1 Samuel 30
-On the third day after his departure from Achish, David returned to an awful sight in Ziklag where his family and all his men’s families were staying. The notorious Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, overthrowing them and burning their home-town with fire. They had taken captive the women and all who were in Ziklag, both small and great. Thankfully though, they had killed no one in this raid. But, they were carried away as the Amalekites’ property. When David and his men came to the city and realized what had happened, all they could initially do was lift their voices in anguish, weeping until there was no strength left in them to cry any more. Among the captives were David’s two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. Not only this, but David became greatly distressed because his own men began talk of stoning him. All the people were embittered. It was understandable when they thought that they had lost everything including their families. It was a low point in the life of this future king, a point of testing. But, David did something incredible, which is an inspiration to us all. The text says he “strengthened himself in the LORD his God (1 Samuel 30:1-6).”
-Next, in a display of wisdom he inquired of Abiathar the priest to bring him the ephod. Abiathar obliged so that David could inquire of the LORD on this matter. He asked God if he should pursue this raiding band of evil men and overtake them. God told him plainly to go and that he would overtake them. Further, God promised that all the captives would be rescued safely. Therefore, David took off with his 600 men. They came to the brook Besor. At that place, 200 of his men were too exhausted to cross the brook, and they remained behind as David and the 400 stronger men continued their pursuit. Providentially, they found an Egyptian in the field. He was brought to David and was given bread and water. His spirit revived when he partook of a piece of fig cake and a cluster of raisins. He had been without food or water for three days, so he was more than likely near death when they found this informer. After inquiring as to who he was and where he was from, David’s party found out that he was a servant of an Amalekite who was left behind three days ago sick along the way. He told them of the raids on the Negev of the Cherethites, and on that which belonged to Judah, and on that Negev that belonged to Caleb. Then he told them of burning Ziklag with fire. Upon hearing this, David wanted to know if he could bring him and his men down to find this band of marauders. After being asked to swear to God on this Egyptian’s safety from his masters or David’s men, he agreed to bring them down to their enemies’ camp. When David and his men found them, they were spread out all over the land, eating and drinking and dancing because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the Philistines and Judah. David wasted no time. He and his men slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day, and none of them escaped except for 400 who fled riding off on camels. So David, with the strong help of the LORD, recovered ALL that the Amalekites had taken. His two wives were rescued, and nothing was missing, small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves including sheep and cattle. David brought it ALL back as his own spoil (1 Samuel 30:7-20)!
-Upon their return, David and his congregation came upon the 200 men at the brook Besor. They went out to meet David and all those with him and greeted them warmly. But some wicked and worthless men in David’s warrior clan spoke up and did not want any of these who had been left behind to have any of the spoil that they had gained except for their wives and children. They were acting greedily and wanted them to depart from the clan. But David had other ideas. He stated, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike (1 Samuel 30:21-24).” This ordinance and statute remained as a standard in Israel from that day forward (1 Samuel 30:25). In fact, David showed great generosity with gifts to all those in the region where he and his men were accustomed to going in their days of being fugitives from King Saul (1 Samuel 30:26-31).
-*Application* Leadership has many faces and seasons as we can see here in the text today. Sometimes our low points can radically change to incredible times of blessing when we strengthen ourselves in the LORD, even when no one seems to be on our side. Keep inquiring of the LORD, be patient with people who are fallen and need guidance. Be a person of integrity. Be valiant. Be generous and not greedy. Continue to trust God in the difficult times. This is who David was, and who we can be as well.
Verse to Memorize: 1 Samuel 30:6