top of page

TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, July 10, 2022 | Make Waves Series | Find the Mulberry Trees


Second Samuel, Chapter five. I'm going to read from the new King James version. If you're, you know, turning there in your Bible or if you want to pull up an app that will also be on the screen here for you while you're finding that passage. Second Samuel Chapter five will start with verse 17, will read about eight verses.


I do feel like that the Lord wanted me to share something with you today, and I'd just like to start by saying this. Stop taking unnecessary losses. Stop taking unnecessary losses. You see, sometimes you just need to say no. Before the battle. Because it isn't your fight. And I think sometimes we lose some battles unnecessarily because we involve ourselves in some fights that God never intended for us personally to be a part of.


And if you ever find yourself in that kind of scenario, what you'll discover is that it feels like that you don't have the grace for it. And the reason is because it's not your thorn to bear. And so what I want to do this morning is share with you four lessons from the Life of David that will lead to less losses and more victories in your life.


Has God manifest the Kingdom of Heaven in you in 30 seconds? Samuel, Chapter five or 17. Now, when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David King over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it, and he went down to the stronghold, and the Philistines also went and they deployed themselves in the valley of wrath of him.


And so David inquired of the Lord saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hand? And the Lord said to David, Go up for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand. And so David went to Bellow, praise him. And David defeated them there. And he said, The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a break through of water, like a dam has burst.


Therefore, he called the name of that place. Bell praised him, and they left their images, their idols, and David and his men carried them away and destroyed them. And then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of wrath of him. I want you to look at these next two or three verses are very important to the message today.


And therefore, David inquired of the Lord and he said, God said to him, you shall not go up. Instead, you're going to circle around behind them and you're going to come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. Just tell somebody. Find the mulberry trees. Find the mulberry trees. And it shall be when you hear the sound of the marching in the tops of the mulberry trees.


In other words, an army from heaven is going to show up and you're going to know it's arrived. When you hear it marching through the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly for the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines. And David did so, and the Lord commanded him. And He drove back to the Philistines from Geba as far as Geza. 


Father, I ask you to help me to preach. Help me to teach me to share your word. Give me an anointing, a special grace for this moment. And I pray God that you would utilize this moment to move somebody forward in you, and God help us advance into our next step and you, whatever that might be.


Lord, let it be done in Jesus name in this church said Amen. Now, or you may have noticed in the passage that we just read is that it records the activity of two battles that David was involved in. Both of those battles, according to this passage of text, took place in the same area. They took place in the same valley.


They took place in the valley of Reepham. Now that name may not mean anything to you, but what you will discover is that when you dove into the meaning of that name, it actually brings greater revelation to the text that we've just read, because rhythm actually means lofty men. Some cultures might interpret the language there to say giants.


And so when you say Valley of Wrath and you are actually saying Valley of Giants, and the reason that that is significant is because David has become king of Israel. He's leading the nation of Israel. And they have a significant foe, a significant enemy in the Philistines. And the Philistines have been trying to take over all the land of Israel and they've been so successful at it that they have actually been able to conquer Reepham, a place that was known to be filled with giants.


So the Philistines are not your average army. They are extremely gifted at warfare, to the point that even armies of giants could not stand against them. And and they were so successful that at times it's believed that maybe even when they would conquer a land that had giants, that those giants would possibly being drafted into their army and have to begin to serve as a result of being defeated.


Then they start fighting for the Philistines instead of against the Philistines. And so when the Bible tells us that the Philistines have chosen the Valley of Reepham as their stronghold, it's telling us these people are extremely good at battle. They are extremely good at warfare. But what Scripture also tells us is that David is making waves as he becomes the new king of Israel.


He's proving himself to be a great leader, and he's proving himself to be incredibly gifted at military strategy. In fact, he's had his first battle in the valley of Rephaim. He is went into this stronghold, this place where Giants have once resided, and he has taken on the Philistines, which would have been one of the greatest armies on the face of the Earth at that time.


And the way that the scripture we read described his victory was that it would be as the Wolf Creek Dam broke and the lake flooded into the river with a raging deluge that when David went against the Philistines, it looked as though a dam has had burst and water had rushed through. That is how quickly, how forcefully and how dominantly he ran through the enemy of the Philistines.


So he's up against people who could literally defeat armies of giants. And he's running through them like a dam is breaking forth with water. That is how much God is for David. That is how much God is is allowing David to be successful and to do things of significance. And so what we find in this text is that the Philistines are a substantial army.


And so even though David defeated one section of them, there are many more sections of them. And so what happens is another garrison of the Philistines evidently come back to this same valley, the same place of the Giants, and they're ready to take on David for round two. And that to me is where things in this text start to get really, really interesting, because what you discover is that when when David finds out they're there, I think he does something that we wouldn't expect considering the context of of this scripture, because here's the deal.


He's already been in this valley once and been victorious. He's already been up against the same enemy once. And won handily. Now this enemy's back in the same valley as the same enemy. And what you see David doing is actually asking God for permission to go fight again. There's something you need to learn about from David if you're going to have less defeats and more victories.


And that is this. Always get permission, always get permission. And when we reference that, what we're talking about is always get permission from God. What you learn about David is that he picked his fights, and that's probably one of the reasons that he was so successful, is because he didn't just go and try to fight every battle. Instead, he developed a process in his life to where that he would always ask God for permission to get involved in the fight, even if he simply just wanted to fight.


He made sure that it's something God wanted Him to bring his sword to. There's something that God wanted Him to be a part of. So we learn. Always get permission. That's hard for us because we are a people who tend to would rather ask for forgiveness than permission, especially when we learn that we have a God that specializes in forgiveness.


And I am grateful that we have a God who will forgive us a second time and a third time and a fourth time and a fifth time and so on and so forth. I am grateful that we have a God who will be our bailout plan and we'll reach further down than we could ever reach up. But but I think there also has to be a realization that we wouldn't need a bailout plan on many occasions if we would just learn to get permission to start with and find out if it's actually supposed to be a fight that God intended for us to be a part of the way that David does.


This is exemplified in this first battle that he has. Second, Samuel chapter five, verse 19. So David inquired of the Lord saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? So when He's asking, Is this my fight? Like, Am I supposed to be a part of this fight? God, will you deliver these enemies into my hand? And the Lord said to David, Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines in to your hand.


What David is teaching us by example there is that we have to be intentional about getting permission from God before we involve ourselves in a fight. Regardless of how easy the fight might look. Because remember, he's already been victorious in this valley. He's already been victorious against this enemy. It would seem to be a no brainer. David, you should just go fight.


You already know how to fight this enemy. You already know the landscape of this valley. You've already been in there and been so victorious that the way we had to describe it was it was like a dam breaking as you ran through the enemy. But David doesn't take anything for granted because he understands. It's not by my mind and it's not by my power.


The only way I'm going to be victorious is if it is by and through the Spirit of the Lord. David possesses that understanding. And so what that means to you in me is that I think a lot of times we jump to conclusions because of some past victory or some past understanding or just because it seems to look like common sense.


So we find out that there is a job offer and it looks like a better job. It sounds like a better job. Everything about it on paper presents is a better job and we jump to the conclusion that we should take that job. What we didn't do was ask, is that our fight? We find somebody and we think that maybe that's the person that we should spend the rest of our life with.


And they've got a good raising. They got a good upbringing, they got a good resumé, they got a good nest egg and they're cute. And we just take for granted that that is the person that we're supposed to spend the rest of our life with. What we sometimes forget to ask for is permission from God to be with that person.


Sometimes we're navigating business and there's an opportunity that arises and there's opportunity for acquisition of some other entity in it. And it just seems to be kind of a no brainer. We know that valley, we we know that enemy. We know that landscape. And so, sure, we should just do this. Instead of asking for permission, we jump into something that God never intended for us to align ourselves with or yoke ourselves with.


There's importance in getting permission. And the thing that you learned from David is that he wanted to know if he had a yes from God or he had a no from God. You actually see this play out in his life multiple times, and I'm not going to take the time to point all of that out to you today.


But I do feel like maybe there are those of you that are saying, well, I would love to have a yes from God or a no from God. And I even feel like I've been asking God for clarity in that regard, but I don't feel like I have it. Well, one thing I would encourage you to do is to definitely make sure that you ask God for clarity about his permission, the yes or the no.


But I would also encourage you to be aware that there are multiple ways that God can speak. God can speak to a dream. God can speak through a vision. God can speak through Scripture as it leaps off of the page and gets into your heart. But one of the ways that God seems to speak the most often, at least in my life, is through peace.


And you just have some kind of a supernatural peace about this is what I'm supposed to do. It completely passes understanding. I just know that this is the next step for me in my life. I have peace about it. Or maybe another way it can come is through joy. Where that one of the ways I liken it is what you see happen in Scripture there.


There's this lady named Elizabeth and she's pregnant with a baby. His his name is John. He would grow up to be John the Baptist. And and simultaneously there's Mary and she's pregnant with Jesus. And Mary and Elizabeth get together and they start talking and they're having a conversation about the purpose of God for their life. And as they're having that conversation, Elizabeth says, When we were talking about God, when we were talking about the good things God's going to do innocent through us, I felt my baby leap said.


It's like it's like John turned over on the inside of me. I've learned to pay attention to what brings so much joy to your life that it literally feels like your baby's sleeping. Because many times through that, God is providing some kind of direction about the permission that He's granting in your life or the next step that he has for you.


But remember how we look at David and we see him get permission. I want to pause for just a second. Can I tell you a personal story? You might. You might think it's a little bit silly. You promise not judge me too harshly. Okay, two of you are not going to judge me, so I'll hang out with you at the coffee bar after service.


The rest of you, I will avoid you completely. All right, so this sounds really simple, but I believe that if we have a God that numbers the hairs up on our head that he intends to be involved in the intricate details of our life to the point that literally he wants to order our steps according to Scripture, not just this step or that step, but every step.


And so I've kind of reached a point in my life at 42 years old where that I've learned the hard way. It's a lot better to ask God for permission than it is to ask God for forgiveness. And I'm grateful for forgiveness. But I really I'm really getting tired of unnecessary losses. So so I want to lose less and win more.


I want to have less defeats and more victories. Anybody with me in this House. And so I'm kind of learning. I'm kind of learning I'm at this place in my life where I ask God for permission about just about everything, just even if it's just a simple prayer or if it's just a sometimes even a quick prayer. But just just trying to get clarity is this I mean, so so here's the deal with my wife.


My wife is super easy going. Mandy hardly ever asks for anything. In fact, like even anniversaries and birthdays, she doesn't expect gifts. She's not really interested in that kind of thing. You can't get her to tell you what she wants. She's just she's just really, really easygoing. So when my wife does ask for something, I know I better pay attention.


And this is marriage enrichment class right here. Learn all you can. And so I've learned if she asked for some pay attention. So some time ago, I don't know exactly what came over her, other than she became completely infatuated with this little English springer spaniel dog that kept coming up on her Facebook feed. And every time that it would show up, she would she would forward it to me or she would send me a screenshot.


You said, Eric, it's so cute. Can we get it? And yeah, I kept kind of putting it off and and then some the dog just nobody would buy it. It just kept coming up in her feed. And so time came for mainly to go visit with her family. And it happened to be during her birthday week. And I was supposed to travel there later in the week to meet her and the thought hit me.


I could go get that dog show up in Alabama with that dog until Mandy happy birthday and I would be winning. But I prayed about it because we got a lot going on in our life. We're extremely busy. There's a lot of movement and you know, do I need to do this or not do this? And I just prayed about it.


And I mean, just clear as a bell, I felt like I heard the Lord say back to me, unnecessary stressor. Now, does that sound like a yes or a no? But I kept thinking, Man, how cool would it be? I'm going to show up. I'm God, I am going to win. If I get off this plane with this dog.


So I concoct a plan to get the dog. A dog was not in my possession 15 minutes before he was an unnecessary stressor. It got so bad trying to get him through the airport that the airport security actually started talking to me through the the speakers above me scared me out of my ever loving mind, told me where I could take that dog and what I could do with him because he got loose in the airport.


I'm like, I'm going to get arrested trying to get this dog, Alabama, finally get him back in his cage. He gets nervous. It's one of those little plastic things. And he uses the bathroom in that right about the time I'm so start boarding the plane. I can't go on the plane with this situation. So I go into the bathroom and if you've ever been in an airport bathroom, there are no towels and no water will stay on for longer than 5 seconds.


So now I don't know what I'm going to do. I go into the family restroom taking care of our brand new baby, dealing with unnecessary stress. As I deal with the 5/2 water and trying to put the dog and everything else underneath the air dryer while some impatient person knocks on the door outside of me and they're paging my name over the airwaves to come get on the plane.


They're about to close the door. Unnecessary stressor. It was sick from the day we bought it. It only wants to bark at 2 a.m. when everybody around is asleep. I was so frustrated and stressed by the time I got to Alabama that I just took it and set it down and said, Mandy, there's your dog. Now that's that seems trivial.


It seems silly, but can it can I tell you that there are there are things that God wants to speak to you about, regarding permission. He wants to speak to you about who you're going to spend the rest of your life with. He wants to speak to you about where you're going to work. He wants to speak to you about where you're going to go to church.


He wants to speak to you about what zip code and what subdivision you're going to live in. I believe that God wants to give you incredible clarity for your life because he is not the author of Confusion, but he is a God who does things decent and in order. And if any man lack wisdom, he will give it to him liberally.


And what you're going to discover and just a moment as we move through this, is that as trivial as the dog thing might sound, there are some very specific things that have much greater spiritual weight in your life that God wants to speak to you. Because the thing of it is you not only should you always get permission, but you should also always get instructions.


Just tell somebody, always get instructions. The incredible thing about being a Christian, as cliche as this might not sound and is old fashioned, is it might sound we are given an entire book of instructions for how to live our lives according to God's plan. And what we discover is that in that we will find out how we can get saved, how we can get healed, how we can get delivered, how we can be financially blessed, how that we can establish ourselves in the right partnerships and the right fellowships.


That there is an unction that comes to our life through the instruction that God provides. The problem is, is that many of us never get the instruction because we don't ask for it. And you have not because you ask not the proverbs. Chapter eight, verse 32 says this that for wisdom itself decrees. Now, therefore, listen to me. Blessed are those who keep my ways, who hear instruction and be wise and do not disdain it.


Blessed is the man who listens to God's instructions for whoever finds me, finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord. But all those who hate instruction, love, death. I think it makes sense to get some instructions. And so what typically will happen after something decreed or declared in a worship setting like that is a bunch of people start saying, Well, I just feel like you have a word for me and I'm going to tell you what an old mentor in the faith told me a long time ago.


As he as I said that to him, and he handed me a Bible, he said, I do. There's a whole book full of them. I can't get no help on a Sunday morning like God is. God has instructions for you, but you're going to have to make time to be intentional about implying yourself to manning those instructions and what you'll discovers that when God starts giving instructions, sometimes He's going to use a foolish thing just to show that he can confound the wise.


But it comes from that instruction that he give. What I've had to learn is to listen to the little whispers or the seemingly same simple functions that provide redirection or repositioning in your life. For instance, in Scripture, you'll see that there are disciples and they're trying all night to fish and they're not successful. Then God just speaks and says, Go to the other side, put your net on the other side.


It's so simple. But that simple redirection, that simple repositioning changed everything in their situation. You know, I told you guys a a few weeks ago about something that had happened in many in our life, where that we had bought a house. And in retrospect, it was clearly against God's will for us. It was not we did not have permission from God.


We we messed up the instructions from God. And the result was five years of difficulty and challenge in trying to get that thing fixed and get it worked out. And so there came a time where that as we were trying to financially figure that out, that the Lord dealt with us about opening a consulting business and, and I shared a little bit of that with you.


But, but what I didn't share was the rest of the story because as I told you, like it changed our lives financially. Like it, it, it brought us into a level of financial blessing that we had never known and that we had never even believed passive before us. But the way it came about was like this. I was here's the rest of the story.


I was invited to a meeting with a group of guys. I was not supposed to be there. I was not supposed to be invited. If I'm not mistaken, the way it kind of went down is that one of the attendees canceled at the last minute, a seat opened up, and the man who was putting it together reached out to me and he said, Eric, I feel like that you're supposed to come and be a part of this.


And it was going to be like four or 5 hours round trip for me, but I prayed about it. I felt like God wanted me to do it. And I went there when I got there and I walked in the room, I just felt this unction. I like that I needed to go and sit beside this specific person.


And so when I was a little bit awkward, I kind of had to maneuver myself around and kind of try to get into the seat and almost pushing somebody else out of the way. But I just knew I was supposed to sit there and at the conclusion of about 3 hours of meetings, this man stood up and he began a conversation with me and we hit it off.


We talked for maybe 10 minutes or so. That's the conclusion. As he was, get me to leave. He looked at me. He said, I feel like you're supposed to have my cell phone number. He gave me a cell phone number and that was the end of it. I think it was maybe two weeks that passed. And this man reached out to me via text message and he said, I would like for you to come to my house.


He said, I'm going to bring about 15 to 20 guys together and I feel like you're supposed to be here. Well, I did the math. It was going to require quite a bit of resources for me to get there. It was all the way on the other side of the country, prayed about it felt like I'm supposed to go.


I arrive at this place, at this this guy's house, and and we went through hours and hours of meetings. And and as we're doing this, we reach a lunch break. And there's in this room 15 to 20 guys that many of you would recognize their names. Many of them in their fields, in their industries, their household names. There are people that you just feel incredibly privileged to even be rubbing shoulders with.


But there's this one guy sitting over in the corner at a table by himself, and nobody is giving him the time of day. It seems he's he's not a recognizable name. He's not a celebrity status kind of guy. He's just over there by himself. And I just feel this option, go sit by that guy. And so I went and I sat down beside that guy from that meeting would come hours of that man imparting knowledge to me about how to establish a consulting company, because that man was actually the consultant for over ten of those key players that were in that room.


He was the voice behind the voices. I took over 18 pages of notes from that guy, and while he talks, stuff was sleeping on the inside of me and stuff was stern on the inside of me. And so that when a few weeks later that I was sitting in my home office and I'm praying and asking God for clarity, those 18 pages came back to me and all of a sudden something got activated, but something that could never have transpired if there was not the obedience to instructions and trying to hear God's instructions.


And I just came to tell somebody this morning that I believe that God is going to help you find your mulberry trees. Because not only are you going to oh, yeah, that's a great time to give God praise, but not, not, not only are you going to be intentional about always getting permission and about always getting instructions, but I believe that there are those of you that you're going to always hear a sound from heaven.


You're always going to listen for a sound from heaven. The way this happened for David is he was told, Go and position yourself in the Mulberry trees. When he got in the mulberry trees, he heard something rustling through the leaves and he knew heaven had showed up in his situation. And I believe that some of you, the leaves of your heart, are about to start rustling and you're going to begin to understand that God is redirecting you, God is repositioning you.


He's putting you in a place where that some old things are going to pass away and everything is going to become new again. And you're going to look up a year from now and stare back at yourself and say, I cannot believe that I have made it this far in 12 months. Had it not been for the hand of the Lord that showed up right at the moment.


I'm not in the end, let me parenthetically insert something else, because some of you need to know this when I say Mulberry Tree, you just think of a mulberry tree. Some of you don't even know what a mulberry tree looks like, but it's beyond what it looks like or doesn't look like. Because in Hebrew culture, Mulberry Trees had a very specific purpose.


They were the tree from which caskets were made, when in fact, if you were going to pick out your casket, many times you would go to a grove of mulberry trees and you would figure out which tree you wanted your casket to be fallen from. And so when David is standing in the mulberry trees, he's not just standing in any old place.


He's standing in a casket factory and he realizes, My God got me in my God's going to get me out because my God's going to bring me through and I need God to show up this time the same way you showed up last time, and he heard the rustling in a place where nobody would have expected it. I was a I've had to travel a lot lately in like 12 days.


I was in Nashville and then I was in Lexington. Then it was back to Nashville. Then I had to go to Tulsa and had to go to Chicago and I had to go back to Nashville. Then I went to Louisville and then I went there, but I had to be on a bunch of planes. And I imagine that because I'm from Greensboro.


But but I learned a long time ago, Southwest is usually the cheapest place to fly, the cheapest way to fly for the places that I typically travel. And so I do it even though I don't like the process. And the reason I don't like the process is because when you get on a Southwest plane, there's no assigned seating.


Everybody just starts fighting each other for them. So I learned a long time ago I'm a pretty good sized fellow. And so if I sit down and I lay my saddlebag over to my side, nobody wants to sit beside me because I don't think they're having room. So I spread out as far as I possibly can and just make it as unappealing as I usually don't be the day before either.


So but on this particular instance, I looked up and and I just I felt something. I felt something rustling in my heart. And I felt like God was about to give me some instructions on the other side of granted permission to speak to someone. And I started watching those people come back down that lane and I knew rustling I got a divine opponent was one of these jokers.


And then here he was, the big skinny fella. I thank God for that. As I looked up and I said, Hey, buddy, won't you sit here beside me? He said, You mean, is it said, Yeah, you see, the reason I said that to him is because when I saw him, I felt like I heard the Lord say, Be kind to that man, be kind to that man.


And so we spent the flight talking about the goodness of God, all the ways that God can bless you, the need for the grace of Jesus Christ, and how that God can bring you to anything and everything and I just kept speaking with gentleness and kindness. We landed it plane. We're walking off and as I'm making my way back into the terminal, something grabbed a hold of my shoulder forcefully and pulled me hard.


And I turned around not knowing what was happening in that little fella. He said, I'm so sorry, I. I know you got a connection flight. You got a catch. But I just needed to tell you when I, when I got on that plane from leaving Tulsa, I'd had to fly in because my mom's being turned over to hospice, and my employer won't give me time off to stay with her if I've had to leave her.


And I just wanted to thank you for being kind to me. You have to pay attention to the rustling that comes through the leaves of your heart. There's probably a sound from heaven that God wants to release in you, through you and for you. This is the last thing I'll share with you, and we'll skip a bunch of this message and get to the last point.


If the most important point that I'll make all day. So I want you to hear it. The fourth thing that you learned from David about how to have less defeats and more victories is always Let God go first, always let God go first. Let me bring that point home for you. The first victory David had, the Bible clearly says it's because God went before him like a river burst into a dam.


The second victory that David had, when he's told to go up this time and go in a different way, it it says that the Lord went before David. A lot of us experience unnecessary losses because we do not understand the pace of grace. There's a rhythm associated with grace. And many times because we've been victorious in the valley before or we feel pretty confident about being able to beat the enemy this time, we don't sync up with God's timing.


And what you see with David is that there was permission, there was instruction, and then there was a waiting period before he went quickly into the battle. Matthew, chapter 11, verse 28 says, This is Jesus talking. Are you tired? Are you worn out? Are you burned out on religion? Then Jesus says, Come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life.


I'll show you how to take a real rest, walk with me and work with me and watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I'm telling you, when God's in it, you won't have to force it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't let anything or ill fitting on you keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.


If you want to have less defeats and more victories, learn the unforced rhythms of grace. And what that means is that sometimes you're going to need to rest. And in order to rest, it's going to require intentionality because you're driven, you're motivated, you're excited. Sometimes you just ready to get through it and you have to learn. The pace of grace sometimes requires a pause.


It's what God calls a Sabbath. Now, I want you to look at the creation story with me just for a moment. In the Book of Genesis, the creation story unfolds in how many days? Six, six days of working. And what was what was the seventh day of rest? I said, with a moment of resting. So God worked for six days.


God arrested for one day, seven days. But on what day did God make man On the sixth day? What that means is that the first day man existed was God's seventh day, and the first day man was ever on Earth. He rested in God and observed all the things God had done before He even got there. So man is designed not to work and then rest, but to rest in God and seen everything that He's already done and then work from that perspective.


It changes everything because you realize God don't even need you, but he chooses to use you and that if He can do all of this without you, imagine what he's going to do when you finally yield yourself to him. So always get permission. Always, always get instructions, always listen for the sound from heaven. Those rustling moments in your heart, and always let God go first.

bottom of page