The Crucible // Part 7
We have been in a series of studies over the last six weeks in an effort to see how God fashions a man/woman of God. Our primary subject of study has been David. We have been looking at the pathway David walked to get to the fulfillment of his prophetic destiny. The pathway served as a crucible that fashioned David into a man after God’s own heart. Tonight, we follow David into Philistine territory – to a town called Ziklag.
After David spared Saul at the caves of En Gedi, Saul continued his pursuit of David. David continued to show mercy to Saul – knowing that both his and Saul’s times were in the hands of God. David knew he could not touch God’s anointed, so he continued what he had been doing: running. In an effort to seek some peace, David tried something he had tried unsuccessfully before – he went into Philistine territory to seek refuge. This time he is given sanctuary by Achish, ruler of Gath and David settles in the town of Ziklag. Wars continued between the Israelites and the Philistines. David sought entry into the Philistine army – maybe in hopes that this would be the way his exile would end, but God stopped David’s plan. So, after being rejected as an army recruit for the Philistines, David and his men return to Ziklag.
Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 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.
Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
... Then David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled. So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all. /// 1 Samuel 30:1-8; 17-19 (NKJV)
Have you ever been at a point in which it seemed that even God was working against you? This was probably part of what was happening to David and his men. David concocts a plan in which he believes he can fight against Saul without being out from under God’s authority. But – thankfully God stopped David. He could never be the righteous king of Israel if he shed Israelite blood to obtain the throne. You can hear the disappointment in David in his conversation with the Philistine leader:
So David said to Achish, “But what have I done? And to this day what have you found in your servant as long as I have been with you, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” /// 1 Samuel 29:8
David and his men, in disappointment go back to Ziklag. Upon arriving, they find an enemy has raided the town, burned it down, and taken their families and stolen their goods. Remember the question: Have you ever felt as if God was fighting against you? No doubt this is how the men following David felt. Can you hear them saying, “We have followed David all this time and what have we gained? God continues to protect Saul and we can’t do anything to end our suffering. And now, God has allowed the enemy to attack us and destroy us. It is time to kill David and do something different with our lives.”
While the name of this town is Ziklag, you could also call it “Bottom Out Town”. This is where we hit bottom. Everything we have done has not produced peace and victory. We must be doing something wrong and its David’s fault! There may be a time in life in which the man/woman of God does everything they believe they are supposed to do and things go from bad to bottom. At some point even the people they do have with them may turn against them. What do you do in this instance?
Many will give up on God at this point and get bitter. Others will hate those who appear to turn on them. David did neither. He himself was shocked so he didn’t blame the people for being the same. He wondered why things had taken this turn of events. But, the same man who had developed a heart to follow God maintained it in deep disappointment and confusion. Will you do the same?
David seized upon God, David took courage in God’s everlasting love, David emptied himself of a desire to be a leader and took the garments of a worshiper. David would never turn from God but would always turn to Him. David found security in the fact that God might do things some strange ways but he would never orphan David!
- 1 Samuel 30:1-8; 17-19 (NKJV)
- 1 Samuel 29:8
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