1 Samuel 30:1-15 The Next Step Is All That Matters
1 Samuel 30:1-15
1 Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziklag; they had crushed Ziklag and burned it to the ground. 2 They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone.
3 When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, 4 they wept until they could weep no more. 5 David’s two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, were among those captured. 6 David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God. 7 Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it. 8 Then David asked the LORD, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the LORD told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”
9 So David and his 600 men set out, and they came to the brook Besor. 10 But 200 of the men were too exhausted to cross the brook, so David continued the pursuit with 400 men. 11 Along the way they found an Egyptian man in a field and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink. 12 They also gave him part of a fig cake and two clusters of raisins, for he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for three days and nights. Before long his strength returned. 13 “To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?” David asked him. “I am an Egyptian- the slave of an Amalekite,” he replied. “My master abandoned me three days ago because I was sick. 14 We were on our way back from raiding the Kerethites in the Negev, the territory of Judah, and the land of Caleb, and we had just burned Ziklag.” 15 “Will you lead me to this band of raiders?” David asked. The young man replied, “If you take an oath in God’s name that you will not kill me or give me back to my master, then I will guide you to them.”
The long march back to Ziklag is met with a scene of devastation and horror when David and his men realized their loved ones are no more and their city razed to the ground. Overwhelmed with despair and grief, David finds consolation and strength in God. His composure and character shines against the tide of hopelessness. Dispelling the despair, he leads his men in pursuit of their enemies armed with nothing more than a promise of full restoration. Today’s passage teaches us to see challenges as opportunities to refine our spirit, our character and resolve. And to depend on God to reveal the way to victory as we endeavor to take the first step by faith. In any situation, if you would muster your energy to take the next step and not think about the subsequent ones, you are on the path to victory.
They wept until they could weep no more – After David is refused the opportunity to fight alongside the Philistines, he and his men begin a 60 mile journey from Aphek back to Ziklag. A surprise that will make strong men cry awaits them. Everything they own, including their wife and children are taken away and their city razed to the ground. As expected of such circumstances, people have a tendency to blame the command, and David while having to cope with his own grief has to contend with a death thread: and they began to talk of stoning him. Although the lack of foresight on David’s part has left the city without protection when he led his men to Aphek, but God has providentially ensured that no lives are lost. David, as compared to Saul has a more profound relationship with God that goes beyond the mechanical consultation of the ephod; David found strength in the LORD his God. David puts aside the pangs of grief and loss that prevents the normal functioning of logic and seeks consolation in God.
Bring me the ephod! – David, having regained his composure by the strength of God proceeds to enquire of God as to his next move. By oracular consultation by the ephod, David is given divine assurance that everything that is lost will be recovered.
Will you lead me to this band of raiders? – David and 600 men set off in a general direction towards Besor. As 200 of the men were too exhausted to cross the brook, they are to undertake the task of guarding the equipment. While David continues the pursuit with 400 men, they chance upon an abandoned Egyptian slave who being incapacitated in sickness is ruthlessly left behind by his Amalekite master. Having received assurance of safety, the slave undertakes the task of leading David to the Amalekites.
- Times of dire distress serve to test and refine the quality of each man’s spirit. And it is through hard times that great men of character are forged. Therefore, we must see challenging times as crucibles of our own greatness and refrain from complaining. Complainers have in fact by their words sealed the destiny of mediocrity. David’s men upon seeing the scene of destruction do what comes most naturally to them: blame and complain. David, being a man of character does what comes most naturally to him: faith and resolve. Many when faced with dire economic situations blame the government by whining on social media. Workers when faced with difficulties at the office resort to fighting among themselves and play the blame game. Many are in fact consumers who live off the land but few are producers who live to make a better world. Let us take every opportunity to lead and to inspire against the rising tide of pessimism and self-centeredness that is pervasive in today’s culture.
- As you learn to take the first step by faith, God will then reveal the second that leads to the third and so forth. Many become petrified when they could not see a comprehensive solution to their problems. Hence, they procrastinate until a full and foolproof solution is in sight. No wonder their lives are perpetually at a standstill. Problems are usually solved when the first step towards the right direction is executed without the full solution in place. As the first step is taken, the second will be revealed that leads to the third and the fourth and so on. David has no lead as to the whereabouts of their attackers. Armed only with a promise of a full restoration, he sets off in a general direction towards Besor. God’s providence is revealed through the discovery of the Egyptian slave who in turn leads them to the Amalekites. Hence, in every situation, we must resort to draw strength and insights from God through which we will gain the victory if we take the step of faith.
- Do you have a habit of comparing your situation with those who seem better off than you? And most people you know seem to be better than you in their capabilities, and financial situation. Perhaps, it is time to stop comparing yourself with others, but to take steps to rise above your own situation.
- Do you have a tendency to procrastinate on things that you have no confidence in? Learn to take the first step without worrying about the next. The Chinese idiom says, “You will cross the bridge when you get to it.” By God’s providence, things will mend.
Dear Lord, I recognize that my current challenges are opportunities for me to rise up and be a better person. Teach me in the way that I should go and strengthen me to take the first step. I reject the habit to procrastinate for I know that I will succeed when I take the first step. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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