1 Samuel 30 (NRSV)
David Avenges the Destruction of Ziklag
Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day,
They may have been disappointed, or relieved, not to have to fight with the Philistines. But certainly they were looking forward to returning to their wives and children and a home-cooked meal!
the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negeb and on Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag, burned it down, 2and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great; they killed none of them, but carried them off, and went their way.
There is a touch of the Lord’s poetic justice in all this. David had brought this exact calamity on other cities. 1 Samuel 27:8-11 says during his time among the Philistines, David made his living as a bandit, robbing cities and whenever David attacked the land, he left neither man nor woman alive. The Amalekites were being more merciful than David had been!
3When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned down, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep. 5David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6David was in great danger; for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in spirit for their sons and daughters.
God is beginning to get David’s attention!
But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 (New International Version)
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
“You Never Let Go” is a hymn of praise to a faithful Lord!
7David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David.
This ephod may have been the garment of the High Priest, which had a pocket containing the Urim and Thummin. Some scholars believe these were two stones, one light and one dark, meaning Yes and No. The questions would be put to the priest, who would reach into the pocket and pull out the stone which indicated God’s answer.
8David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?”
He answered him, “Pursue; for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.”
God gave David an answer, and a promise. Oh, the kindness of our God!
9So David set out, he and the six hundred men who were with him.
They had talked of stoning David, but now they see him renewed in the Lord, and they follow him.
They came to the Wadi Besor, where those stayed who were left behind. 10But David went on with the pursuit, he and four hundred men; two hundred stayed behind, too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor.
11In the open country they found an Egyptian, and brought him to David. They gave him bread and he ate, they gave him water to drink; 12they also gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins. When he had eaten, his spirit revived; for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights.
David stopped to show kindness to a poor nobody — further proof he is back on track with God.
13Then David said to him, “To whom do you belong? Where are you from?”
Charles Spurgeon has a wonderful sermon on this verse, called “A Searching Question.” He says that the question “To whom belongest thou?” is a question of universal pertinence and of very practical character, which can be answered. This is a question with eternal consequences! Spurgeon proposes five additional questions which help answer the first question:
1) Where were you born? — and of course, he means a new birth.
2) What company do you keep? — are you neglecting the fellowship of the Church?
3) What is your dialect? — do your words show your faith?
4) What have you learned to do? — are you imitating Christ?
5) What do the angels see you do? — when no else else sees you, are you thinking and behaving in a way that honors your Father who loves you?
Then we can truly answer the question by saying, “I belong to Christ.”
Click HERE if you would like to read the sermon.
He said, “I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite. My master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14We had made a raid on the Negeb of the Cherethites and on that which belongs to Judah and on the Negeb of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag down.”
15David said to him, “Will you take me down to this raiding party?”
He said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me, or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”
16When he had taken him down, they were spread out all over the ground, eating and drinking and dancing, because of the great amount of spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not one of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken; and David rescued his two wives. 19Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken; David brought back everything. 20David also captured all the flocks and herds, which were driven ahead of the other cattle; people said, “This is David’s spoil.”
21Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. They went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. When David drew near to the people he saluted them. 22Then all the corrupt and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may take his wife and children, and leave.”
23But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us; he has preserved us and handed over to us the raiding party that attacked us. 24Who would listen to you in this matter? For the share of the one who goes down into the battle shall be the same as the share of the one who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.” 25From that day forward he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel; it continues to the present day.
Any general will agree: The supply lines are as important as the front lines.
26When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord”; 27it was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, 28in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, 29in Racal, in the towns of the Jerahmeelites, in the towns of the Kenites, 30in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, 31in Hebron, all the places where David and his men had roamed.
GOD’S PURPOSE IN OUR TAKING SPOILS
While David and his army were away, the Amalekites raided his village of Ziklag. These marauding invaders took all the women and children and burned down the whole town. When David returned, he “was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).
Talk about spiritual warfare! This wasn’t just an attack against David. It was an all-out assault against God’s eternal purpose. Once again, the devil was after God’s seed.
This is the focus of all spiritual warfare: The enemy has always been determined to destroy the seed of Christ. And that fact hasn’t changed even 2000 years after the Cross. Satan is still out to destroy God’s seed, and he does this by attacking us, the seed of Christ. David felt threatened when he heard the grumbling of his men. But David knew his heart was right with God, and Scripture says he encouraged himself in the Lord. Immediately, this man of faith took off in pursuit of the Amalekites. And he quickly overtook them, rescuing every person and possession that had been taken (see 1 Samuel 30:19–20). David not only recovered what was taken from Ziklag but everything else the Amalekites had plundered.
What did David do with all these spoils of war? He used them to maintain the purposes of God. In addition, he sent gifts of the spoils to the elders of Judah and to the towns where he and his men had been hiding (see 1 Samuel 30:26 and 31). This is another example of God’s purpose in our spiritual warfare. We’re to take spoils from battle not just for ourselves, but for the body of Christ. The resources we gain are meant to bring blessing to others.
Are you beginning to understand the reason for your present battle? Those who put their trust in the Lord are promised glorious victory over all power of the enemy. God wants you to know, “Yes, you’ll come through victorious. But I am going to make you more than an overcomer. I’m working out an even greater purpose in you for my kingdom. You’ll come out of this battle with more spoils than you can handle.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.