Imagine coming home one day after a 3-day business trip to find that your house was burned down because an evil person decided to do you harm – then he proceeds to kidnap your spouse and children. How would you feel?
Desperate, angry, hopeless – in despair. You will probably lose the will to live at that moment.
This is exactly what happened to king David and his men when their enemies burned down their city.
“When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.” – 1 Samuel 30:3
Faced with the immense shock of their lives, what did they do? They wept like real men.
“So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. “ – 1 Samuel 30:4
To top it all off, all David’s loyal soldiers and companions were talking of killing him because of this unfortunate event.
“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” – 1 Samuel 30:6
Everyone else wanted to blame someone and kill someone for their loss – except for David. He put his trust in the Lord. He knows that God can deliver and God was David’s strength during that time of utter despair.
As the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker, I have been faced with difficult situations. None so grave as king David’s situation was – but bitter situations nonetheless.
I have learned much from reading God’s Word and I look at how David led himself and everyone under his charge during a desperate, hopeless situation.
The first thing David did was put his trust in the Lord. He made God his pillar of strength and even when he had no real answers, David knew God will deliver their wives, children and possessions back.
The second thing David did was inquire of the Lord. He asked God what he should do.
“and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.” – 1 Samuel 30:8
When you read back a little bit and gain even more context of where David and his men was, they just finished a 3-day journey from the Philistine battle lines back to their city of Ziklag. They were tired and exhausted. And now they were in shock and desperate and hopeless – nothing could be worse than that.
And now, tired as they are, God is asking them to pursue their enemy who destroyed their home – the Amalekites.
Here is how tired they were: even when God promised them that they would overtake their enemies and succeed in the rescue, one-third of their army were too exhausted to continue the pursuit and stayed behind.
“ David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.” – 1 Samuel 30:9
The third thing that David did in his time of desperation and exhaustion – is to obey the voice of God. No matter how tired he was and no matter how distressed he was. He still went and led the charge in spite of his exhaustion.
In the end, David and his 400 men overtook the Amalekites and fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day (they probably fought a lot of Amalekites – way too many for just a small 400 men). Even so, 400 young Amalekites escaped as they rode on camels to flee.
David and his men recovered everything – their wives, children and all they owned. And they also took all the plunder the Amalekites took from other cities they raided.
True, they still lost their city and their home Ziklag (which is a city in the Philistine territory as David defected to the Philistines when he ran from king Saul of Israel). But God had a great reason for that too – for in a few days time, David would be crowned king of Judah and he had to move to Hebron in the territory of Israel.
There are going to be tough times in life – perhaps desperate times and hopeless times. And in those times, you have no idea why bad things are happening to you. But put your strength in the Lord, then ask God what He wants you to do, then obey – and you will see looking back someday that it was all for a great plan that God has in store for you.