1 Samuel 30:6 – “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
At the end of Chapter 29, we find David in the midst of strife with the princes of the Philistines, because they would not suffer David to go with them into battle for fear that David would turn on them in battle. This heavy spirit was only worsened when, along their march back to Ziklag, they undoubtedly saw billowing smoke rising into the air. Ten grief and heartache soon accompanied their uncertainty when they arrived and found all had been taken by the enemy. Many are familiar with this story, but I find a striking parallel to our current predicament as a church.
Before Ziklag was pillaged, David is in a strange land away from his home, away from his everyday life that God had blessed him within Israel. Many of us have been inwardly displaced because the world around us has changed over the course of a month. I look out the window, drive down the street, run errands and all I see is something that looks like normality but it feels altogether strange.
David goes to honor his vow to fight for the king of the Philistines and is rejected by the princes. The Philistine empire was not His home and he was among some of the people who hated David most for the way that God had used David in the past to smite the Philistines. We too are pilgrims in this world. Some of us have been laid off, told to work from our houses, it feels as if we have been shrugged off by those we may be loyal to. We are rejected for our insistence upon assembling and worshipping God, and those around us reject us because of it.
Once arriving in Ziklag, David finds all that he holds dear taken away from him without warning or chance to prevent it. Some of us have had family and friends, that we hold most dear, snatched away from us by the threat of Coronavirus. We have had our sanctuary closed by those that are the enemies of the Will of God. We have had our worship restricted and it can feel like a blow to the heart.
David loses his friends, his loyal comrades. They turned on him in their confusion, anger, and grief. The last thing we can afford is to turn upon one another for the slights that have befallen all of us from the outside. No one knew what that Coronavirus was 6 months ago. No one knew it would ravish our lives the way it has.
But David knew much about the Lord. He was a man after God’s own heart. David knew this did not happen outside of the providence of God. David knew that God would never abandon a loyal servant. David knew that God had sustained and blessed him (and those that were loyal to David) as they were on the run from Saul and living in caves. David knew that God would not be mocked and that those that were responsible for the transgressions which caused David all the sufferings he currently endured would be dealt with. David knew that God had everything in control. When he could not get to the house of God to encourage himself, when he could not inquire of a man of God, when he could not lean on family or friends to help bear his load, when he could not enter into the temple and ask to read the Holy Scriptures …. David encouraged himself in the Lord.
As a result, David was victorious over the instability that was both without and within. He did not crumble, instead he inquired of the Lord as to how he should proceed. Because David’s faith conquered the fear, grief, and pain that pricked at his heart, everything that was lost was restored. Additionally, God gave David the spoils of the enemy, which David sent back to the tribe of Judah (his home) and was able to provide a great blessing to those who were afar off and still dear to him.
I have no doubt that if we endure this hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ that we will not only have all that we hold dear restored, but that we will also be used of God to help many. God is more than capable of using our church to shine a light that can be seen by the world around by both believers and unbelievers. The only question is whether we are willing to encourage ourselves in the Lord, inquire as to God’s will for each of us individually, and then perform all that we do in obedience to the perfect Will of God.
Your fellowservant in Christ,
Bro. Jordan Foster