1 Chronicles 14:14
So David again inquired of God, who answered him, "Do not march up after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.
The Spiritual CampaignW. Clarkson 1 Chronicles 14:8-17
Second Battle in the Valley of RephaimF. Whitfield 1 Chronicles 14:13-17
A Wise Tarrying1 Chronicles 14:14-17
Before TheeJ. P. Lange.1 Chronicles 14:14-17
Signals for DutyJ. Wolfendale.1 Chronicles 14:14-17
The Battle of GibeonJ. Wolfendale.1 Chronicles 14:14-17
The Repeated QuestionP. B. Power, M. A.1 Chronicles 14:14-17
The Rustling of the Lord's Approaching HelpJ. P. Lange.1 Chronicles 14:14-17
The Sound in the Mulberry TreesTheodore L. Cuyler, D. D.1 Chronicles 14:14-17
Victory Comes from the LordJ. P. Lange.1 Chronicles 14:14-17
2 Samuel 5:22, 23 (1 Chronicles 14:13, 14). - (THE VALLEY OF REPHAIM.)

1. The life of a godly man on earth is a warfare which is perpetually renewed. Hardly has one conflict been passed through before another awaits him with old or new and more formidable foes: the world, the flesh, the devil; ignorance, idolatries, oppressions, sin and misery of all kinds (1 Samuel 17:1-11). Yea, each day the "good warfare" begins afresh. "The approach of duty is as a battlefield" (Essenian maxim). "On awaking in the morning, the first thing to be observed by thine inward sight is the listed field in which thou art enclosed; the law of the combat being that he who fights not must there lie dead forever" (Scupeli).

2. Signal success in one conflict does not ensure the like in the next; and it ought, therefore, to be always associated with humility, watchfulness, and prayer; from lack of which many a victory has been turned into a defeat, it was a motto of King Alfred ("Si modo victor eras," etc.) ?

"If today thou be conqueror, beware of the fight of tomorrow;
If today thou be conquered, prepare for the fight of tomorrow."

3. One victory affords ground for the confident expectation of another, when the latter is looked for in the same spirit as the former, with dependence on the strength of God, submission to his will, devotion to his glory and the good of his people. "David inquired of the Lord again."

4. The special means to be employed in every new conflict must be adapted to the special circumstances of the case; and both the wisdom to perceive them and the might to make them effectual are from the Lord. "Thou shalt not go up" (directly, in front of them, as in the former conflict, and as he was about to do again); "go round about them to their rear, and come upon them opposite the mulberry trees" (a spot, probably well known to David and his men, where a cluster or grove of baca trees would favour their attack), etc. "The words teach us that in our own strength, and merely with the human weapons of reason and science, we are not to make war against the adversary. Success can only be calculated upon when the conflict is undertaken under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God breathed forth, and in the immediate blessed experience of the gracious presence of the Lord and of the truth of his Word" (Krummacher). - D.

And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees.
What this "sound of going" was exactly we cannot tell. It probably resembled the march of an army in the air. A host of unseen angels may have moved above the mulberry groves, striking terror into the hearts of the barbarians and sending them into precipitate retreat. As they retreated, they fell into the hands of the Israelites (who had swung around to their rear), and were routed with complete discomfiture.

I. THAT GOD SIGNALS TO HIS PEOPLE TO TAKE CERTAIN STEPS AT CERTAIN TIMES. Then it is their duty to bestir themselves. When the Deluge was about to descend upon a guilty world, Noah was commanded to bestir himself and prepare an ark for the saving of his household. When the fire-shower was coming upon Sodom, Lot was laid hold of by God's angels and urged to escape for his life. When the children of Israel were in peril of being overwhelmed by the Egyptians, God signalled to them the order to advance, and by a majestic pillar of cloud led them through the parted sea. All sacred history is studded with illustrations of this truth. Martin Luther, discovering the "open secret" in the convent Bible at Erfurth, and hammering his theses on the church door of Wittemburg; the young Wesleys, awakened at Oxford and sent out to awaken slumbering Britain, were simply God's agents bestirring themselves at the Divine signal.

II. GOD HAS HIS "SET TIMES TO FAVOUR ZION." One of these was the memorable day of Pentecost. The faithful men and women in the upper room heard a sound as of a mighty rushing wind, and the baptism of fire descended. God moved, and His people were on their feet promptly. Each man, each woman obeys the signal. The Word of God grows mightily and prevails. The secret of this marvellous success is that Christians promptly and thoroughly co-operated with the Divine Spirit.

III. A PERSONAL APPLICATION. There are times when each child of Jesus hears the "sound of the going in the mulberries." Let them be improved. Do not let us lose heaven's fair wind. When we get fresh insight into the Word, let us open it to others. When our hearts are stirred with sympathy for sinners, then is the time to "pull them out of the fire." If the Holy Spirit is striving with us, then is the time to strive with Him to save men from eternal death. As God moves in us, let us move for the salvation of those within our reach.

IV. A TIME OF TRIAL IS OFTEN A TIME OF ESPECIAL BLESSING. I have read of a German baron who stretched between the towers of his castle a set of iron wires. In calm weather the wires were silent. But when the winds arose these metallic chords began to play, and in the height of the gale this hurricane-harp gave out glorious music. So is it with a child of God. In seasons of calm and quiet prosperity he may too often become silent, inactive, useless. But when the storms of trial strike him his soul-harp awakes to new melodies of love and faith, and his life becomes as a stringed instrument struck by the hand of Jesus. Open your heart to the voice and the influences of the Divine and Loving Spirit. Let the time of trial be the time for doing God's will, and at least one soul will taste the joys of a true revival!

(Theodore L. Cuyler, D. D.)

The word "again" contains the kernel of the special teaching here.


1. A wise self-distrust. Self-distrust may be sinful, as it was in the case of Moses, who could not overcome his diffidence even when God had given him the greatest of all encouragements, saying "Certainly I will be with thee." But there is a distrust of self, which is healthy and which leads a man on to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might; and that was what David had now and what secured his success.

2. A full confidence in God. He confided all the circumstances of his case to God.

3. A spirit of obedience. He was ready to abide by the Divine directions.

4. A recognition of wisdom beyond his own.


1. He might have said the means which I had before will be enough now; I have very recently defeated those Philistines; their resources I know are much impaired, mine are not; I will go out against them at once. Such reasoning would have been wrong. Means which we have had before, even though intact, are not of necessity enough for us in a new emergency. The same circumstances seldom happen with every incident precisely alike. We may not see where the differences lie, but they may exist nevertheless; and perhaps it is precisely one of those unseen differences which will defeat us.

2. He might have contented himself with thinking generally that God would be with him. For this particular enterprise David asked specific advice. Specific acts of recognition of God receive specific blessings. Lessons —

1. The value of all close contacts with God.

2. We need not be afraid of wearying God with our frequent comings.

3. The value of new infusions of God's wisdom and strength into all old, well known, well tried and successful means. The means will never be any more to us than what God enables them to be.

4. Nothing need grow old with God to keep it fresh.

III. WHAT CAME OF DAVID'S ACTING THUS? In all probability escape from defeat. The way which God pointed out in answer to David's inquiry, involved much from him.

1. Apparent cowardice.

2. Much self-restraint; but all these were but the preliminaries to triumph — the short time of waiting before God's plan was perfected in victory.Let us permit God's answers to work themselves out. They must generally evolve. We cannot consult God with reverence, obedience and love, without His taking an interest in whatever we bring before Him.

(P. B. Power, M. A.)



1. A supernatural sign.

2. A disciplinary sign. Requiring an upward look, an open eye to see, an attentive ear to hear.

3. A typical sign. In the setting up of Christ's kingdom, disciples waited to be equipped for work.

(J. Wolfendale.)


1. Prayer for knowledge of duty.

2. Prayer for assurance of Success.


III. GOD'S SIGNAL FOR MAN'S ACTION. We need not only to know, and strength to obey God's will, but the signal to "go" at the right time. A detachment on one occasion waited for orders, longed to join their comrades in battle, instead of standing in silence, exposed to danger. At length Wellington gave the command, and the attack was successful. "They serve who stand and wait."

(J. Wolfendale.)

Xerxes, monarch of Persia, had invaded Greece with an army and a fleet. Against the latter the ships of the Greeks were drawn up, and were ready to sail down the bay to attack the Persians. But Themistocles, the commander, delayed. The men grew impatient and began to fret at the delay. Still he refused to give the order to advance. Discontent now became almost mutiny. Some said Themistocles was a coward; others declared that he had sold out to the enemy. But Themistocles was waiting for the land breeze. He knew that every morning, about nine o'clock, the breeze blew from the land, and by waiting for it to spring up, it would be possible to use the sails and it would be unnecessary to use the oars, and so every rower would become a fighter — thus his warriors would be increased in numbers. His delay meant success and victory as the sequel proved. In the spiritual work of to-day there is a wise tarrying and a foolish haste. Oh, if we could hear more said about the spiritual preparation, we are sure more would be accomplished in aggressive inroads upon the enemy! Let us insist that the Church be led to look for and expect the breath of the Holy Ghost, and then every man will be a soldier.

1. A word of consolation in sore distress.

2. A word of encouragement amid inward conflict.

3. A word of exhortation to unconditional obedience of faith.

4. A word of assurance of the victory which the Lord gives.

(J. P. Lange.)

1. Dost thou wait for it at His bidding?

2. Dost thou hear it with the right heed?

3. Dost thou understand it in the right sense?

4. Dost thou follow it without delay?

(J. P. Lange.)

1. When it is beforehand humbly asked for according to the Lord's will and word.

2. When the battle is undertaken in the Lord's name end for His cause.

3. When it is fought with obedient observation of the Lord's directions and guidance.

(J. P. Lange.)

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