“And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up” (2 Samuel 2:1). I think there are two reasons why Christians don’t ask God what they should do: 1) they are afraid God won’t answer them, and 2) they won’t like the answer if they get one.
It is only the Christian that intends to obey that usually asks God what to do. David did not ask God about everything. He didn’t need to. David knew the will of God for his life and only asked about things that might help or hinder him from doing what he already knew God wanted him to do. After Saul’s death, David knew it was time for him to be king, but he didn’t know if the people were ready to follow him.
David did not want to get into a power struggle with Saul’s army. After he asked the LORD if he should go up to Judah, he asked the LORD, “Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron” (2 Samuel 2:1). Hebron was a city of refuge. It was originally allotted to Caleb because of his faithfulness in giving a good report after the first expedition to spy out the Promised Land while it was still occupied by Israel’s enemies. Hebron was home to the Anakim, giants that had dwelt in the land for hundreds of years. Caleb had defeated the Anakim and made it possible for the Israelites to live there safely. As a city of refuge, it was designated for the safety of anyone that was wrongly accused of a crime or someone that had committed manslaughter could avoid being killed by his victim’s avenger by living in a city of refuge until the death of the high priest.
While David was in Hebron, there was a war between Israel and Judah. Saul’s son Ish-bosheth became king of Israel and David was anointed king over the house of Judah. Abner, the captain of Saul’s army made Ish-bosheth king so that he could remain in control and continue pursuing David. But after Ish-bosheth turned against him, Abner went to David seeking an alliance. “Make league with me, and behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee” (2 Samuel 3:12).
One of the principles behind the cities of refuge was letting God handle the matter for you, to let him bring about justice in his time. In essence, when a person fled to a city of refuge, he was declaring God to be his refuge or protector and sought safety rather than conflict in times of trouble. Many of David’s psalms declared the LORD to be his refuge. God’s answer to go unto Hebron was his way of saying he was going to take care of David, that he would handle the matter.
David’s final words regarding the power struggle that took place after Saul’s death are recorded in 2 Samuel 3:39. “And I am this day weak, though anointed king; ad these men of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.”