If you are going to live the way that God would have you live, then you really do need to know what is going on around here. Now that involves being a Son of Issachar. These men knew the times and they knew what Israel ought to do. But there is a way of knowing the times and having no idea what to do. You can know that there is a demonic operation afoot to undo the Christian faith. You can see the radical left working to destroy western civilization. You can observe that most of the conservatives are driving over the same cliff only a couple miles behind those radical leftists. You can know all of these things about the times and still have no clue about what to do.
Such a man is like a jumpy squirrel bounding from tree to tree, saying, “Flood, flood, flood” And this chipmunk is pulling his hair out because he can’t get anyone to acknowledge the rising water. I love this squirrel. He’s a faithful man and he’s right on the nose about the flood. But he is a jumpy squirrel. He’s going to lose all of his fur and tumble into those flood waters if he doesn’t steady himself.
If you would know how to operate in the times, then you have to know the unseen things that are going on around here. You have to hear what’s going on atop the mulberry trees, and more about that in just a moment. But at least for now, I’ll say that those who can hear what’s going in the tops of the mulberry trees are the men that you want leading the army. The men who are clamoring about are then men who need to line up behind the men who can hear the heavenly marching.
But there’s an important point to make here. The footsteps are sounding off up there whether you hear them or not. My point is not that the squirrel man above understands the times and the man who hears the marching also understands the times, the difference between them being that the latter man looks at the times with the right worldview glasses. That is not my point at all.
My point is that squirrelly man does not actually understand the times. He understands half of the times. He understands what can be ascertained about the times through human reason. But he has yet to understand the times via revelation. And that’s why he is so frantic. The man who sees both the rising flood and hears the marching atop the mulberry trees is the man who genuinely understands the times, and thus he knows what Israel ought to do.
2 Samuel 5 is a lesson in understanding the times. It is a small picture, a snapshot of the story that we are all living in. Here’s the gist:
Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, is dead and all the tribes of Israel come to David to make him king, not only over the southern kingdom but the whole lot of Israel. David goes up and takes the stronghold of Zion from the Jebusites and calls in the City of David. The Philistines hear about David’s anointing as King of Israel so they come up to fight. David inquires of the LORD and with the LORD’s word that he will be victorious, David attacks and wins. The Philistines left their idolatrous images and David, being a righteous king, burned them. The Philistines circled around again to attack David. And this time when David inquired of the LORD, the LORD said to come against them over against the mulberry trees. And the LORD said, “And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines” (2 Samuel 5:24). David did so, and struck the Philistines.
The enthronement of David here is a type of Christ’s enthronement. David’s story is a small picture of what we are all living through. David was anointed King of Israel. And so Christ is anointed the King of his people Israel. David took Zion. And so Christ has taken Zion. The Philistines attacked David and his kingdom after he became king. And the devil has attacked Christ and his kingdom after his enthronement 2000 years ago. But David fought against the Philistines and crushed them. Likewise, Christ fights against the rulers and authorities in heavenly places and conquers them. David waited upon heavenly power, the angelic host that went before him to battle the Philistines. And so the kingdom of God advances, and the saints wait upon the Spirit who has been poured out upon the church as we go forward to victory.
That is what is really going on around here. Christ triumphs and we triumph in him as we inquire of the LORD and wait upon the heavenly marching. This, by the way, is precisely what Saul the king like the nations would not do. He saw a mounting army against him, and he hastened to offer an unlawful sacrifice rather than wait on the LORD. The enemy was on the run, and he made a rash and foolish vow. His frantic, squirrelly ways resulted in him making poor decisions and faithless maneuvers. He could see the enemy. But he did not know the times.
But better things are determined concerning you Christians. Just turn your ear up and listen to the sound in the trees? There’s marching up there. Do you hear it?