- Ballynahinch Congregational
Bible thought from 1 Samuel 30:6
By Rev Victor Neill
‘And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord’ (1st Sam 30 v 6)
The background to the story was that David had fled in fear from King Saul and was in self-imposed exile, but had struck up a relationship with Achish, the Philistine king of Gath. That in itself was quite extraordinary, because earlier David had with the Lord’s help overcome the giant Philistine, Goliath, who had also hailed from Gath! Again, we can see the overruling providence of God in all of this and how thankful the children of God should be, that even when we are not at our best (and David was not at his best at that time) – God is faithful!
Achish had given David and his 600 men, plus their wives and children, the town of Ziklag. David went supposedly to join Achish’s forces at Aphek, to fight against King Saul. The other leaders of the Philistines were resolutely opposed to this, and so David and his men returned to Ziklag. On their return they found that it had been burned and all their women and children taken prisoner (1st Sam 30 v 1&2). There was great distress among David and his men and suddenly the focus of David’s men changed because of what had happened and the finger of blame was pointed at David!
It can happen when we are in a difficult and distressing place that we look for someone to blame and sometimes we can even blame God! So distressed and incensed were David’s men with what had happened that they spoke ‘of stoning him’. So David found himself in a perilous situation – what was he to do? He did the best thing possible - ‘David encouraged himself (was strengthened, made strong) in the Lord’. There will be times in our earthly pilgrimage when the only One we can turn to for strength and encouragement is the Lord Himself. Though others may be powerless to help, the Lord is ever able ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him and I am helped’ (Ps 28 v 1). There was a happy ending to the distressing situation for we later read ‘And there was nothing lacking to them neither small nor great, neither sons, nor daughters, neither spoil, nor anything that they had taken to them: David recovered all’ (1st Sam 30 v 19).
A chorus puts it well:
’When the road is rough and steep, Fix your eyes upon Jesus, He alone has power to keep, Fix your eyes upon Him; Jesus is a gracious Friend, One on whom you can depend, He is faithful to the end, fix your eyes upon Him.