1 Samuel 30 tells us that David and his men returned to Ziklag to find it burned down. All their wives and children had been taken captive. They were distraught and begin to weep and cry out to God until they were exhausted (been there, done that!). To make matters worse, David’s men became bitter to the point of wanting to stone him. But then, (v.6 msg) “David strengthen himself with trust in his God.” He began to pray and the answer came, (v. 8b) “Go after them! Yes, you’ll catch them! Yes, you’ll make the rescue!” David obeyed!
Along the way, they met an Egyptian slave who had been left by his master. The one who raided David’s camp. After the master used the slave to get what he wanted, he left him sick and probably near death. But God had a plan for the Egyptian slave as well. David’s men gave him food and drink. After learning who the slave belonged to, David asked him to lead him to the raiders. They arrived, finding the Amalekites eating and gorging on all that they’d stolen. They were just living it up off stolen merchandise…SMH! See, folks didn’t just get “ratchet” and foul in the 21st century, they’ve been around since biblical days.
“David pounced.” (v.17) (pounce-to make a sudden assault or approach). Real talk, I love this part! I am not violent but sometimes people will try you, especially when you are a Christian, but you have to show them that you are not a punk. And for those who want to throw “Jesus is love” in our faces, indeed He is, but name one instance in the bible where He acted cowardly. I’ll wait!
David fought them for two days until he’d recovered all that was stolen from his people. “Nothing and no one was missing…” NOTHING and NO ONE! God’s faithfulness! Let that marinate! They handled their business and were out of there. When David and his crew started back, they came across the men who were tired and didn’t complete the trip. When David saw them, he yelled, “SUCCESS!”
I’d say that he wanted them to join in the celebration of their victory. But because they didn’t help in the rescue, the “mean-spirited men” didn’t want them to have any of the plunder; only return to them their wives and children. But we know David to be a man after God’s heart (the reason he’s one of my favorites). He knew that none of it was theirs to keep. “Families don’t do this sort of thing! Oh no, my brothers!” (v.23) My heart longs for the day that all of God’s children get and begin to live out the truth that none of this stuff belongs to us. “You can’t act this way with what God gives us!” Now, let that sink in as well. He knew that God had kept them safe. He had already prepared the way for them to recover ALL.
God is about sharing. On that day, David made a rule in Israel, “Share and share alike—and it still is.” When he returned to Ziklag, David sent portions of the plunder to the elders and his neighbors, letting them know that it was a gift from God’s enemies.
There are a few good take-a-ways in this chapter. I like to call them “FAITH BUILDERS.” If you are a believer in Christ and find yourself in a situation that brings you to your knees, in tears and despair, cry if you must, but don’t stay there! Pull yourself together by remembering Who you belong to and the promises that He has made. Even when those closest to you want to stone and burn you at the stake, if you are unable to open your mouth and utter a word, let your spirit cry out to God in prayer. According to 1 John 5:14-15 we can become BOLD in His presence. He has given us His permission!
I bet it’s safe to say that David didn’t give the mood of his men a second thought. He just knew that there was a fight to be had and that God had the answers. Not only did you pray but he prayed a specific and detailed prayer. “Then David prayed to God, Shall I go after these raiders? Can I catch them?” God answered immediately. “…Go after them! Yes, you’ll catch them! Yes, you’ll make the rescue!” Now, our answers may not return as specific as this but don’t let that deter you from being specific in your requests. I am crazy enough to believe that God can and will lay it out for me, just as plain as He did for David.
Next lesson, David obeyed God, immediately! Delayed obedience is disobedience, I’m just sayin’. Humans are so spoiled. We pray and want an answer right away but we are often slow to act on the answer–whatever the timeline. Please keep in mind, answers don’t always come immediately, as in this situation, but they will come. Pay attention and in due time, in one form or another, His answers will come.
David and his men set out for the Amalekites and ran right into a provision, the help they needed for a successful recovery. They had no idea that a slave of their enemy was in their path. I’m sure they didn’t think about anything except doing what God had told them to do, GO! We don’t always need to know the details. God has everything worked out and whatever we need to know, will be revealed to us in due time. Many people, even Christians, believe that this way of thinking is extreme and often irresponsible, but as a good friend of mine often says, “God is either ALL powerful or not powerful at all!” So with that revelation, I’ve learned to stop trying to figure Him out and just go with the truth, He is God! Something our human minds will never be able to fully comprehend.
The provision led them straight to the enemies’ camp. Just having a feast! Yeah, you talk about getting someone in fighting mode. Nothing like having permission from God to participate in a good beat down of the enemy. Brings to mind all the things the enemy has tried to steal from me. I spent more time brooding and being angry than I should have; I had to learn how to fight God’s way.
Sometimes He gives us permission to fight outwardly (maybe not physically like David and his crew did, unless your life is in danger). But more often than not, He directs us to fight in the spirit (prayer, fasting, obedience, yes these are all spiritual fighting tools). Living this has been one of my greatest struggles. I use to think it was my job to get people back, tell them off, prove them wrong, etc. Now I mind my own business and meditate on one of my favorite scriptures, Exodus 14:14. Tremendous FREEDOM has been gained!
David got what he came for and left. He then went back and shared the success with those who were too tired to complete the journey. When God gives you instructions you have to complete the mission. As He did for David, He has already paved the way for you and me. And then there’s the sharing part. Yes, I know we don’t always want to help those who don’t help us or don’t seem to help themselves for that matter. But as David reminds us, “Families don’t do this sort of thing!” The one’s who stayed behind looked after the gear, they did their part. No matter what the disgruntled group thought, that was a part of God’s plan as well. It was equal share. Now, I don’t recommend just giving things away to those who are lazy and make mooching a full-time job; I do recommend, as in all things, remaining prayerful and Spirit-led. And sometimes you may find yourself sharing with those kinds of people anyway. Consider Psalms 24:1; you’ll always have what you need and then some.
Even though David and his men were initially heartbroken by what they saw upon returning home, David knew enough about God to instantly turn to prayer. He prayed believing that God would answer. Not only did he have faith but he immediately acted on that faith by obeying what the Lord had instructed him to do. Because of this, David and his men were victorious in reclaiming all that the Amalekites had stolen.