GOD’S ANOINTED: Coming to his senses.

David in battle

1 Samuel 30

It is never easy to praise God when our world is falling apart.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote:

Is God less God, that thou are left undone?
Rise, worship, bless Him in this sackcloth spun,
As in the purple.

Indeed, the circumstances we may find ourselves in, whether they be good or bad, should never dictate whether we should praise God or not.  The time to praise God is all the time!  Judging by how the average Christian behaves, though, we can only assume that God has a lot of “fair-weather friends” these days.  That is real shame because God never bails out on us; and there is real value is pausing in the midst of your trial to praise Him.  Not only does it serve to take your eyes off of yourself and on God where they belong, but it affords God the opportunity through the ministry of His Holy Spirit to work in you.

There is also a tremendous blessing when we learn the discipline of praise while wearing sackcloth, and it is a discipline because praising God in the bad times is not natural nor is it easy and God will honor you if you put forth the effort.

David’s uneasy alliance with the Philistines kept his safe from Saul, but it brought him a load of misery, as all unholy alliances are sure to do.

1.  A crushing disappointment, 30:3—5

When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.  So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.  David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.

David’s return to Ziklag, where he and his men had been living in exile, was timely and tragic.  While his men were marching north with Achish, the Amalekites from the south had invaded the area, captured and burned Ziklag, and had taken the women and children captives, destined for a fate worth than death.  No one could have guessed that the Amalekites would have acted so boldly.

David, while seeking to help the ungodly lost all he had.  Such is always the case when the child of God abandons the cause of the righteous for another.  In attempting to do a favor for a person he had no business even being associated with, David, as it were, left his home unguarded and wide open.

Yet in the midst of such a tragedy, we can see a glimmer of hope.  Notice the phrase, “so David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.”   This terrible event had the effect of a slingshot on David and his men, snapping them back to reality.  This is often the case in our own lives, if we would care to view negative events as God does.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:27—28)

God alone knows what it will take to get the Prodigal’s attention and return him to Himself.   Yes, God will even use our enemies to waken us to our true state.

2.  Return to faith, 30:6—8

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.  Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”

Can you just imagine the scene that day?  Wives, sons, daughters, homes, cattle; all gone; everything David and his men held dear was taken away while they were busy living a lie.  David was upset, curiously, not so much by the loss of his family but by the fact that his men were turning on him.  Of course, he was sad at the loss of his family, but it was the betrayal of his men that roused him to action.  David’s heart is revealed here, which explains why, years later, he will have so much trouble with his sons and daughters.  David was definitely “God’s anointed,” but he wasn’t much of a father.

However, God used this event to force David to come to himself, and for the first time in a long time, David turned back to the Lord, much as a person might do to a friend in the time of need.  Here is a remarkable quality in David that we will see time and again.  He was very much a passionate human being, and his passions frequently got him into trouble, but when brought face-to-face with his sins, David cried out to God.   We also learn something about God, for all the time David was cavorting with the avowed enemies of God, God never left David, and when David finally came to his senses, the Holy Spirit was, once again, on the throne in his heart.

We are told that “David found strength in the Lord.”  Yet that kind of strength is found only when a person submits to God.  Psalm 56:3—4 expresses a marvelous thought—

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

It’s too bad David hadn’t thought of that sooner, it may have spared both himself and his men unimaginable pain.  How much pain do we submit ourselves to because we stubbornly refuse to submit to God instead?  David seemed to have learned his lesson, at least for the moment.

3.  An encouraging word, 30:8

David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”

Isn’t amazing how a word from the Lord can calm even the most upset heart?  Nothing changed for David; his circumstances were still awful, yet when God spoke to him it was like he was set on fire from the inside and his troubled heart found peace.

It is never too late to turn to God for help.  Even when we are in a terrible predicament of our own making, if we call out to God in earnestness, He will answer, as He answered David.

4.  An ordained coincidence, 30:11, 16

They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat—He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah.

David had God’s promise that everything taken from him would be recovered.  But how was that going to happen?  Where had the Amalekite raiding party taken the people?  They had no clues.  They had no guide.   Don’t you hate it when all seems hopeless?  God loves hopeless situations! He works best when we can’t work at all.  Paul the Apostle, no stranger to rough times, wrote this—

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

How could he say that?  Was he speaking through his hat?  Quite the opposite; Paul was speaking from his experience.  He had noticed something we all need to take heed of:  When all seems lost or hopeless, the Spirit of God comes in like a flood and shows us a way out!   David experienced this when, by “coincidence,” he came across one of the very Amalekite raiders who had taken his family and possessions away.   Naturally, this was no “coincidence,” it was a divinely appointed way to fulfill a God-given promise.   In fact, God can use any means to accomplish His will, even a weak and sickly slave of an Amalekite.

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  (1 Corinthians 1:28)

Here also is a small lesson about the character of David, who, though he had many weaknesses, still exhibited a very God-like character.  He spared this slave’s life, fed him and gave him water to drink.  Jesus Christ was not so far above us that couldn’t reach down to rescue us, weak and sickly slaves to sin, to use us to accomplish His will.

5.  A stunning victory, 30:16—20

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives.  Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.  (verses 18, 19)

This was quite an accomplishment!  Not a thing was lost, either when they were taken way or during the battle to retrieve them; there was no collateral damage!   When God makes a promise, He surely keeps it.

Our Anointed One, Jesus Christ, embarked on a similar mission.  He left His Father and the glories of Heaven to come to earth to recover all that had been lost to Adam’s sin.   This is what He prayed—

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”  (John 6:38—40)

6.  Sharing the victory, 30:26

When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the LORD’s enemies.”

The word translated “gift” really means “blessing.”  David, the man who saved all turns around and offers a blessing to his friends in Judah.   In fact, he did much more than that.  Not everybody could fight and David understood this.  To those who were unable to fight, David promised this—

The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.  (verse 24)

Our Heavenly David who redeemed us, the “lost inheritance,” has given us multiplied blessings that we neither deserved nor earned.  It is His right to do so!

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.  (Ephesians 1:7, 8a)

Our Savior, who accomplished so much has also been given an inheritance by His Father, which He graciously shares with those who have faith.  The prophet Isaiah wrote these interesting words—

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong.  (Isaiah 53:12)

Jesus won a great victory for mankind, and out of the abundance of the grace of His heart, mankind has a share in that victory!

You don’t have to  be great, or strong, you just have to be like David:  humble enough to admit your mistakes and wise enough to trust in God to set things right.  To such, Hebrews 2:16 finds application—

For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.

(c)  2009 WitzEnd

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