Morning Light – June 8th, 2015
MLx250Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Thirty]: Encouraging Yourself in the Lord. In this chapter David returns to Ziklag and find the city burned with fire and all their wives and children taken in battle. David and his men weep until there is no more power to weep. There is talk of stoning David – but he chooses to encourage himself in the Lord and to inquire of the Lord for answers. As a result all the wives and children are recovered and a great victory is won.

[1Sa 30:1-31 KJV] 1 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 2 And had taken the women captives, that [were] therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried [them] away, and went on their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, [it was] burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4 Then David and the people that [were] with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6 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.

In the previous chapter Achish king of the Philistines sends David back to Ziklag because the other 5 lords of the Philistines don’t trust him. Upon returning David and his men come upon a horrific scene. The city is burnt with fire and all the wives and children have been taken by the Amalekites. This is a terrible thing because the whole time David was at Ziklag he had been harassing the Amalekites, burning their cities and killing every man, woman and child. They realize however that there are no bodies among the ruins of the city. That had to be a shock and completely unexpected because they themselves had been so brutal to the very enemy who had assaulted the city. It had to be a “God thing” because the Amalekites, many who had lost loved ones at the hand of David could scarcely have retrained themselves from taking retribution on the defenseless city of Ziklag. For David and his men they didn’t see this as the hand of God moving their enemy to spare their loved ones. If they had paused and looked deeper into the situation they would have known that something positive would come out of this because it was an absolute miracle that their loved ones were not slaughtered. Instead the fact that they couldn’t find any bodies disturbed them greatly to the point that the people were ready to kill David.

It wasn’t an easy thing to be in David’s camp. They were living in enemy territory, feigning loyalty to a sworn enemy, on the run from king Saul and facing death and battle every single day. The men of David had come to the end of their rope and had enough. It is one thing to stand by a leader when everything is going well but quite another when there are set backs, particularly major set backs such as the scene at Ziklag. We need to learn to fellowship one another’s liabilities as well as our assets. Relationships are never truly proven until it costs you something dear to be in relationship with those that God has placed in your life.

In all of this David is not holding up well. His own wives are taken as well. He might have hope of recovering some of the wives of his men but there is little hope that he will ever see Abigail and Ahinoam again. He is greatly distressed. The Hebrew word here means to be “bound and besieged”. He has cried until there was no more power in him to weep. He is shattered inwardly and looking around him he sees the men he hazarded his life for gathering stones to stone him.

Here in this horrible moment of total devastation David demonstrates why he is a man after God’s own heart. He encourages himself in the Lord. This word encouraged means that David “seized upon” the Lord. The others around him were bitter, angry, even murderous but David lays hold on God in this awful moment. There were many Psalms that David wrote during this time including Psalms 56 which we will include here to show just how David would run to God in times of great difficulty. We would all benefit from following David’s example:

[Psa 56:1-13 KJV] 1 Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. 2 Mine enemies would daily swallow [me] up: for [they be] many that fight against me, O thou most High. 3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. 5 Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts [are] against me for evil. 6 They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. 7 Shall they escape by iniquity? in [thine] anger cast down the people, O God. 8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: [are they] not in thy book? 9 When I cry [unto thee], then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God [is] for me. 10 In God will I praise [his] word: in the LORD will I praise [his] word. 11 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. 12 Thy vows [are] upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. 13 For thou hast delivered my soul from death: [wilt] not [thou deliver] my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

7 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. 8 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]. 9 So David went, he and the six hundred men that [were] with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor. 11 And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; 12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk [any] water, three days and three nights. 13 And David said unto him, To whom [belongest] thou? and whence [art] thou? And he said, I [am] a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. 14 We made an invasion [upon] the south of the Cherethites, and upon [the coast] which [belongeth] to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire. 15 And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company. 16 And when he had brought him down, behold, [they were] spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 17 And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.

Another important characteristic of David is not reacting to the situation. He actually inquires of God before consenting to do what no doubt all of the men around him wanted him to do. He called the high priest and inquires of the Urim and the Thummim as to whether or not they should pursue and attempt to recover their families from the Amalekites. He could have inquired of the prophet Gad who travelled with him. He could have tried to reason with the men and find out how they wanted to proceed. Instead he inquires of the Lord and the Lord apparently answers two questions: 1.) Do we pursue; and 2.) will there be any loss of life? Remember that the Urim was a sacred lot kept in a pouch in the ephod of the high priest. It only gave a yes or no answer. It would be equivalent today to letting the bible open to a random verse and expecting to find an answer to a question. Notice that the Urim were kept in the breast of the ephod. You are a priest unto God as well. When you are faced with difficult situations God wants you to be able to reach inside your own heart and come up with reliable answers for your life. This is God’s first choice before hearing from a trusted counselor or a prophet. The answers you get for yourself are more reliable than what others say many times because YOU are the one that will have to LIVE with your choices. Be cautious about abdicating your decision making to someone who doesn’t have to face the consequences of your choices.

18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 19 And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any [thing] that they had taken to them: David recovered all. 20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, [which] they drave before those [other] cattle, and said, This [is] David’s spoil. 21 And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that [were] with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them. 22 Then answered all the wicked men and [men] of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them [ought] of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead [them] away, and depart. 23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part [is] that goeth down to the battle, so [shall] his part [be] that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. 25 And it was [so] from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day. 26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, [even] to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD; 27 To [them] which [were] in Bethel, and to [them] which [were] in south Ramoth, and to [them] which [were] in Jattir, 28 And to [them] which [were] in Aroer, and to [them] which [were] in Siphmoth, and to [them] which [were] in Eshtemoa, 29 And to [them] which [were] in Rachal, and to [them] which [were] in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to [them] which [were] in the cities of the Kenites, 30 And to [them] which [were] in Hormah, and to [them] which [were] in Chorashan, and to [them] which [were] in Athach, 31 And to [them] which [were] in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.

When David and his men pursued the Amalekites they were initially 600 men. When they came to the brook Besor there were 200 of the army that just couldn’t go on. They were physically exhausted and emotionally spent. David didn’t recriminate them. He left them behind with the stuff and went on with only 400 to recover their families and all of the spoil that the Amalekites had brought out from the land of the Philistines. When they returned to Ziklag many of the 400 who went into battle didn’t want to share with those who stayed behind. Again we see the character of David as a great departure from what might be expected. He will not allow the 200 men to be disenfranchised. In essence he was willing to have fought the battle and risked his life for these faint and desperate men who just couldn’t go on and had to be left behind. As such he is a type of Christ. You and I are faint and desperate many times. There are times that we can’t go on. Some may look at us and tell us we have no faith and that we deserve our fate. Not so with our Lord Jesus. He went down into hell and fought the battle FOR US and came out willingly to share with us the spoils of His conquest. This is the very heart of Jesus and it is reflected in the merciful attitude of David after this battle.

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