Back to 1 Samuel 30.
When you act on God’s word and promises despite the odds
David had resolved in his heart to go to battle. He wouldn’t let the enemy win; he was going to fight back. Though knocked down, he would not stay down. By God’s grace, He had dried his tears, pushed the pain aside and was focusing on the next step. But he didn’t want to act on his own desires and will. He wisely consulted God, and he did it publicly.
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.”
~1 Samuel 30:7-8
This taught David’s men a lesson of faith and obedience when you find yourself in the worst of circumstances. They were reminded that David was only second in command, that he took orders from above. It proved his dependency on God. It also showed that, although he was suffering, he didn’t rebel against God; he resisted the temptation we all face in dark times to accuse the Lord of being unjust, mean or indifferent. Awesome leadership!
“Shall I pursue?”
~1 Samuel 30:8
Yes! Do it and you will overtake them, was the answer David received. All of heaven would back him up. The warriors were exhausted, distressed and weak but God would give them all the needed resources to find the Amalekites, to fight them and to come out victorious.
When our God makes a promise, He keeps it, no matter what. Putting our trust in Him is life, hope and guarantee.
It took God to make the warriors drop their stones, heed David’s voice and follow him in a campaign that looked suicidal to the human eye.
It took God to lead them in the right direction. The Amalekites could be anywhere with their families!
It took God to make them encounter the abandoned Egyptian slave. That guy didn’t know, when he fell sick and was left behind days ago, that this was in fact the way to his salvation. He thought he would die like a dog. But his enemies showed him grace, gave him food and drink, and spared his life.
That’s how the people of God must treat those who don’t know God, and even those who may participate in the destruction attempts of the enemy. They don’t know what they do, Jesus said; they need forgiveness from the Father. Only God can give us such hearts of compassion.
It took God to provide help, mental and physical resources required for the journey. But He is not a cruel taskmaster; so, David wasn’t one either. The man after God’s heart saw that some of his men were willing but too weary to go on. He understood and left them behind.
It took God to give him this mindset. A task-oriented selfish leader would have forced them to continue; he would have wanted all bodies available for war. But really it is God who gives victory, not numbers or weapons. David had learned that time and time again as a shepherd boy fighting lions and bears to protect his flock and also against Goliath; he knew where his strength lied.
It took God to overwhelm and defeat a huge army with only 400 weary men. He did fight for them. All He wanted was their trust, demonstrated by their obedience to go in pursuit.
It took God to “recover all”. So God alone deserved all the glory and David knew it!
The same is true in our lives. Therefore, when God gives us improbable or impossible victories – because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the Cross – all the credit should go to Him, with our utmost praises and thanksgivings. Let us constantly offer extravagant worship to the Almighty God who takes care of us, fights our battles and subdues all our enemies!