1 Samuel 30:1-8
David’s Conflict with the Amalekites
30 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, 2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David.
8 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?”
And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
Losses come in two forms: the first is through attrition and time, when we lose our ancestors, and the loss is felt more keenly the more we know and love them. This is why great-grandparents hold such esteem among us, and is considered a title and age to be honored by their descendants.
The second is through the nature of man: greed and the love of money, jealousy, hatred, and we don’t understand why, if we’re good people our Lord will not always shield us from such.
But Jesus tells us the world hates us because it hated Him first, and it hates Him because He testifies that its work are evil.
Yet the plan of the Father is redemption, and so was here with David, and so it shall be with us. The one thing that was consistent with David was that whenever he was victorious, he sought the Lord first. Coming home to find all you’ve loved, worked and fought for taken from you by an enemy is a crushing thing, and David, flaws and all, was as human as the lowliest soldier in his army.
David returns home after being rejected by the Philistines to find the city burned and everything stolen. He weeps with his people, and when that’s over, his people talk of killing him because he led the men from home and they weren’t there to protect their own.
He was the king, and he’d left their gates open to the enemy. Like true thieves, the Amalekites came when no strong man was there, they captured the weak, and took what belonged to the king and his people.
This was an indictment against David, who had a reputation of being strong and might, feared, and a brilliant strategist. If ever there was a moment for a man to despair, this was it, but David knew where his help came from.
v6 But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Do we believe God is control of our circumstances, even if we suffer loss? Do we believe he reins in what Satan is allowed to do to us? Consider, this is the only time we’re told that there was a raid with no slaughter, just thievery. Everyone they lost was still alive. Who kept them all safe, that David would recover all?
How odd that an Egyptian would fall sick and be left behind, and in the countryside, just happens to come across the king looking for the men who attacked his home, and this man just so happens to know where the troops are…
When we seek G-d first for answers, He honors our faith.
When we are told to pursue, we get what He’s set aside for us to have; it has been preserved for us, but we must take action. G-d did not put a change of heart in the Amalekites to suddenly come back with everyone and drop them off. David still had to go, though he was sad, tired, and angry.
When we too are done shaking our fist, grinding our teeth, and rending our garments in times and moments we don’t understand, surrounded by people who are out to destroy us from within and without, we must still go.
And the Father promises, we shall surely recover all, with increase for our faith. David took back what belonged to Him, and the Amalekites. Moses led the Hebrews out with increase after all those years of slavery.
Nothing will ever be missing, or dead, when we recover all.
Therefore I pray:
Father in Heaven, if I am to pursue according to Your word, give me the strength to pursue. As your servant David said, ‘I am poor and needy,’ and I am of little faith.
You are the G-d of eternity who redeems our times when we’ve gone astray, and You keep and preserve all that You have for us until we are found ready to receive, or worthy of the prize.
When my works are tested, I will weep at the loss of reward for I know that among them is stubble, good for nothing, and times of fruitlessness where I was cursed. I know that I have not only grieved Your Spirit, but I’ve broken the heart of the Son, and made You turn Your eyes, for You cannot look on sin.
Yet You see the end of my days, and my future is a memory to You. So I ask that You walk with me as I pursue, and help me to perceive the signposts, my Egyptians, my markers of stone, my altars, my pillars of cloud and fire, that I may finish the work You’ve called me to do.
And in so doing, I shall recover all that was mine and the enemy’s by the power of Your right hand.
In the Name of Jesus I ask it, believing I’ve received.