to ensure we do indeed emerge as gold on the other side of the refining fire?

The words of a song sung by Christian recording artist Steve Green seem a good fit here:

 I don’t need to have the plan in hand, I don’t need to have the end in sight. All I need to do is follow You wherever You lead and do what you ask me to.

Do you also find it difficult to wait for God to show you the way? What have you learned through that process? Share a comment to help us all grow. 

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