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In the beginning of David, we are told in the Bible God spoke to him directly many times... why, then, in later passages do we find Samuel and Nathan speaking God's words to David?  What happened during this time for God to stop speaking to David directly, and begin to use prophets?


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1 Samuel 23:1-2 says, “Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors.   Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.”  1 Samuel 23:3-4 says, “And David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?   Then David enquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.”
In some instances, it mentions “how” David was enquiring of the Lord.   1 Samuel 30:6-8 says, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.    And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.   And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.”
What would have been in the priest’s garment that helped David discern the will of God?  The Urim and Thummim were there.  Exodus 28:30-31 says, “And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.   And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.”  The Urim and Thummim were placed in the garment next to the priest’s heart.  No one seems to be able to describe now exactly how they looked, but it appears that God ordained them to be used in the fashion of “casting of lots.” 
In this situation, you could only ask one question at a time.   David asked two questions, at first, in 1 Samuel 23:9-11,  “And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod.   Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake.   Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down.”  Only one question was answered, so now David asks the other question in 1 Samuel 23:12,  “Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up.”
Even the apostles used the “casting of lots” to discern the will of God, at times.  Acts 1:15-26 says,  “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)   Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.   For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.   Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.   And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.   For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.    Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,   Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.   And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.   And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,   That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
God had spoken directly to Moses many times.  Numbers 12:6-8 says, “And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.   My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.   With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”  But with Joshua, it would be different.  Numbers 27:12-21 says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.   And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.   For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.   And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,   Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,   Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.   And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;   And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.   And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.   And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”  God would speak to Joshua through using the Urim (we assume this is short for Urim and Thummim). 
Back to the summary of your question, “Why does God use a variety of methods to teach us and answer our questions?”  Sometimes we get answers to our questions by our personal reading of the Bible.  Other times, God uses someone else (maybe a friend, maybe a family member, maybe a Sunday School teacher, or maybe a preacher in a message) to show us the answer from the Bible that we did not think of ourselves.  I guess one reason might be that it keeps us humble, and appreciative of those around us. 
God spoke directly to Paul many times, but, sometimes, He spoke to Paul through others.  Acts 21:3-4 says, “Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.   And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.”  Paul did not listen, but continued on to Jerusalem.   Acts 21:10-14 says, “And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.   And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.   And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.   Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.   And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.”  Paul did not listen, but continued on to Jerusalem.  Finally, the Lord speaks to him directly, and he argues with Him, too, and then it was too late.  Acts 22:17-21 says, “And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;   And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.   And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:   And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.   And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.”

God gave Paul three warnings about not being in Jerusalem.  First, from the disciples at Tyre.  Second, from the prophet Agabus.  Third, directly from Himself.  Because Paul would not listen, he spent over two years in jail in Caesarea.   Acts 24:27 says,  “But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.”  When Paul finally appeals his case to Caesar, he then travels as a prisoner to Rome, and spends two years there under house arrest.  Acts 28:16 says, “And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.”  Acts 28:30 says, “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him.”  Paul never stopped witnessing, but he was limited to those who would come to where he was held.
The bottom line is that our sinful flesh is so prone to pride, that it affects us, even after we are saved.  Our flesh does not want to be humble and listen to others and learn.  Our flesh wants everyone to listen to us.  Paul was so used to being used of God to teach others, that he was not teachable himself, when God so ordained to use others in his life.  Because of it, Paul would spend four years under arrest.  God still used Paul during that time, but that was not God’s perfect will for Paul.

I wonder what God’s perfect will for us is, and whether we are really humble enough to be listening to His Word—whether through our own reading and study, or whether through the ministry of others in our lives?



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