1 Samuel 30-31 (Week 16) When do you hit your knees?

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We don’t know what David’s thoughts were as he prepared for battle alongside the Philistines (see 1 Samuel 29). He may have been waiting for this very moment: because he and his troops were stationed toward the back with King Achish himself, David’s 600 men could have attacked the king and his soldiers from the rear while the Israelites fought from the front.

Perhaps he wasn’t planning on hurting the people who had given he and his band of followers protection from the jealous hand of King Saul. Maybe David’s eyes grew wider and wider knowing he was about to fight his own people, wondering how on earth he could get out of this horrible situation.

Whether or not David was happy to have been released from King Achish’s side and sent home, he must have praised God once he realized what had happened while being gone.

Mere days before David and his soldiers returned to Ziklag, the entire city was attacked by Amalekites.

They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.
— 1 Samuel 30:2b-3

Bewildered and brokenhearted, the men wept until they could cry no more tears. Grief stricken, they blamed David for what happened, reaching to the ground for the ammunition needed to stone their leader. David sought the Lord’s will in what to do and whether or not to chase down the enemy raiders. With a green light from God and forming a plan to rescue their loved ones, the very men who were angry at David, turned their anger on the bandits instead, setting out together on a rescue mission.

Reaching a large ravine that once held a brook, two hundred of the men simply couldn’t go on. They were exhausted and so weary their bodies wouldn’t go another step. Can you imagine the kind of bone-tired fatigue they must have felt that stopped them from hunting down the captors that took their own families? The other four hundred continued on, soon happening onto an Egyptian slave, left behind by the Amalekites because he was too tired and ill to carry on himself.

Feeding and caring for the man, he told David where the kidnappers were headed. With the slave’s help, they found the Amalekite camp, swiftly attacked the men who were too drunk to fight back, and rescued their loved ones.

Once back on the other side of the dry brook-bed of Besor, those too weary to travel were reunited with their families and were given gifts plundered from the Amalekite camp. Those who had made the whole trip grumbled that the others didn’t deserve anything more than their women and children back, yet David held his ground.

Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.”

But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us.

Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 25 And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.
— 1 Samuel 30:22-25

As God once again showed His faithfulness and protective hand upon David and his people, He led them down the path of total restoration. Everyone, the complainers, the weary, the wicked…everyone was a recipient of restored blessing because David remembered God before taking action.

David is no longer the scared young man who pretended to be insane before King Achish or who lied to the priest in Nob. He no longer goes ahead of God and relies on his own merit, but comes before the Throne of God in prayer before each decision made.

We see David as the kind of leader who prays first and acts second.

As much as it makes us cringe to admit it, we often we come to God last. We talk to our spouse and call our best friends. We might even meet with our pastor before realizing we haven’t fallen to our knees in prayer over a situation or circumstance. As crazy as it sounds, we do it all the time.

David has seen what happens when he goes ahead of God. In his experience, people died when he went ahead of God. But as his trust in God strengthened, he saw over and over how the Lord provided and protected. David heard God’s advisement in Keilah, he stood fast when given two opportunities to kill Saul, and he listened to Abigail’s wise counsel and God acted as True Judge with her evil husband.

Here David witnesses God’s goodness once again. Not only was every single woman and child brought home, but every material possession was reclaimed, as well. In fact, they recovered not only their own spoils, but brought the rest of the Amalekites booty home as well…splitting it up and gifting it around among themselves.

What’s your reflex when decisions need to be made? Do you pour your heart out before God or even shoot up quick arrow prayers in conversation with Him? Or is prayer an afterthought?

How can we be women of Purpose without living in constant conversation with our Heavenly Father? Think of where this study began, with the story of Hannah. For years she beseeched God. She never gave up, even when He was silent. She could’ve gotten spiteful, she could have given up. But she didn’t. Ever.

You know who did give up though? Saul. Biblical scholars still debate as to whether God allowed the Witch of Endor to bring up Samuel from the dead, or if it was simply a demon pretending to be the deceased priest…but either way, once Saul was told he would die the following day, everything about his demeanor shouted defeat.

Wounded in battle after an arrow pierced the king, Saul succumbed to the Medium’s prediction (though not knowing that his sons were killed). With fear that the Philistines would torture him when he was found wounded, Saul asked his weapon bearer (the position that was once David’s) to put him out of his misery. The young man wouldn’t think of hurting his king, so Saul fell on his own sword (see 2 Samuel chapter 1 for a development in this story!). Seeing Saul blood soaked and cut through, the armor bearer did the same thing, putting himself to death beside his king.

And this is where we conclude our study…with a man who viewed himself imperfect and in need of God, verses a man who decided he did not need the One True King because his own kingship was enough.

How will we live? Will we be one who gives up in hard situations as fear engulfs us like a tidal wave? Will we live a life thinking we can do things on our own like Saul…or with God, like David?

Living a life of constant prayer doesn’t mean going to our room and closing the door while being on our knees for hours on end. Sure, it means taking intentional time with God. But it also means being in conversation throughout the day. Shoot up “arrow prayers” just quick little whisperings to Christ in and out of good and difficult circumstances. Nothing is too big or too little for Him. If we care about it, so does He.

It’s this sort of life in constant conversation that will help us turn into women of Purpose. Women who hear His small voice for His big and exciting plans. If we truly want to live the life He wants us to live, we need to stop thinking we can go ahead of Him and plan things ourselves.

We have all been born for such a time as this. Let Him show you what the “this” is.

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