Prayerful Inquiry


2 Samuel 21:1a  During David’s reign there was a famine for three successive years, so David inquired of the LORD.

I have dealt with a great variety of people over the years. Some were very good listeners, slow to speak, wise and insightful.  Others were mentally impaired, slow to process and slow to respond.  There’s a big difference between patience and retardation, but sometimes they can look the same. In this instance, I might put David in the retarded group. Three years of famine and then he inquires of the Lord? If this was a case of patience, I sure wouldn’t describe it as commendable.

Sometimes we just forget to talk to God about the famine in our life – that thing that’s been broken, the relationship that still hurts, the job your sure you shouldn’t be in.  When something’s not working right, how long do you wait? Three years?

Many times I’ve been under a car, banging my knuckles, straining my neck and exasperating myself trying to fix it, whatever “it” is. In retrospect, I’m amazed how often I wait until I’m at my end before I ask for God’s help. It seems David did the same. Three years of famine before he inquired of the Lord!

But don’t you think he had prayed about it? Scripture eludes to this. In verse 14, after David has been obedient, it reads, “After this, God answered prayer for the land.” Yes, I imagine David had prayed during the three years of famine, but the prayers hadn’t been answered!  Why?

Because he didn’t know what he needed to do. He hadn’t prayerfully inquired. There’s a difference in these Hebrew words, “prayer” (atar) in vs. 14 meaning to entreat or supplicate and “inquire” (baqas) in vs. 1 meaning to seek or examine.

Many times we pray, entreating God to intervene, telling God what He knows, reminding Him what He’s written, claiming in faith what we think we need or rebuking with authority the problem we can’t seem to solve. Prayer, prayer and prayer. But where’s the examination or the prayerful inquiry? Had David simply inquired of the Lord in the beginning, I’m sure God would have told him that the famine was the result of a broken promise to the Gideonite people and David would have promptly brought justice to the situation and two years of famine could have been avoided.

How many years has the same flaw been plaguing your character or the same problem been living in your household. What is the stronghold or infirmity that doesn’t seem to give way no matter how much you pray? Maybe you have the cart before the horse. Next time you meet God about it, consider inquiring before proclaiming.

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