“PRINCIPLE 2: OFFENSIVE
The last verse of Cowper’s great hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” expresses a very biblical truth in an altogether lovely way:
You fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds you so much dread Are big with mercy and will break In blessing on your head.
God’s deliverances often are given to us in bursts. When David was first establishing himself as the king over a united Israel, his first victory against the Philistines was at Baal-perazim, Lord of the Outburst. After the battle, David said that the Lord broke forth on the Philistines like the breaching of water.
Right after this in both Chronicles and 2 Samuel (e.g., 1 Chron. 13: 11), the time of this victory is followed by “the breach of Uzza,” or Perez-Uzza. This breach was a judgment, but also a mercy. Although Uzza died, the people of Israel were taught to receive back the ark of the covenant in reverence (carried by Levites, as the law required), and not hauled on a cart, the way the Philistines did it.
And David is the descendant of Perez, so named because he “breached” before Zarah, who had been marked and identified by a scarlet cord tied to his wrist (Gen. 38: 28–30). Achan, who died for his treachery at Jericho, was descended from Zarah. Rahab, who was the mother of David’s great-grandfather Boaz (descended from Perez), completed the breach when she let down a scarlet cord from her window at Jericho.
Here is the line of blood-red redemption, found always in the unlikely places! This is the line of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is the way of the Lord Jesus Christ. What was His death and resurrection but the bursting of death’s dam?
After the Lord breaks through, like the breaching of water, He delivers Israel in another unlikely way in David’s second battle with them. He tells David to go around behind the Philistines and to wait for the sound of the wind (think of the Spirit) in the tops of the trees. The text says explicitly that the Lord was going before them (v. 24).
And then attack, following the Spirit. Never run ahead of the Spirit. Wait in Jerusalem until you receive power from on high. This second victory over the Philistines was just about a couple miles from where the Spirit was poured out upon the disciples centuries later.
This is how we are to fight giants in the valley of giants. We pray for the Lord to make a breach, like a dam bursting. We pray for the Lord to rush before us, like the wind in the top of the trees.”
Douglas Wilson, Rules for Reformers