OUR GREATEST TRAGEDIES OFTEN ARE GOD’S TESTING GROUND TO PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR GREATEST TRIUMPHS
(:1-2) INTRODUCTION: SACKING OF ZIKLAG WHILE DAVID WAS AWAY
“Then it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid”
Chestnut: Depending on how it is handled, a crisis can either make us or break us.
1. Illust. The Chinese do not have an alphabet as we know it. Rather than letters, words are represented by symbols. They have an interesting word-symbol for “crisis.” It is a combination of the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity.”
2. What is a crisis?
a. CRISIS: “A stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events is determined” (Random House College Dict.)
b. Everyone experiences times of crisis:
1) Graduation from high school (job, college, marry, Armed Forces?)
2) Laid off/quitting a job with nothing in sight.
3) Discovering a member of family has a drug/alcohol problem.
4) Having your husband/wife die; discover they are unfaithful.
c. Some people become STRONGER in these experiences; others WEAK.
1) WHY? Not what happens. How we DEAL with what happens!
2) POINT: How we react in moments of crisis will largely determine whether such events MAKE/BREAK us.
I. (:3-6) DAVID FINDS STRENGTH IN THE MIDST OF IMMENSE TRAGEDY AND BITTER OPPOSITION
A. (:3) Tragedy of Immense Proportions
“And when David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive.”
Not taken captive by any nice, civilized group but by a barbaric bunch of thugs.
B. (:4) Grief of Immense Proportions
“Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep.”
Remember, this was a rough and tough bunch of 600 men with some checkered past histories; not a group easily overcome by emotion and not easily given over to weeping.
C. (:5) Personal Side to This Tragedy and Grief – as it touched David
“Now David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.”
D. (:6a) Bitter Opposition From His Own Troops
“Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters.”
How did David handle the distracters and the opposition that will rise up against all strong leaders at some point?
E. (:6b) Turning Point: “David Strengthened Himself in the Lord his God”
How do we do this in our walk with the Lord? Study the Psalms to get some insight from David into this whole process.
II. (:7-10) DAVID TURNS TO THE LORD FOR GUIDANCE
A. (:7) Utilizing the Proper Resources
“Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech”
“Please bring me the ephod”
B. (:8) Specific Inquiry and Prompt Response
1. Specific Inquiry
“And David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?’”
2. Prompt Response
“And He said to him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them’”
3. Bonus Pledge
“and you shall surely rescue all.”
God is so gracious to answer beyond our wildest expectations.
This was not just going to be a revenge mission, but a successful rescue mission.
C. (:9-10) Intense, Strenuous Pursuit
1. Started out with full contingent of 600 men
“So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the brook Besor”
Apparently David was able to rally all of the troops behind his continued leadership … despite their grumblings and bitterness.
Deffinbaugh: “Hot Pursuit, Cold Trail”
2. 200 Tired out and had to be left with the baggage
“for two hundred who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor, remained behind”
III. (:11-15) ESSENTIAL INTELLIGENCE OBTAINED FROM A MOST PROVIDENTIAL SOURCE – AN ABANDONED, HALF-DEAD AMALEKITE SERVANT
Problem: The Amalekites had too big of a lead; could not be tracked successfully just by David and his men. They needed some outside intelligence to guide them to the camp of the enemy.
A. (:11a) Providential Discovery of a Possible Guide
An abandoned, half-dead Amalekite servant
“Now they found an Egyptian in the field”
B. (:11b-12) Nursing Him Back to Life
“then his spirit revived. For he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights.”
C. (:13-14) Interrogation by David
“To whom do you belong? And where are you from?”
D. (:15) Win-Win Proposition
1. David led to the camp of the Amalekites
“Will you bring me down to this band? … I will bring you down to this band.”
2. Egyptian has his life spared
“Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master”
IV. (:16-20) THE SLAUGHTER OF THE AMALEKITE RAIDING PARTY ACCOMPLISHED A COMPLETE RESCUE AND ACCUMULATED EXTRA DIVIDENDS
A. (:16-17) Slaughter of the Amalekite Raiding Party – 24 Hour Blood Bath
“David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day”
B. (:18-19) Complete Rescue – Providential Safekeeping
“So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves; David brought it all back.”
C. (:20) Extra Dividends – Leadership of David Recognized and Rewarded
“So David had captured all the sheep and the cattle which the people drove ahead of the other livestock, and they said, ‘This is David’s spoil’”
III. (:21-31) EQUITABLE AND STRATEGIC DISTRIBUTION OF THE SPOILS OF VICTORY
A. (:21-25) Equitable Distribution to All 600 Men – Giving God the Credit for the Victory
“For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”
B. (:26-31) Strategic Distribution as Presents to Key Leaders in Judah
“Behold, a gift for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord”