Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Sound of Marching

So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there. Then David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore they called the name of that place Baal Perazim. (1 Chronicles 14:11)
David had just been anointed king, and the Philistines did not like it, so they came looking for him. David heard of this and went out against them. The Philistines raided the valley of Rephaim. David asked the Lord whether he should go up after them. “Will You deliver them into my hand?” The Lord said, “Go up, for I will deliver them into your hand.” So David led them up to the place which would be called Baal Perazim, which means “Lord of Breakthroughs.” It was there that God broke through David’s enemies “like a breakthrough of water.”

This was not like a few drips and drops. It was not a smattering of sprays and spurts. It was not a leak. It was a flood, a dam break! It devastated the Philistines. They retreated, leaving their idols behind, which David then burned. However, the Philistines made one more attempt on the valley. Again, David asked the Lord what to do. God said,
You shall not go up after them; circle around them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines. (1 Chronicles 14:14-15)
God was going to go before David and strike the Philistine army. The sign for this would be the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees. Then David would go out to battle and finish them off, which David did, driving them back all the way back to Philistia. “Then the fame of David went out into all lands, and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations” (v. 17). The Philistines were never a problem for David anymore after that.

Today, I am thinking of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday in terms of this narrative, which chronicles the final victory of David over the Philistines. It came in two parts. There was the breaking forth of many waters and then the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees.

On Good Friday, there was the breakthrough of many waters as Jesus dealt the death blow to His enemies, and ours. For He came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) as well as him who had the power of death, the devil himself (Hebrews 2:14). On Resurrection Sunday, this victory became apparent as God raised Jesus from the dead. Sin, death and the devil no longer have any power over us. The Lord of Breakthroughs has prevailed.

The day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday has traditionally been called Holy Saturday. It is a time of reflecting on the breakthrough that has been made for us, the great victory Jesus won for us on the Cross. But it is also a time of listening for the “sound of marching” as that victory manifests in resurrection life.