SOAP: 1 Samuel 29:1 – 30:15
And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6 ESV)
David and his men had been put through the ringer. Living at the behest of King Achish of Gath in the city of Ziklag, David was expected to join his liege in the Philistine attack on Israel. David had been living a lie, raiding the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites but telling Achish he’d been raiding Judean towns. In reality he was protecting these towns he was supposedly raiding. I’m sure as he and his men joined Achish to attach Israel he was praying for God to intervene. And God did. While Achish was completely fooled by David, the other Philistine kings were not happy about having the Hero of Israel, David who had slain his ten thousands, at their rear. They compelled Achish to send David back. David argued to keep up appearances, but “reluctantly” returned home.
One can imagine the great sense of relief which must have washed over David and his men on being sent back and not having to fight with the Philistines against their own people. One can almost hear the joy and elation, the sounds of praise and cheer which must have accompanied these men on their journey home. And then it was suddenly dashed. Joy was turned to mourning. Good feelings gone.
Upon returning to Ziklag they discovered that it had been sacked by the Amalekites. Their property had been stolen, their families taken captive.
And the people blamed David. In their distress they were ready to stone their lord, the Hero of Israel.
Scripture records that David was “greatly distressed”. Well who wouldn’t be. He’s been bankrupted. All he owns has been stolen. His very family has been enslaved. Then to add insult to injury, his people blame him and want to kill him.
David’s response is interesting. “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” When his world had fallen apart and all was lost, David turned to God. He felt distress, or great distress as scripture says, but he was not controlled or defined by his circumstances. As Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:12b, “… I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”
Our strength fails, but God never does. We grow weary, but God is never tired. We become discouraged, but God is Sovereign. Again we are promised in scripture that “…for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV). Not that all things are good or pleasant or easy, but that for those who love God (notice the qualifier) and are called according to his purpose, they will work out for our good, and I dare add, for His glory.
Focus. In Matthew 14 Peter walks on water. As long as his gaze, his focus, was on Christ he was able to do the impossible. The storm still raged but it affected not his ability to stand on aqua liquida as if it were terra firma. Until…he took his eyes off of Christ and focused instead on the storm.
The storms in my life are great and cover all major areas of my life: my relationship with God, my family, my ministry, my employment, my health. There is no area untouched by the storm at present. Where will I look?
Salvation from even these light momentary afflictions (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) comes only from God via His Son, Jesus Christ.
I lift my eyes up to the hills just outside my window. Does my help come from there? No. Not from the high places. Not from nature. Not from man.
My help comes from You, Oh my LORD, who made heaven and earth. Sovereign God, without variation or shifting shadow, from whom every good and perfect gift comes.
I am the desperate father crying out “I believe, help thou my unbelief!” I am undone. Pick me up and carry me through, oh my redeemer and provider.