1 Samuel 30 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” -1 Samuel 30:6
David left King Achish and with his men they all returned to their stronghold in Ziklag. What they walked in upon was sheer devastation. While away, the Amalekites had raided their camp, burned it down and taken all the women and children captive. Standing in the wreckage, David and his men wept until there were no more tears to cry. Caught up in such sorrow, the men, his men and army, began discussing murdering him. Not only faced with tragedy beyond imagination of losing his loved ones, he had this mutiny to contend with. And it tells us David strengthened himself in the Lord.
It’s interesting to consider what that looks like. Often our first response in a given situation of extreme tragedy and heartache is to blame someone else. We look for a scapegoat as to why this happened, don’t we. Criticism in such times is usually inaccurate and unfair. But our pain has driven us there. I love how it records of where David did seek help and strength.
So, what does this look like, strengthening ourselves in the Lord? Seeking His encouragement despite? I do believe that first it takes being honest with Him. It takes opening our heart to the pain we feel, the difficulty we face. For when we choose to not be honest, we deceive ourselves and it’s very difficult to move on. God knows our hearts and our struggle and so we must be forthright with him.
But the danger zone here is if we allow ourselves to stay in that place. This is where we need to plead in mercy for the Holy Spirit to come and really take over and bring the comfort we cannot muster on our own. One such way is to remind ourselves of all our past where God has been faithful. Again, this may not be easy but to ask the Holy Spirit to remind us, remind us where His faithfulness has been true and strong.
In Samuel 23 we read of how Jonathan came and encouraged David him in God. This is yet another key aspect. David needed someone to be there for him at that point and so do we. When Jonathan came and found him, he drew him in by God’s perspective and David’s heart grew stronger. Although in this case with the men who had turned against him there was no one to step in and do this, it is a key component. Who in your life can you bring in that you trust their relationship with God, you believe in their words and know they will encourage you?
Obviously, David wanted to put this behind him. He wanted to rescue the women and children, he wanted to turn things around before the men actually carried out what mad plan they were hatching. And so he sought God for wisdom for his next step. Through confirmation, he was told they would be successful. More randomly, but not as God always is doing something behind the scenes, they came in contact with a slave of the Amalekites who was left behind and led them right to where their camp was.
The fight was brutal. I love though a few key phrases here:
- David fought.
- David recovered.
- David brought everything back.
God encouraged David and we was able to go do what was expected of him and he was victorious even in the midst of tragedy.
1 Samuel 30 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
David returns to Zikleg, where he had fled from Saul only to find that while he and his men were gone, the Amalekites had come and raided their city. They burned the place to the ground and took all the women, their sons, and their daughters captive. They had all just lost their families.
1 Samuel 30:6 GNB David was now in great trouble, because his men were all very bitter about losing their children, and they were threatening to stone him; but the LORD his God gave him courage.
In Chapter 29, David was sent back home by the Philistines who didn’t trust him to fight on their side. That event was already discouraging. To add insult to injury, his family has been taken and he’s about to get stoned to death! This is what it would take to shake David from his complacency. The Lord needed to crumble David’s kingdom to see the Lord’s kingdom move forward.
This is so powerful and impactful. At this critical moment in David’s life, he is weakened and he needs to be able to stand firm. Everything has fallen apart. And the very next verse… right away… Scripture says He strengthened himself in the Lord. God gave him courage.
He thought about the sovereignty of God. He thought about the provision of God. He thought about His faithfulness to him time and time again. He thought about the fact that this event did not surprise God. He thought about how God had allowed this to happen. He thought about the fact that God’s promises are true and that God loves David as a son. He thought about the fact that God had chosen him to lead these men before him. He probably also remembered of how God faithfully delivered him in his battle against the mighty Goliath.
After he thought about these things, he was made strong. But don’t miss this. He was made strong in his weakness. He was made strong to stand firm and begin to lead again, but it occurred during one of the lowest moments of his life.
Scripture says he put together a plan right then and there. He and his men went out to pursue the Amalekites in battle. Two paragraphs later we read that David and his men caught up with the enemy and utterly destroyed them. In fact, Scripture specifically says, David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken. Why? Because he made an intentional effort to go to God in his weakness. David made up his mind that he wasn’t going to give up. He believed and he acted.
Sometimes life throws us all kinds of curveballs and it’s easy to get hung up on the negatives. It’s so easy to focus on the problems, throw our arms up in the air, and complain about life. David is a great example of what a Biblical response can do for us in our lives. We must remember that God does great work in lowly places. His strength and inspiration are just a few small steps away.