NOVEMBER 29-DECEMBER 5
GOD OF THE TURN AROUND
1 SAMUEL 30:9-31
So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives.
1 Samuel 30:18
Contemporaneous—Existing or occurring in the same period of time.
Curry favor—To ingratiate oneself by flattery or over-attentive behavior.
Ford—To cross a river or stream at a shallow spot.
What we may think is the worst thing that ever happened to us, God can take it and reshape it into a blessing. Sometimes, our oppositions are our opportunities. The patriarch Joseph is one of many illustrations of this principle. Joseph wouldn't have been appointed second-in-command in Egypt if he hadn't had an opportunity to interpret Pharaoh's dream. He wouldn't have had that opportunity if he didn't meet the cup-bearer. He wouldn't have met the cup-bearer if he hadn't gone to prison. Every experience led inextricably to the next, fulfilling the plan God had for his elevation. As Joseph told his brothers (whose betrayal landed him in Egypt initially): "ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good" (Gen. 50:20). Despite how sketchy things looked for a season, the Father intended to ultimately bless His servant. This can be said about Joseph, and it can be said about the protagonist of this lesson, David.
Emphasis 1: Chasing Down the Enemy
With the confirmation of a prophecy that he would "without fail recover all" (1 Sam. 30:8), David instructed his men to pursue the enemy that had attacked Ziklag and carried away captive all their loved ones. Moving now with urgency, the six hundred men tracked the Amalekites to the edge of a tributary to the Mediterranean Sea. The Besor was not a "babbling brook"; it was a stream with a strong current, and after their hurried pursuit, a third of his band didn't have the strength to ford the water. David left the exhausted soldiers there at the water's edge and crossed the Besor with about four hundred men.
On the other side, they found a man left for dead in the field. They ministered to him, and he recovered enough to identify himself as an Egyptian slave abandoned by his Amalekite master because he had taken ill. The Egyptian gave them valuable intel regarding the enemy: the Amalekites had a three-day head start, they had attacked several targets other than Ziklag, and were carrying the booty. Most importantly, the Egyptians were willing to lead David to the Amalekite camp if the latter promised not to kill him or keep him in bondage.
Emphasis 2: Recovering All and Then Some
When David's band reached the camp, they found the Amalekites "eating and drinking, and dancing" in celebration of their successful excursion (1 Sam. 30:16). Overconfidence and false security had lulled them into carelessness. David and his men descended upon them with fury, slaying the majority of the much larger army. "And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away" (v. 18). All the family members were rescued—not one life was lost! All the livestock and possessions were recovered. Moreover, they appropriated the spoil the Amalekites had taken from other towns and villages.
When the band carried the spoil back to their compatriots waiting at the Besor, some wanted to withhold sharing the gains with the two hundred who stayed behind. David forbade this: "Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us... but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff" (1 Sam. 30:23,24). David promoted unity among his men by demanding an equal share for all. There was indeed enough plunder that everyone could be enriched. The overflow was so much that, when David returned 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" (v. 26). In this way, he invested the spoil in currying favor with his fellow Judeans. The money helped him restore his relationships with leaders who may have been offended by his alliance with the king of Gath.
Emphasis 3: A Divine Reversal of Fortune
If David hadn't been attacked in Ziklag, he wouldn't have accrued the gifts that won the hearts of Judah. This proved very important, because Saul died in the contemporaneous war with the Philistines, and Israel would shortly be seeking a new king. God took the worst experience in David's life up to that point and used it as a bridge to the kingship. There is something awesome about God's ability to turn things around. Even David's errors couldn't impede God's blessing plan. Once he repented, they fit neatly in place.
God has a plan for our lives. A plan that He is working out in time. We shouldn't get discouraged, no matter what has transpired. Therefore, it's time out for burying our mistakes. Instead, we should take even our errors and failings and lay them before the
Lord. It's time to ask Him what He intends to do with these broken pieces of our lives. He can take the lemons we've grown and make lemonade. It may be painful when He puts the squeeze on to extract the juice, but He will also add the sugar, so it is sweet to the taste! Like David, we will be able to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes" (Psalm 119:71).
World Mission Questions
Why did David insist that the men who stayed behind should share in the spoils of the battle?
Explain how God turned David's great misfortune in Ziklag into a blessing.
How can we stay hopeful in times of trial and tribulation?
World Mission Prayer Points
Let us pray to maintain hope in trying times, knowing all things work to our good.
Let us pray to realize that, when things appear nonsensical, God's plan will make perfect sense in time.
Let us pray to always trust God because He sees and knows the entire plan.
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