“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.” 1 Samuel 30:6
If you’re having a bad day, imagine David. He and his men were probably weary from traveling to a battlefield where their services were not needed. (The Philistines whom they had defected to were worried that David and his men would turn against them in battle; hence, they told them that they could not join the Philistine army.) This might not have been too terrible an event, but when David and his men got back to Zicklag—the city they were staying— they found everything burned down and their families gone.
I can imagine the pain and the thoughts running through his men’s minds: Who is this leader we are following? If only we didn’t leave, then we would have been around to defend our families! Does this fellow David even hear the Lord correctly? God would have told him to stay with our families! This is all David’s fault!
I can imagine the grumbling getting so loud that threats flew into the air.
David’s heart broke. He wasn’t just facing angry men and a burned city. His own family was gone! His wives—his loves—what kind of evil would they undergo under the hands of uncircumcised men? How about the young ones? The children taken? He had been faithful to Achish and the Philistines. Why did the Philistines question his loyalty? Would he always be identified with Saul? Who was he really? He seemed so far from the young man who defeated the Philistine giant, Goliath.
Some of his men were already picking up sharp and heavy stones to hurl at him.
What could he do? The Bible says that David did one important thing next. He strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
the only One who could help; the One He worshiped even when he was a young man tending sheep. Yahweh. Who was God to him? David reminded himself: God was His fortress, His shield, His help in time of trouble; the God who knew all things and was more important than life itself!
David lifted his eyes from off his circumstances and towards God’s face. He had been in a habit of writing down his songs and thoughts about God. It was a good time to think back to them. “I will guide you with my eye,” God seemed to whisper to David’s heart.
What happened next to David and his men was incredible. David called for a priest to inquire of God. God told David to pursue the enemy. Therefore, David and his men pursued the enemy (the Amalekites) and recovered everything that was taken from them. “And nothing of theirs was lacking, wither small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all” (1 Samuel 30:19)
Friends, we have a Warrior God whose eye is on us.
Whenever life crumbles right before us, what do we do? Do we try to solve everything at once? Do we try to explain all the “Why’s?” Do we deal defensively with the critics around us (and inside us)? Or do we do what David did– stop for a moment and look to the Lord, remembering Who He is?
It makes a lot of difference when we take our eyes off ourselves to look at the goodness, greatness, and magnificence of the God who loves us.
Let us make it our habit to strengthen ourselves in the Lord; to look to Him and remember Who He is. We can say like David did: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).
*For the full story of what happened in Ziklag, you can read 1 Samuel 29-30.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.