Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When NOTHING Goes Right

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Tuesday, May 21, 2013:  I Samuel 29:1-31:13

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.  Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?”  And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”  I Samuel 30:6-8 (NKJV)

David reached one of the lowest points of his life.  He had lost everything and it appeared was about to lose his life.  This is perhaps the darkest period of David's life.  He actually left Israel and began to serve Achish, one of the Philistine lords.  Interestingly, Achish was the king of Gath (I Sam. 27:2).  Gath had been the home town of Goliath. 

In his depressed state of mind, David broke over and ran from God.  We always think so highly of David as one of the heroes of the faith, so it is surprising to find that he spent a season serving the enemies of God's people.  It is not hard to figure out.  King Saul had tried to kill him.  David had given everything to the cause, but reaped only rejection and abuse.  David had tried very hard to do the right thing, but it just had not worked out for him.  So, he went into the world for a while.

Have you ever known anyone to do that?  Perhaps you have been through a season like this.  Even the most faithful believer can at times "hit a wall."  I've heard it when they cry out in their "dark night of the soul."  They might say, "It's just not working for me."  "I just want to quit."  "I can't take it anymore."

This is not a good place to be.  It is, however, a place many great men and women have walked.  It is so important to know that God is still with you and he will lead you through this valley.

Mighty David became the servant of the Philistines.  In fact, the Philistine armies gathered to attack Israel, and there was David and his men (I Sam. 29:1-2).  But, once again, David experiences rejection.  Even the Philistines don't want him. 

But it gets worse.  David and his men return to their homes in Ziklag and find that the Amalekites have burned their city, taken their wives and children, and robbed them blind.  I a final breakdown, the Bible says David was distressed (understatement!).  Now, his faithful men turned on him and spoke of stoning him. 

I'm sure David felt that he could do NOTHING right.  He had served Saul well, but failed at that.  He had gone into the world, and now it looked like that was even worse.  He was at the END.

Perhaps the greatest decision of David's life took place at that moment.  He turned back to God.  Scripture says that he did two things:  he "strengthened himself in God" (I Sam. 30:6) and he "inquired of the Lord" (I Sam. 30:8).  He encouraged himself in the Lord and he prayed.

This is a picture of the strength of David.  When the chips were lowest, he sought God.  When it came to the darkest moment, he turned to the Lord. 

Many of us have spent seasons of our lives when we ran from God.  It never pays.  It never accomplishes what you want.  It only makes matters worse.  But the "hound of heaven" continues to pursue us.  At times, we are reduced to the bare minimum.  At that point, we find God in a new way!

This was a turning point for David.  Scripture says that God made him a promise.  He makes the same promise to us.  "If you will follow me -- pursue, you will regain all" (I Sam. 30:8).

God is a RESTORER.  He did that with David (see I Sam. 30:18 and following).  He will do that for you too.  Our part is to find and walk in the encouragement of God's Word.  He will meet us in the place of prayer.  Rulership awaits those who will turn fully to follow the King.  It was true for David and it is true for you and me.

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