[b]David Recovered All[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
We read in 1 Samuel that David had to flee for his life because Saul tried to kill him. But no-one can kill one for whom God has made a plan, before that plan is fully fulfilled. In 1 Sam 22:1,2, we read of a few in Israel who recognised that the anointing had departed from Saul and was now upon David. They now gathered together with David and moved with him constantly from cave to cave! Like those men, we too must recognise where God is moving today and not where He moved yesterday. We must stand with those upon whom the anointing of God rests today. David lived in daily dependence on the Lord for guidance. He would ask the Lord before going to fight the Philistines and if the Lord told him to go, he would go even against the advice of his own men ( 1 Sam 23:1-5). This is how he became a man after God's own heart : He listened to God more than to his friends.
After David had delivered the people of Keilah from the oppression of the Philistines, Saul heard that David was in Keilah, he went there, certain that he would catch David at last, because Keilah was a city that was enclosed with double gates and bars. Humanly speaking, David could now have reasoned that the people of Keilah would be so grateful to him that they would never betray him into the hands of Saul. But he still decided to seek God about a simple matter like this. And God told him that the people of Keilah would betray him. So he listened to God and left Keilah and thus saved himself and his men (1 Sam 23:6-13). "God did not deliver him into Saul's hand"(1 Sam23:14). This was the secret of David's early life like Samuel, he listened to God daily. We see David's noble attitude in 1 Sam 24:4,5, in sparing Saul's life when he had Saul at his mercy. In fact David's conscience convicted him for cutting off just a small piece of Saul's robe, which he had done just to show Saul that he could have killed him if he wanted to. Even though Saul was moved to tears on hearing this and went home then, after a while he started hunting for David again (1 Sam 26:2). Jealousy, anger and hatred have a way of coming back again and again like the waves on a beach, if they are not dealt with thoroughly.
In 1 Sam Chap 30, we see a few interesting things. David found himself in a difficult situation. When he and his men had gone to battle, the Amalekites had come and destroyed the city where the families of his people were staying and taken their families captive. The situation was so bad that all the men began to weep and also to blame David for their problems. They wanted to stone him to death (v.6). And then we read these lovely words: "But David encouraged himself (and strengthened himself) in the Lord" (v.6). What an example for us to follow, when even our friends turn against us. David again sought the Lord and the Lord told him to pursue after the Amalekites and assured him that he would recover everything (v.8). But David did not know in which direction to go to find these Amalekites. It is wonderful to see how God led him to them. It was through a simple act of kindness to a dying stranger. David and his men saw an Egyptian lying in the desert in a coma, half-dead. They cared for him and gave him something to eat and drink. When he revived, they discovered that he had been forsaken by the Amalekites in the desert, because he was sick (v.11-13). He was the one who then led David to the Amalekites. This teaches us how God rewards us when we are kind to strangers. Thus David found and defeated the Amalekites. Then it is written thrice, that "David recovered all" that had been stolen by the Amalekites (v.18-20) a beautiful picture of Jesus recovering all that Satan had stolen from us! When the battle was over and David returned to the camp, there were 200 of his men there who had been too exhausted to follow David into battle, and who had stayed behind to look after David's goods. Some of David's worthless men then said that the spoils of the battle should not be shared with these men who did not fight. But we see the largeness of David's heart there. He said that those who stayed at home to look after the baggage should get an equal share of the spoils of war, as those who went out to battle and fought. And this became a law in Israel from that day onwards. . It was through all those difficulties and trials that David faced (over a period of about 13 years), that he finally became a man of God and a successful king. Years later, he wrote these words: "You have tested me O God. You have refined me as silver is refined. You allowed me to be trapped in nets. You allowed heavy, oppressive burdens to be laid on my back. You allowed men to ride over my head. You took me through the burning fire and then through icy-cold water. But finally, You brought me out into a place of spiritual abundance and anointing, where my cup is now overflowing with blessing to multitudes of people. Praise the Lord" (Psa.66:10-13 free paraphrase).
Saul, on the other hand, grew up in a rich home, and went straight from that life of comfort to become a king. He never faced any trials or difficulties. So he never knew God and he was a failure as a king. Solomon, who came after David, also never faced any trials or difficulties. He grew up in ease and comfort as a prince in the royal palace. He also became a failure as a king. These examples teach us that it is only through trials and difficulties that we can know God and be effective and successful in our ministry. This was what made Paul such a successful apostle too (Read 2 Cor.1:4-11; 11:23-33). And this is why many preachers today, who have become rich by preaching the gospel, and who live in comfort, are neither spiritual themselves, nor godly examples to their flock.
God may have called you to be His servant. But don't imagine that you are ready serve Him, just because you were called. If you don't go through long periods of trial faithfully, you cannot be a spiritual leader of God's people. You will only end up like Saul and Solomon, and destroy yourself finally. So God will have to first take you through long periods of trial and difficulties. He will allow others to misunderstand you and to be jealous of you. He will allow them to suppress you and to oppress you. If you humble yourself (like David did) and trust God, in all these circumstances, God will bring you forth one day, into a place of abundance and blessing.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon