I Samuel 30:1-8
Never is our faith put to the test more than when we face tragedy (tornados, fires, death). And the more unexpected the tragedy, the more it exposes what is truly in our heart, where we immediately turn. We certainly see that in the life of David.
During the time of David’s life in which he was fleeing from King Saul, he spent a year and four months in the land of the Philistines. He was given the town of Ziklag, where he and his troops set up residence, where their wives and kids lived as the men were off to battle. One day David and his men returned home to find the shock of their lives.
Tragedy At Home (vs. 1-5)
The soldiers approach their hometown to find it in smoldering ruins, and their wives and children gone. The Amalekites had burned down the city, and captured everyone present, including David’s two wives. They had lost everything they cherished. Not only did they experience what people experience after a tornado or house fire, but they didn’t know what this brutal enemy had done to their wives and daughters. Surely, they feared the worst.
These hardened soldiers begin to cry out and weep and it doesn’t stop until literally “they had no more power to weep” (vs. 4). They had no strength left in them to cry any more. They were broken.
Turning On David (vs. 6a)
That was a heavy enough burden to carry. But things got worse for David. The men who followed David turned on him. Their grief and mourning led them to direct their anger at their leader. Now they wanted David dead. They wanted someone to blame, and the leader is the easiest target.
The Bible says David became “greatly distressed.” He was under pressure, literally cramped and bound, emotionally. Feeling the weight of the world crashing down on him. Here is where we see the response of a “man after God’s own heart.”
Turning To God (vs. 6b-8)
David turned to the One who identifies Himself in Scriptures as “the God of all comfort” (II Cor. 1:3-4). When David was broken-hearted by the loss of his home and family, when he felt betrayed and unfairly accused, he literally found strength in his relationship with God. Gk. chazak – to strengthen, be courageous, grow firm, be resolute. He encouraged himself by turning to God. But it didn’t stop there.
David enquired of God as to what step to take next. He consults Abiathar the priest to ask God, “Should we go after the Amalekites?” As a husband and father, the natural instinct is to respond in anger, to seek revenge, to try and rescue your family (if they are still alive). But even those God-given emotions have to be yielded to the will of God. Sometimes we can do something honorable, but in a dishonorable way. We need to be sure that even in the midst of tragedy, we enquire of the Lord and seek His counsel and direction. David did, and God gave him the green light.
As you read the rest of the story you learn that David and the 600 men with him pursue the Amalekites, overtake them, slaughter the army all night long, and amazingly rescued every single thing or person that had been stolen (vs. 19). By turning to God for comfort, strengthen, and direction, David also restored his credibility and trust as a leader. Even today, when our world comes crashing down, we must be resolved to enquire of God in prayer.