Call to Worship November 21 2021

Expository Thoughts on 1 Samuel 30:1-20

There must have been some relief for David and his men as they traveled back to Ziklag. God spared David the difficulty of defending Achish at the upcoming Philistine battle against Israel. He and his men got to go home and see their families. Nevertheless, when David and his men arrived at Ziklag another frowning providence was evident. Ziklag was burned to the ground, all their possessions stolen, and their families kidnapped. All thought of rest after their journey evaporated and rational thought failed to resonate in their minds. They were immediately and literally emotionally distraught. The men focused their destitute mindset on possibly stoning David. He had only one place to turn at that moment (1-6). 

According to the first book of Samuel, David had not inquired of the LORD since Keilah. Neither had he called for the ephod since the following concerns with Saul after Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1-9). Although his understanding of God’s law, covenant, and providence had kept him from killing Saul, he still had struggled to trust the Lord regarding his safety and his actions toward others (1 Sam. 24, 25:32, 26:11, 27:1, 8). God had spared him from possibly killing his own people. Yet, God was reminding David, through frowning providence, that God was his refuge, protector, savior, and Lord. So he could only be strengthened in the LORD his God (30:6d). 

How did David strengthen himself in the LORD? He called out to “his God.” David recognized the LORD as his God, “that is where the strengthening begins.”[1] This reminds us that the Lord is the one living and true God. Also, that He is our God (Deut. 6:4-6). Although He is not like us as creatures, He is knowable. Therefore, we must call upon Him as our God to save us for eternity and keep us in and through the trials of this life. Furthermore, David was strengthened by remembering God’s promises according to His word. Jonathan had strengthened him in the promises of God during his unfolding plight with Saul (23:16).[2] 

David gathered Himself under those promises remembering that God had called him and anointed him. Then he was able to seek the presence of God by calling for the ephod.[3] The ephod was originally used by the line of the priests of Aaron. It was worn when entering before God to seek His presence in sacrifice (Lev. 8). Later, it became a symbol for what it meant to specially seek God (1 Sam. 2:18, 28, 2:28). David called for the ephod in order to seek God’s presence and wisdom (1 Sam. 30:7-8). Therefore his ability to call upon God in this way, and follow through with his command, was based upon being strengthened in the promises and word of God. 

As David followed through with God’s charge to pursue, he providentially came upon an Egyptian. The man was left behind by the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag. The man bartered with David for his life. After David agreed, he took David to the Amalekite camp. David found them partying with their raider spoils. David thrashed the Amalekites and took back their possessions and families. The annihilation of the tribes in chapter 27 is starkly different compared with the Amalekites in this chapter. Here was a strict case of just war. God restored their families, goods, and their morale.

David and his men, for a lengthy time, had been sorely pressed by God’s providence. God used those trials and tribulations to bring them back to Him and His word. David had sought God and not his own understanding. May we never forget to seek God’s wisdom and to act according to His promises. Trials, tribulations, temptations, and sin may oppress us, but God’s promises of His vengeance, vindication, and restoration through Christ are our promised victory. May we put on the ephod of the armor of God in His word. Do this so that you do not love the world, its lusts, and the boastful pride of life.  “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 Jn. 2:17 NAU).  

[1] Dale Ralph Davis, I Samuel: Looking on the Heart, (Christian Focus Pub., 2014.), pg. 313.

[2] Gordon Keddie, Dawn of a Kingdom: The Message of I Samuel, Welwyn Commentary Series, (England, Evangelical Press, 1988.), pg. 261.

[3] Davis, 313-315.