In 1 Samuel 30, a guy named David experiences one of the worst days imaginable.
David has been “on the run” from King Saul for approximately ten years — depending on whose timeline you use. He was a guy who had been PROMISED the PALACE. He was a guy who had the WORLD by the TAIL. He was the dude who had been voted “most likely to succeed” in his graduating class.
David was the guy who took down GOLIATH. He was the guy who had become BEST FRIENDS with King Saul’s son. He was the guy who had ended up MARRYING the king’s daughter. He knew what it was to have wealth, power, beauty, fame, friends, security and what he thought was a guaranteed FUTURE, none of which was his idea but God’s idea!
But all of that had been stripped away from him. SAUL, the first king of Israel, had become insanely JEALOUS of David and actually put out a bounty on David’s life. So, for the last TEN YEARS or so, David has been RUNNING for his life.
A little COMMUNITY of about 600 MEN joined David. Together, David and this group of men have taken a town called Ziklag, which was a little town in Philistine country that had been given to David by a Philistine king, and this group has basically put together a little REFUGEE COMMUNITY and that’s become HOME.
Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziklag; they had crushed Ziklag and burned it to the ground.
The Amalekites were a group of power hungry, morally bankrupt, violent people who were unrelenting in their brutality. They terrorized Israel, Egypt and other neighboring countries. We’re talking murder, genocide and barbaric violence. They brutalized and tortured anyone they took captive by cracking open their heads, smashing their teeth and gouging out their eyes. They were so brutal that according to one Jewish historian, one of their nicknames became, “…the ANGELS / SHEPHERDS of DESTRUCTION.” Think of hardcore “HELL’S ANGELS.” We’re talking violence on a level with HAMAS or ISIS.
In 1 Samuel 30, the Amalekites attack, crush and destroy Ziklag, the refuge David and his men have come to know and cherish. They return to find the only home that had completely destroyed.
They (the Amalekites) had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone. When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, they wept until they could weep no more. – 1 Samuel 30:2-4
That’s bad. But things are about to get even worse, especially for David. Check out Verse 5.
David’s two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, were among those captured. (v. 5)
In other words, this loss was PERSONAL. David has lost EVERYTHING. The little “home” and “community” that he, his wives and this group of men have built from scratch has been devastated and destroyed. It’s gone.
David’s wives are missing. The wives and children of all 600 men are gone. There’s nothing left but smoke and ashes and all this group of warriors can do is WEEP.
David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. (v. 6)
This is a leader’s NIGHTMARE! David has lost EVERYTHING. But on top of that, now, this rag tag BAND OF BROTHERS that he’s built from scratch — a group of 600 warriors — are ready to STONE HIM.
So, think about this… In this single passage, David experiences a “SPIRITUAL” ATTACK and assault leveled by the Amalekites. That’s an attack from the EVIL ONE. Remember, the evil one comes to steal, kill and destroy.
Now, he experiences a “Galatians 5” type attack — an attack generated by a group of “Christians,” who for a brief moment when they experience a setback, get out of the “Spirit” and start walking in “the flesh”.
Have you experienced that? It’s one thing to fight the evil one. You expect it. But it’s another thing when a brother in Christ says things, does things, backs out of commitments or begins to talk about you.
You can almost hear the murmuring…
“What a stupid leadership decision! Why did David take us on a three-day journey away from our home? If only I were in charge things would be so different!”
That’s the way BLAME works. It’s so “human” to assign blame, to find fault, to level accusations and to blame our personal loss on someone else.
It’s PAINFUL and it’s DEVASTATING!
It’s on the heels of all this LOSS that we read one of the GREATEST STATEMENTS in the entire Bible. Check out the last few words in Verse 6:
But David found strength in the LORD his God.
BUT DAVID FOUND STRENGTH IN THE LORD HIS GOD.
I love how the KJV translates this verse:
…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. —1 Samuel 30:6 KJV
Instead of REACTING to the ENEMY or REACTING to his friends, He determines that He is going to RESPOND TO THE FATHER!
I love that! It’s one thing to be encouraged by other people. It’s one thing to be able to go to church and worship and walk away encouraged. It’s one thing to read a book or listen to a CD or a playlist. But it’s another thing, when you’re sitting in the SMOKE and ASHES of DREAMS and RELATIONSHIPS that have CRASHED and BURNED, to be able to ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORD.
Out of the ashes of David’s loss, discouragement and disappointment, a SONG begins to rise to God. As David reminded himself of WHO God is, WHAT God had done and what God had PROMISED; all of a sudden GOD began to REMIND David of His IDENTITY!
AS DAVID REMINDED HIMSELF WHO GOD IS… GOD BEGAN TO REMIND DAVID OF HIS IDENTITY!
David was a dearly loved son of God. GOD reminded David WHAT He had accomplished through David — a giant brought down, God’s people released — and, God reminded David of what He was going to do! This is what happens when we worship!
So, regardless of what you’re going through, instead of REACTING to the ENEMY, determine that YOU ARE going to RESPOND TO THE FATHER!