II Samuel 5:17-25 The Master Of Breakthroughs.
No sooner had David and his men captured Jerusalem, then the Philistines plotted how to take him down (vv. 17-18). However, as was his custom, David turned to the LORD in prayer, asking if he should go against the Philistines. Only because the LORD answered in the affirmative, did David then go up against them (v. 19). David was victorious against them and gave the glory to God, calling the place ‘Baal Perazim’, because the LORD showed himself to be the “master of breakthroughs.”* “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water”(v. 20). Sometimes when one has done all one can do we come to a place where we know that what we need is a breakthrough. Prayer to the LORD only makes sense if he is the sovereign Lord of history. Why ask someone who has no power or willingness to change things? David’s enemies, in this case the Philistines, were so overwhelmed that they left their idols behind, idols which were clearly of no help to them (v. 21).
This is still the behaviour of the LORD’s enemies to this day. People abandon their idols when the LORD overwhelms them, giving the victory to his covenanted people. Having abandoned their trust in their idols, they then decided to go at David and his men from another way, on their own. Again David turns to the LORD in prayer, and he is given a strategy, he is also given the privilege of hearing the army that the LORD had sent to fight with him (v. 23). The LORD said, “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 before you to strike the camp of the Philistines” (v. 24 Cf. Ex. 14:14; 15:3). When the LORD’s people turn to him in confidence, he always goes before them. We may not hear the sound of the marching, even as the young man with Elisha could not see what Elisha knew, that “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around” (II Ki. 6:17). We, like David, must simply do as the LORD has commanded us (v. 25).
*“Baal Perazim has been identified with a site three miles southwest of Jerusalem.” (NGSB. 434)