In this continuation, Samuel writes, "David strengthened himself in the Lord his God" (v.6) and then, calmly and methodically, asked the Lord what He had in mind for him to do. Only then did he round up his grieving troops and pursue the scoundrel Amalekites.
How did David strengthen himself in the Lord? Can we follow suit?
David sits alone on the rubble of what was once his home. His heart spasms with despair, longing to hear the ecstatic greeting of his family gathering around him. He's home from his trip and all has gone well, but they are ... who knows where, perhaps dead.
The silence is eerie. It harbors grieving men and bitter souls alone with their thoughts. Like David, they had hopes and anticipation for arriving home. They hadn't been expected back so soon and so had been thinking, What fun it will be to watch the kids' jaws drop in astonishment when I walk through the door. I should make it just in time for dinner. My wife will wrap her arms around my neck. They'll think I'm a dream-come-true.
Nightmare is a more apt description of the reality that lies smoking in the valley as David and his army gaze from the hill outside town at what was once home. Each man labors under the weight of his own burden--except for David. He carries his own as well as the yoke of grief that every man, woman, and child under his care feels. Alone with the weight of the world, the fire illuminates his warrior face. No one sees his tears except God, and He catches each drop.
Deep inside, far into the recesses of the man, where spirit and soul become indistinguishable, David contemplates what he knows and takes issue against the enemy's counsel. It would be sheer folly to depend upon the resources of my army to attack this problem. The Lord doesn't need the strength of my horses or the numbers of my men. God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble and in the day of my distress. I will sing of His strength and joyfully sing of His lovingkindness. My flesh and my heart may fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. I will seek the Lord and His strength and determine to do so continually. The Lord is my strength and song. The Lord is my shield; my heart trusts Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. 1
And he does, but not like the devil would like for you to think. David does not come to the conclusion that God is still on His throne, resolve to trust Him, and begin dancing on the rubble of his burned estate. Psalm 47:1 "Clap your hands, all peoples; shout to God with the voice of joy" was not penned at this moment. I doubt seriously that you would have heard any melodious sound from the soon-to-be king.
The intention of his heart and the song of his soul were being measured out deliberately deep in the inner man. If composed, the score for these words would read, "Andante with fortitude." These weren't dance tunes. These were steady, major chords of resolute encouragement. No flowery lyrics; simple words of truth and affirmation fueled the spiritual boiler within David's heart.
Beside the smoldering remains, alone, through tears, and while assassination plots fester in the dark, a deliberate counter-force begins to take issue with the onslaught of the enemy. With mounting determination a spiritual tug-of-war begins.
The momentum of the enemy and his contingent degenerates into an apparent stalemate with the hosts of heaven, and then, ever so slowly, like a locomotive turning the wheels of a loaded freight train, the strength of the Lord begins the process of reclaiming lost ground.
The final blog in this series is, "David's Victory."
1 Compiled from Psalms 33:17; 46:1; 59:16; 73:26; 105:4; 118:14; 147:10; 28:7