I Samuel 30 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson
David and his men return to find their “hometown” burned and everyone gone. Everyone gone. We are told they killed no one in v. 2 but David’s men don’t know that yet. Can you imagine the scene: confusion, anger, feelings of revenge, utter disappointment, and tragic loss? Will they ever recover or is this the end? While the men blame David, David knows he must get busy, or he may lose everyone, so he reminds himself of God’s promises.
David, in contrast to Saul, seeks God not the dark arts for guidance. God tells him to pursue for David will rescue his people. They set out as quickly as possible without 200 tired men who stay behind. As we often observe in Biblical narrative, small inconsequential everyday happenings show God’s directing and guiding through these events. They “happen” to find an Egyptian, a servant of the Amalekites, who they discover raided Ziklag who was left for dead. They find the man, revive him and promise to keep him alive if he leads them to them to the Amalekites.
David comes upon the Amalekites who are having a big celebration. David and his men, in 24 hours, set things right and kill them all except for 400 who mounted camels and escaped. They recover everyone alive and take not only their goods but the rest of the spoil.
David returns and over the objections of the others, makes it a rule that those who stary with the baggage and those who go to war share alike in the spoil.
He then takes the spoil and distributes it to the various elders of Judah showing David’s eyes are always on fulfilling his God-given mission to be the king of Israel.
In this chapter, David is showing the faith we know he has had all along. First, he does not panic but shows godly resolve when he hears the bad news and sees burning Ziklag. Second, David seeks God first before he acts. And he seeks God the way God has commanded. Unlike Saul, he does not resort to forbidden means.
In verse 21ff, David shows his foresight and wisdom in resolving the conflict between the fighting men and those staying with the baggage. He not only solves the immediate problem, but he also establishes a policy of fairness recognizing who provides the spoil in the first place. Since God provides “what the Lord has given us” (v. 23) all will share together. Notice again his prudent words bring his band together at the moment they begin to divide. And he takes a common source of friction in times of war and establishes enduring policy.
God, is once again, showing grace to His people in big and small ways, leads them to the Egyptian who just happens to be found, who was left for dead but just happens to revive. Then he successfully finds the Amalekites (how would he know where they are when he was left for dead three days ago?) who are in no position to defend themselves, drunk, unruly, and disorganized.
Have you noticed how normal events lead to more significant discoveries or victories? Seemingly insignificant details reveal a God who is leading through rather mundane events. It is almost as if God is in control. God uses Goliath the “biggest” enemy of Saul to help David 17; 18:7. God causes a deep sleep to fall on Saul and his camp in 26:12; God uses the Philistines to increase David’s fame 18:30; 21:11. God even uses the Philistines to protect David 23:27-28; 27. God uses Saul’s own family members to help David: Jonathan 18:1ff, 20; 23:15ff and Michal his wife 19:11ff. The list goes on. Everyone and everything seem to be in David’s favor. Yet for years he is being hunted down by his own king.
One significant refrain you have noticed is “the Lord is/was with him 16:18; 18:14, 28. This is the real difference between Saul and David. This is not just a throw away statement. This is the difference between a godly person and an ungodly one. Therefore, the trajectory of David’s life is the way it is. Not only does the narrator say that but other people tell David the same: Jonathan 20:13; 23:17; Saul in 24:20; Abigail in 25:29.
The interesting aspect of this blessing of God’s presence contrasts the constant turmoil David is in. While David is blessed, he is also hunted by a violent, unstable and powerful man. I wonder if David ever had trouble with the fact that God is with him yet Saul is the one on the throne, eating delicious food, and sleeping in his own bed. David is running for his life, looking behind his back for an assassin, and trying to keep 600 (maybe over 1,000) people fed and safe.
This long quote by Samuel Rutherford is fitting. “If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for He will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for He has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ’s side, and if the wind is now in His face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke. The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You cannot sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into His image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect Your image in us and make us fit for glory! We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory. As we look back to our pains and suffering, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night’s welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let Him bear all. He can, He does, and He will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, He comes with Himself. “Have courage, I am your salvation!” Welcome, welcome Jesus!”
Father, forgive me when I am afflicted and all I want to do is get out of my discomfort as quickly as possible. I rarely, if ever, look for You and honestly, I devalue Your presence preferring my escape from my troubles. Lord, I am so wed to this world, so comfortable in a place of rebellion, treason, and rejection of Your word and presence. Help me to love You more and be more heavenly minded. Attack my heart’s love of this world so I will love the next far more.
No one fulfills what David dimly portrays: trust in God in difficulties and threats. You were anointed with the Spirit and not only was God with You, You were God in the flesh. No one is like You. Thank Your for your perfect life of obedience. In the name of Christ who loved the heaven He came from. Amen.