I Samuel 30:1-8
David, in running away from Saul, did some pretty ignorant things. None was more suspect than leaving Ziklag, the city that he and his men had claimed for their own, to go and fight for the Philistines against Israel. God would not let that happen; in fact, the princes of the Philistines refused to allow him in their ranks, even though their leader favored him. God would not let the anointed King of Israel take up arms against His people.
Unfortunately, God did not let this failing of David’s go to waste. He used it as a learning opportunity. He taught David and his men a few valuable lessons after this.
Ziklag was burned to the ground.
The Amalekites had come in and invaded, stealing everything they had, including their wives and children. David’s men, on seeing this, began discussing stoning him. In the midst of this, David did not make a knee-jerk reaction. Instead, his men see him do what al followers should see their leaders do: he asked God’s direction.
With God’s blessing, he was able to take off after those that had robbed him and his men of their livelihoods.
They also learned that there was a limit to human endurance. About two hundred of the six hundred men were too weak to follow to the battle, and had to stay by the brook Besor.
They learned about redemption. They found an Egyptian that had been a servant to the leader of the Amalekites. He was left by the side of the road after getting too sick to continue on. His master no longer wanted him, but David had room for everyone that turned their life around. David showed his men about grace, and forgiveness.
They learned about God’s providence. After battling with the Amalekites, they found that there was not one thing lost of all that the enemy had taken from them. Neither child nor wife nor piece of silver was missing. They received other spoil as well.
They learned about sharing. Some of David’s men decided that because the other men were too faint to follow, they should not share in the spoil. David was having none of it. He gave an equal portion to those that stayed by the stuff while the rest went to battle. He recognized that it was God that delivered the enemy to them, and provided the spoil, so it was fitting that the blessing be shared with them all.
Finally, they learned about hope. David had been promised the kingdom of Israel years before. God had used this time, as well as his absence from the war with the Philistines, to finally remove Saul from the throne of Israel, leaving David to the crown. They had hoped for this day for years, and now, their patience was paying off.
Isn’t it just amazing what we can gather from the Bible? In a single chapter, there is so many lessons that we can learn. Sure, it was a lesson to those men to be sure, but how much more a lesson to us now that we can read about their trials? The Bible is much more than a bunch of stories and proverbs; it is alive, and it is food for the soul, and water for a weary heart. Read it and allow God to feed you from it.