UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Lord God, you are Creator, Redeemer, and King. May my worship today be worthy of you. Guide me in your way.
Read 1 SAMUEL 30:1-15
David Destroys the Amalekites
30 David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”
“Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
9 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. 10 Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.
11 They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat— 12 part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.
13 David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?”
He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. 14 We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.”
15 David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?”
He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDavid gave us the metaphor of God as shepherd. How has the Lord shepherded you lately?
Sometimes it is a good idea to stand back and remember quite how far away in time, culture and worldview we are from the biblical universe. David’s world was rough, bloody and brutal. Men lived by the sword; women lived at the mercy (or lack thereof) of men. The ransack of Ziklag is no surprise. David’s pursuit of the Amalekites – no surprise. The abandonment of a sick slave by the raiders – no surprise.
But there is something in this narrative that stands out in stark contrast to the norms of the day. At full speed in pursuit of the kidnappers, David’s men notice a bedraggled, barely alive, poor excuse of a man and bring him to David (vs 11,12). David knows what it is like to be hanging onto threads of life in the wilderness. What he has received, he passes on. The man is fed, rehydrated and saved, and becomes God’s means of delivering the captured women and children.
We are not necessarily aware of God’s work in us. Most days our reactions and actions aren’t noticeably out of kilter with those around us. But more than we’ll realize, we’ll go off script, guided by the Holy Spirit to follow the norms of the kingdom of God and not of this world.
What aspects of your culture run counter to the culture of God’s kingdom? Are there any places in your own thinking or actions where you need to be more loyal to your divine King?
Almighty God, I exchange my weakness for your strength. I seek you first rather than relying on my abilities. Thank you Lord.
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