1 Samuel 30:6 (ESV) … “And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”
David must have breathed a sigh of relief as he and his men set off for the long journey back to Ziklag. Miraculously, David and his band were not required to go to battle against the Israelites. They may have joked and laughed along the way. Hopefully, David recognized that God had helped him get out of this predicament. But God was still building his character, and David had more difficult circumstances to face.
While David and his troops marched north to join the Philistines in preparation for battle, the Amalekites, the other great enemy of the Israelites, had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They attacked Ziklag and burned it (30:1). The Amalekites did not kill the inhabitants of the city. Instead, they carried them off captive, both young and old, including the women (30:3).
When David and his men reached the city, their merry attitude changed to sorrow. They witnessed what the Amalekites had done and realized that their wives and sons and daughters had all been taken captive. They wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep (30:4). They did not know if their families were dead or alive. This included David’s two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail (30:5).
But the situation went from bad to worse. David was surrounded by trouble. David was distressed because the people began to talk about stoning him (30:6). This was the first time David’s leadership was questioned. The soul of all of the people (each one was bitter in spirit) became bitter.
The fact that David’s followers were resentful is understandable. Naturally, when they thought about what their families were going through as prisoners of the Amalekites, they began to grieve. There appeared to be no hope of rescue. David must have reached a low point in his life. He was in fact responsible for the tragedy.
The contrast between Saul’s leadership and that of David is clearly shown in what David did next. David had not sought the Lord’s help before he fled to Philistia, and that decision was partly to blame for the dilemma they were now facing. But this time David turned to the Lord. While the others were beside themselves with grief, David found strength in the Lord his God (30:6). The verb translated by the NIV as “found strength” actually conveys a reflexive idea. That is, “David strengthened himself in the Lord. According to Arnold, this statement emphasizes the personal faith of David, as well as illustrating the synergistic nature of faith (Arnold, 389). “Faith requires a human response, but it is enabled by God (cf. Eph. 2:8).”
In his greatest moment of crisis, David looked to God. He did not seek solace in himself or other human advisors. He sought a personal relationship with God and found the strength to lead from this empowerment.
In Christ & Friends Always,