” …….But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6)
David left Israel and went to Gath, the land of the Philistines, to escape King Saul’s continued attempts to kill him. Saul was the first king of Israel and he was the people’s choice and not God’s choice. He did not walk in faith in the Lord and tried to kill David on numerous. David was the man God had intended to be the first king of Israel. The prophet Samuel had anointed him as the Lord’s choice to be king when he was still a boy.
David, leaving Israel and going to Gath was not out of faith, but out of his fear that Saul would kill him. He did not seek the Lord’s will before making the decision and went to the land of the Philistines, an enemy of Israel. He dwelt in the land of the Philistines a year and four months. As we will see, it did not turn out well for him. Achish, the king of Gath, gave David and all those men with him and their families the town of Ziklag.
” And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites..”
While in the land of the Philistines, David invaded the surrounding nations and killed all the inhabitants of the villages he attacked. He may have felt justified in these actions as they were enemies of Israel. However, he was out of God’s will in leaving Israel and killing all those he came across was for the purpose of deceiving Achisch as to his whereabouts. He lied and told Achish that he was invading the land of Israel. And Achish believed him and said:
He (David) has made his people Israel abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant forever.”
In the course of time, the Philistines planned to invade Israel and Achish came to David and said that he, David, and his men, would go out with them against Israel. David agreed and responded in this way to Achish:
“And David said to Achish, surely you will know what your servant can do. And Achish said to David, therefore will I make you keeper of my head (bodyguard) forever.”
David, out of the will of God, had killed men, women, and children to cover up his escapades from Achish, and now agrees to go to war against his own people. He had certainly dug a deep hole for himself. We too can go far down the wrong road when we get out of God’s will. David went so far as to assemble with the army of the Philistines as they were preparing to depart for war with Israel. This certainly was not a high point in David’s life.
The princes of the Philistines were angry with Achish for allowing David to join them. So, Achish sent David and his men away in peace. Unbelievably, David tried to argue with him about not allowing him to go with them. However, the will of the princes prevailed and David and his men left Achish and made the three-day journey to Ziklag. The Bible tells us what they found when they arrived:
“The Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; and taken the women captives, who were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them way…”
David and his men found Ziklag burned and their families taken as captives. The account in the Bible says they wept until they could weep no more. David’s men spoke of stoning him. What an incredible situation that David found himself in. He had been out of the will of God since leaving Israel. He had murdered whole villages. He had agreed to go to war against his own people with their sworn enemies. And now, Ziklag had been burned and his family and the families of his men had been taken captive. What could David do? What would we do in a situation like this? While his men were angry and spoke of violence against him, the Bible says David turned to the Lord:
“But David encouraged (strengthened) himself in the Lord his God.”
It may seem somewhat incredible that the situation had to become so very dire before David sought the Lord, but in this account, we can see our own failures in seeking the Lord and His will at times. David, looking at the burned-out Ziklag and knowing his family and all the families of his men were taken captive, turned to the Lord. He knew that he had to make things right with the Lord and that the Lord was the only one that could fix the situation. He also knew that the only way to the Lord was by His mercy and grace through repentance. David knew that going his own way and not seeking the Lord’s will in all matters resulted in all that had ensued while in Gath. He made things right with the Lord and the Lord responded, even blessing David.
The Lord will never turn away anyone that comes to Him in true repentance no matter what they have done.
In the end, all of the families and goods were restored to David and his men along with all the multiple spoils of the Amalekites. When the Lord blesses us and we recover what was lost, he always gives us more. We can truly say that He is a blessing God.
We can learn from this that charting our own course out of the will of God will inevitably end in disaster. We need to seek the Lord’s will in all that we do. If we do find ourselves out of the will of God, then we should go to him in repentance and know that he loves us and He will bless us if we return to him in faith. We may wonder how the Lord could bless David after all that he had done, but His grace is there for us always and is the only way that we can receive from the Lord. David’s true blessing at Ziklag was the restoration of fellowship with the Lord.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of.” (Hebrews 4:16)
During this special Christmas season, we can clearly see the Lord’s mercy, grace and blessing towards us in His gift to us of His Son. We have much to be grateful for. The grace of God that was there for David and is there for us comes to us only through the price paid by Jesus at the cross. Jesus paid the price that allowed the grace of God to flow in our lives. David, by faith in the sacrificial system, looked forward to the Lord’s great sacrifice at Calvary. We, by faith, look back to that sacrifice. God’s grace can come to us in no other way. We are truly blessed during the Christmas season. It is a reminder of the love extended to us in God’s gift of His Son.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Councellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” ( Isaiah 9:6)
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