Wednesday, June 29, 2011

courage & leadership

Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all.
1 Samuel 30:19

This chapter clearly shows that David has all the characteristics in place to be the next king of Israel. After being tossed out of the Philistine army, David and his band return home to find that their town has been raided by Amalekites. Everything, including wives and families, has been taken. Their homes have been burned. David's men have been turned away from battle and now must find this disaster. To say morale is low would be an understatement.

David inquires of the Lord through Abiathar the priest. This is in direct contrast to Saul's recent attempt to summon up Samuel through the use of a spiritist. God tells David to chase after the Amalekites... that victory will be his. David and his men pursue the foe. They are able to sneak up on them in their camp as they are in drunken celebration over their "spoils". The battle swiftly and quickly ends, with David's men overwhelmingly defeating the raiders and recovering every bit of the spoils of war.

The reality of God's sovereign protection was that not a bit of the stolen goods and people were missing. All of David's men recovered all their lives. God had protected them. And God used the courage and the leadership of David to move these men beyond their pain and even their pettiness, to be a force that God could use.

David is now leading like a king. He had been fighting like a soldier for a long time. But this is clearly a new level of leadership. And key to it was that he did not abandon his spiritual commitments. He sought the Lord even as he felt powerless. He had been delivered two humiliations: 1) the Philistines refused to let him serve as a commander and then 2) the Amalekites had raided his hometown, capturing his family. Yet in the midst of that potential depression, he turned to God, obeyed God's encouragements, and saw God providentially provide a way back to usefulness for him and for his army. God rewarded his courage and commitment as David learned to lead in hardship.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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