Archive for March 12th, 2008

Return to the Lord

This is a turn-around-chapter for David (1 Samuel 30). For 16 months he’s been mercilessly raiding other villages, being sure to leave no survivors behind in order to cover his sin (compare David’s tactics with the Amalekites “merciful” kidnappings!); and even arrived to the point where he was ready to battle against God’s people of whom he was to be king!

And remember how he got himself into this whole mess? David said in his heart lies, old tapes, discouragements, etc. But in this chapter, after much orchestrating and corralling by the Lord, David returns to the Lord in his thinking.
David strengthened himself in the Lord!
Our heart is the battlefield for the soul!

When the Bible reads “Now it happened…” I take great comfort knowing that the Amalekites invasion didn’t “just happen.” God had a purpose for orchestrating this whole thing in David’s life. Yes! Even though it affected 600 men and their families!

So it was “All had been lost.” At this point, David has nothing more to support him. No one in Israel can help him. The Philistines don’t want him. His family is gone; all he has owned is gone.

But at least he has his friends, right? Not really; the people spoke of stoning him. Every support is gone, except the Lord. That is a good place to be in, not a bad place.

So after God has painted him into a corner, David reaches out to the character of God. David went to Him for comfort when everything and everyone was against him.

He knew there was no one to turn to for strength in such an overwhelming crisis except the Lord…and he had confidence that the Lord would be merciful even after 1-1/2 years of doing his own rebellious way!

Yes, even backslidden David, wayward David, “fight-with-the-Philistines” David can reach the ear and heart of the Lord! Why would God strengthen him? Because God is rich in mercy and grace. David was completely broken, bringing absolutely nothing but filthy, empty hands to God.

It is not the sinlessness of our hearts that causes God to bend His ear. Sometimes we think we have to achieve God’s blessing or strength, but David shows us another way…and how much more does the Son of David offer us a freer way!

David is given assurance from the Lord that he shall have the victory over the Amalekites. But even after being given the God-backed-guarenteed win, 1/3 of David’s men (200) were still too emotionally drained and physically exhausted from their 3-day (75 miles) march to Ziklag.

This might have been tremendously discouraging to David. As he pursues a significantly larger Amalekite army, he finds that one-third of his men can’t continue.

But David doesn’t let this trial stop him. His faith is being revived by the mercy of God and he continues on his battle to reclaim lost treasures!

After leaving behind 200 fighting men, he marches toward the Amalekites with a strong resolve to secure what had been lost. But then they come across a man collapsed in the wilderness.

It would have been easy, and perhaps logical, to ignore this man because they had a “much greater” mission in pursing the Amalekites. But David and his men show unexpected kindness to this man,
and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water.
A revival seems to be occuring in the heart of David!

The Egyptian man is able to lead David to the Amalekites (just like God to give him a pat on the back for meeting this one man’s needs!). After assessing the situation, David clearly sees that the best strategy is to attack when all of the enemy are suffering hang overs from the victory celebration!

Everything that the enemy had taken, David took back. God gave him a complete victory. God gave David even more than what was promised. He received spoil from the battle, beyond what had been taken from Ziklag. This was blessing straight from the grace of God.

(Now, in the great battle of Christ on our behalf, He has not only given us back what we lost, but He has given us what Adam in his perfection never had. The Lord’s restoration always exceeds our losses!)

After the great victory, the 400 fighting men returned to the other 200 weary men who stayed by the stuff. The worthless men looked at the spoil and said, We fought for this spoil and it is ours.”

David looked at the spoil and said, “Look at what the Lord has given us.” When we look at it that way, how could we not share? When the Lord had given David such a great victory, he really saw it as the Lord’s victory more than his own.

In response to this spat, David declares an important principle:
the supply lines are just as vital as the soldiers are and God will compensate both “soldiers” and “supporters” properly.

The closing verses are David doing his Steps 8 & 9…he’s making amends to his family and friends who were affected by his defection to the Philistines. He knows he must do whatever he can to put things right again, so he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah.

While 1 Samuel 27:1 shows us how David could fall so far short, this chapter outlines for us his journey back to the arms of God and into His will:

  • David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
  • David inquired of the Lord.
  • David believed God’s promise.
  • David did what God told him to do.
  • David showed unexpected care and kindness to others.
  • David saw it as the Lord’s victory.
  • David shared the reward with others.
  • David did what he could to mend relationships.

Merciful Restorer, teach me to encourage myself in You, to strengthen myself in You, even when my scaffolding all around me collapses. Keep the thoughts and intents of my heart solely captivated by You and Your beauties.

Another quote from Charles Spurgeon (just be thankful I don’t include nearly as much as I would otherwise from him!)

“May you see your self-righteousness burned like Ziklag, and all your carnal hopes carried away captive, and may you then encourage yourselves in Christ, for He will recover all for you, and give you spoil besides, and there shall be joy and rejoicing.” (Spurgeon)