1 Samuel 30:1 David and his men reached Ziklag.
David had an army of six hundred men, and together with their families, they were living in Ziklag. One day, when David and his men returned, they found their town burned to the ground, and all the women and children taken captive. David’s soldiers were so distressed that all they could talk about was stoning David. This was not a good day.
After we come to faith, it is natural to think our lives will be an unbroken series of blessings.[W]hatever they do prospers (Psalm 1:3), wrote the Psalmist. And, God make[s] the way of the righteous smooth (Isaiah 26:7), wrote Isaiah. This is true, of course, but it is not the whole truth. We mustgo through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22), said Paul. And, In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33), said Jesus. God is pleased to smooth the way for us, but he also allows some hardship to help us grow in faith.
1 Samuel 30:4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.
It is hard to make grown men cry, especially those who have been hardened by battle. But the pain of losing their families, and all their possessions, was so great that all six hundred men wept aloud. Imagine six hundred men howling over the loss of everything precious to them. We do not know how long they wept, but they did not stop until they had no strength left to weep.
Weeping is discouraged in many cultures, but not in the Bible. Joseph wept (Genesis 45:14), David wept (2 Samuel 15:30), Job wept (Job 16:16), Jeremiah wept (Lamentations 2:11), Peter wept (Luke 22:62), Paul wept (Acts 20:31), and may others wept. In fact, the shortest verse in the Bible simply says, Jesus wept (John 11:35).
Life hurts sometimes, and reliable studies show that crying has many benefits such as removing toxins, reducing stress, elevating mood, and releasing negative feelings. [W]eeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5), wrote David.
1 Samuel 30:6 David found strength in the Lord his God.
After weeping his heart out, David turned to God and found new strength. Human strength comes to an end, but God has an endless supply. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak (Isaiah 40:29), wrote Isaiah.
But how did David find strength in God? The Bible does not say, but David probably considered the fact that God is mighty, and had helped him in the past. God knew where the women and children were, and he could help David rescue them. As David thought about this, his grief gave way to hope, his thoughts became clear, and his strength returned.
1 Samuel 30:8 David inquired of the Lord.
David inquired of God, and received the guidance he needed. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5), wrote James. We don’t have to navigate life alone. God will guide us, if we are willing to follow.
1 Samuel 30:11 They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David.
David and his army were on the march, searching for their enemies, and trusting God to lead them. They came across an Egyptian slave who was abandoned by his master because he was sick. It had been three days since he had anything to eat or drink, but as soon as he was nourished, he revived. He was with the Amalekites when they burned Ziklag, and he knew where they could be found. He agreed to lead David to the place, on the conditions that his life be spared, and he not be returned to his master.
Whenever we have a problem, God may have a strategic person to help us. Whenever someone else has a problem, we may be the strategic person to help them. Everyone needs help with their problems, and this is how God likes to uses us.
1 Samuel 30:16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah.
Energized by God, and the desire to save their families, David and his men fought the Amalekites until the following evening. They recovered all the women and children, plus a great amount of plunder to divide among themselves. A devastating event turned into something good.
We should never judge a tragedy when it occurs, because we do not know what good may come from it. The death of Jesus Christ was the worst day of the disciples’ lives, but three days later it became the best. David and his men thought this was the worst day of their lives too. But through faith in God, it also became one of the best. God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), wrote Paul.
Reflection and Review
Why does God allow bad things to happen to his people?
How does God guide his people today?
How can we find strength in God?