1 Sam 30: 1-6  Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

David’s men had every right to be upset over the kidnapping of their families.  The Amalekites were not present to absorb this outrage, so it was directed at their own beloved leader, David. Had they stopped to think rationally, they would have concluded that clearly David was not responsible for this disaster.  After all, he suffered the same loss as his men.

What stuns me is how David did not argue with them or show any fear or start to make plans.  He immediately turned to the Lord for his strength.   What did that look like?   He must have privately poured out his grief over the loss of his wives and sought God’s counsel about how to deal with his men.  Did this last 30 seconds or 2 hours?  Was there much time before his men actually picked up stones?  We don’t know.

But his next step was to consult with the priest and pray publicly to the Lord for a plan.  God answered and David moved into leader-mode and constructed a rescue plan that eventually succeeded.  All family members were saved.  David’s priorities in the face of a leadership and life crisis were vindicated.


2 Samuel 5: 9-12

And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward.  And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.   And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house.  And David knew that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

In this passage, David had been anointed King over both Judah and Israel and was enjoying great success.  Scripture tells us the reason was due to God being with him. But what was David’s assessment?  Was his stature and international renown due to his own prowess?  How encouraging it is to follow David’s thought process when foreigners bestow him with gifts.  A lesser man could easily conclude that this good fortune was due to his own greatness.  But David lived with the sovereign intervention of God in his life.  Had his life unfolded as his mom and dad expected, he’d still be a shepherd and last in line to inherit anything. David clearly understood that it was God who had cast him in this leading role and that God was the director and had his own purposes for Israel.

One can read elsewhere how David did not always act righteously, but here, at least, are two examples that offer us patterns to emulate.  In the face of immediate disaster, David turned to God.  In the face of impressive success, David acknowledged God’s agenda and doing.  He was neither too worried about his circumstances, nor too impressed with his own curriculum vitae.  His eyes were on God in either case.  May it be so with us.