1 Samuel 30 is not recommended reading for children under twelve or adults with squeamish stomachs. Fire, war, plunder, slaughter, stoning, starvation, and general, all-around inhumanity are just seven reasons that this chapter isn't on the good-for-before-bedtime reading list.
Dianne likes reading about Ruth and Boaz falling in love, Miriam rescuing baby Moses, and Esther winning the Miss Media-Persia beauty contest to become Queen. But chapter 30 is my kind of passage: men escaping mayhem, riding camels across the desert, dividing the spoils of war. Yes sir. I tried using these verses for evening devotional a few nights ago, but Dianne said we should go back to our devotional guide as soon as possible, preferably yesterday -- something about it being a "man thing."
I'm being facetious, but only about the part regarding Dianne. It's not hard to see how some of David's most meaningful Psalms were penned during the days described in chapter 30. And I'll tell you right now, I am going to sit next to David at dinner one of these days and get the unabridged version of the chase scene.
David's hometown had been plundered by marauders, and everything was gone: wives, children, livestock, possessions; the city had been burned to the ground, and the men spoke of stoning David because of their bitter loss and anguished souls. Had you been in David's shoes, what would you have done?
He had several options: Gather up the men ready to stone him and show them a thing or two; take a loyalty poll and decide whether to abdicate or fight; give up and say, "I quit"; blame someone else; or put the troops in formation and march off to get even. Any of these would seem reasonable given the circumstances and distress he was feeling.
But David's reaction was extraordinary: 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?
Continuing with this story, the next blog is, "David's Resolve."