Destruction and Despair at Ziklag - Part II
In I Samuel 30:7-8, David consults with Abiathar, the man of God, seeking confirmation: “And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.”
In I Kings 22:7, King Jehoshaphat asked the question, “Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of Him?” One of the most important duties of a pastor is to provide wise and godly counsel. When going through a crisis, I urge you to visit with a mature and godly pastor, pastor’s wife, or a wise, seasoned, and godly church member. Godly counsel is so important when going through life-changing, negative experiences of life. Psalm 1 warns us of “ungodly counsel.” Study Proverbs 11:14 and 15:22.
In the midst of the sounds of strong weeping and insurrection, and the strong smell of burning buildings and tents, David calls for Abiathar, the high priest and the man of God.
Most likely, David explains to Abiathar, the man of God, what He is feeling about pursuing the enemy. In I Samuel 30:8 he asks, “Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them?” David seeks confirmation.
Established by Moses, there was a specific way to hear from God by consulting the high priest who would be wearing a white linen outer garment called an ephod and on it would be a breastplate holding twelve beautiful stones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel. Additionally, the ephod garment would have a pouch attached to it holding two stones called the Urim and Thummim.
Old Testament scholars believe that these two stones were like two dominoes or like two flat rocks. On one side was a Hebrew word for “yes,” and on the other side was the Hebrew word for “no.” A question would be put to the high priest and, in response, the high priest would cause the two stones to fall out of the pouch and onto the ground. If both landed on the “yes” side, that would be the Lord giving confirmation to do whatever was being asked. If both landed on the “no” side, that would be a negative response from God. If one rock showed a “no” and one rock showed a “yes,” that meant “hold steady” and “do nothing.”
The high priest, Abiathar, caused the two stones to fall on the ground, and both landed on the “yes” side. The Word of the Lord to David was clear: “Pursue, for thou shalt surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” He got his confirmation. Getting the wisdom of godly elders is valuable indeed. Knowing and obeying Scripture is extremely important.
David accepted the confirmation of the Urim and Thummim and, with faith, rallied his mighty men to war.
In I Samuel 30:8, God confirms to David, “Pursue; for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” In a spirit of obedience and faith, David and four hundred men launched forward in pursuit of the enemy. Providentially, God allowed them to meet a wounded Egyptian who had been fighting with the Amalekites. David learned all about the Amalekites and the condition of their families. With clarity, David and four hundred men marched on to find their families.
It is one thing to know the will of God; it is another thing to attempt to do it with all your heart with faith that God will help you. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith is believing that God will do what He says He will do. Real faith brings strength and power.
In I Samuel 30:16, the Bible says that David saw the Amalekites “eating and drinking, and dancing.” It seems, without much hesitation, the battle begins, “And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day” (I Sam. 30:17). Ponder that— they fought all night and then all day and won the victory. I Samuel 30:18 reads, “And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.”
Additionally, David took possession of all the spoils from the Amalekites. David and his mighty men had experienced incredible destruction and despair. But David got into God’s presence and heard from God. He received godly confirmation from the man of God, and he showed true obedience and faith to pursue the enemy and do war. I Samuel 30:19 reads, “David recovered all.”
I love to hear Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart shout out, “If you won’t quit, God won’t quit.”
Young David, the future king of Israel, had spent sixteen months out of the will of God. Yet God was quick to forgive David. At Ziklag, God gave Him words of encouragement, clarified what he should do about the enemy, directed him and his troops to the enemy, and then empowered David and his four hundred mighty men to win the battle against the Amalekites and recover everything that had been stolen plus much more. Friend, our God is a good God, and He loves you! Never forget it!
Dear friend, when going through the great trials of life, remember these three simple steps:
In Romans 8:31, the great apostle Paul wrote: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
In sincere, fervent prayer, remember what Christ did for you on Calvary’s hill. Two thousand years ago, Christ died for your sins and my sins—past, present, and future sins. I believe that David experienced Ziklag because he had spent sixteen months out of the will of God. He needed to repent, and I believe that He did. So, be sure to do what it says in I Corinthians 11, “let a man examine himself.”
- Take your sins to the altar of God—to the cross— and leave them there. Yes, pick up the cross and follow Christ. Take time to consult with one or more godly counselors.
- Go to a respected and honored elder and seek godly counsel. Upon hearing from God, commit yourself to do it and get on with doing the will of God for your life. Get back into the battle. Know your enemy and by faith pursue the will of God, and you will recover all. God’s calling on your life will never be rescinded. God has much for you to do for Him.
In Romans 8:37, he writes, “Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Friend, we are on the winning team.