When we go abroad to tarry for a while with the enemies of God’s people,
we may expect to be met with evil tidings when we return home again.
In the mercy of God,
we can even then,
if called according to His purpose,
encourage ourselves in God and be assured that He will overrule and bring light out of darkness and peace out of trouble.
I Samuel 1
1 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
2 And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.
3 ¶ So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
5 And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.
8 And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.
9 So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.
10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.
11 ¶ And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water;
12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.
13 And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick.
14 We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.
15 And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.
16 ¶ And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.
17 And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.
18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
19 And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.
20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil.
21 ¶ And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.
22 Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.
23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.
24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.
25 And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.
26 ¶ And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;
27 To them which were in Beth-el, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,
28 And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,
29 And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,
30 And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,
31 And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 30:1-15 – A Blow That Led Back to God
As David was leaving the battlefield, a number of men of Manasseh fell to him, I Chronicles 12:20, so his following was greatly increased. It was as if God had anticipated his coming trial, and prepared him to encounter it. “The God of my mercy shall prevent me” (Psalm 59:10). But what a mercy it was that he had been sent back; that no garrison had been left to guard the women, which might have irritated the depredators; and that nobody had been killed, I Samuel 30:2!
In the first outburst of grief and horror, only divine and gracious interposition could have saved David’s life. But this was the hour of his return to God. With the charred embers at his feet and anxiety gnawing at his heart, the threat of violence in his ears, and bitter compunction of conscience, “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). From that hour he was his old, strong, glad, noble self. After months of neglect, he bade Abiathar bring him the ephod, and he inquired the will of God. Then with marvelous vigor he went in pursuit and recovered all. He had been brought out of an horrible pit, and again his feet were on the rock, Psalm 40:2. His “goings” could now be established.
I Samuel 30:6—David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
His God! Doubtless the chronicler heard him say repeatedly, as he was so fond of saying (Psalm 22:1), “My God, my God.” (Psalm 42:9) “I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?” Though he had seriously compromised God’s cause, by the failure of his faith, by consorting with Achish and the Philistines, by a tortuous and treacherous policy, yet God was still his God; and, in the supreme crisis which had overtaken him, he naturally betook himself to the covert of those loving wings.
He encouraged himself. He would go back on promises of forgiveness and succor, which had so often cheered him in similar straits. He would recall his songs in former nights as black as this, and therefore would have hope. He would remember that he had been brought through worse trials; and surely He who had helped him against Goliath and Saul would not fail him against the Amalekites. Besides, he had probably left his dear ones in the protection of the encamping angel; and though his faith might be tried, it could not be entirely disappointed. In this way he encouraged himself. All around was tumult and fear; but in God peace and rest brooded, as swans on a tranquil lake. His men might speak of stoning him; his heart might be greatly distressed for wives and children; his life might be in jeopardy: but God was a very present help, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God” (Psalm 42:5).
In similar circumstances, let us have resort to similar sources of comfort; hide in God, and encourage ourselves in Him. It was in this spirit that John Knox, when about to face death, said to his wife, “Read to me where I first cast anchor.”
1 Samuel 30:16-31 – Sharing the Spoil
He that lays hold on God’s strength will be courteous in his behavior to the weak and weary, and will not quail before the clamor of men of Belial. Thus we are not surprised to learn that David kindly inquired of the two hundred as to their welfare, I Samuel 30:21, and insisted that they should share equally with those who went to battle. This was a beautiful instance of sanctified common sense, and the reasonableness of the decision appealed to his followers. The gains and losses of the whole band must be shared equally by those at the front and in the rear. This is God’s rule! He that receives the prophet shall have the prophet’s reward. Girls who stay at home to care for aged mothers, instead of becoming missionaries; young men who maintain orphaned brothers and sisters; invalids confined to their rooms—let such take heart. They shall share in the victory of their Lord. David’s thankful joy yielded practical fruit in his generous gifts to those who had showed him kindness in his adversity. Gratitude is the trait of a noble nature. Let us share our possessions with others less favored, and increase our own enjoyment, II Corinthians 8:14-15.