Abishai walked next to David and matched his pace. “Are you glad we aren’t fighting against our own people?”
David kept looking forward. “Of course, this whole time with the Philistines has been an experience I never imagined I’d ever have. Almost a year and a half of not looking over my shoulder wondering if Saul is coming for me was nice. But…”
“So, what’s next?”
“I don’t know. We all just need to rest for now. A soft bed will be good for everybody.”
David’s mouth dropped open when he saw Ziklag from the top of the hill. Nobody was there. Even the animals were missing. The stone walls of the houses were there, but their wood roofs were burnt.
He froze on that hill while the echoes from his men rose in his ears as they filed past.
He felt more hollow with each step closer to his home. What became of his wives? He stepped into the bedroom filled with sunlight. Abigail’s scarf was half-burnt. He lifted it to his nose and inhaled…nothing but wretched smoke.
“How can this be, LORD? I’m doing all I can to follow You. Why?”
The sound of footsteps outside became silence too quickly. David looked out a window. His men circled the house. Each one held a stone.
“‘Let’s live with the Philistines,’ he says. ‘Let’s fight against God’s chosen people,’ he agrees to. Now we’re paying for your stupid decisions, David. It’s time for a new leader. Come out and stand up for yourself.”
David rushed to the front door. He found the priest standing behind the men. “Abiathar, the ephod, bring it to me. Quickly!”
He looked at his men. “You’re right. I have made some foolish decisions. I thought they were best for all of us, at least some of them. I’ve learned my lesson. From now on I’ll inquire of the LORD for guidance.”
Abiathar pushed past the men and came up to David wearing the ephod.
David stared at the gems on it. “LORD, shall we pursue the men who took our stuff? Will we get our families back?”
The voice was clear. “Go, pursue, you will get them all back.”
David stood and faced his men. “Every man get his sword. Victory is assured.”
Everyone dropped his stone. Those who’d removed their sword went to retrieve it.
David led his men south of Ziklag.
The Day Ziklag Burned is what we could title this episode in David’s life. This place the Philistines had given them to reside. Their home for more than a year. They had roots here until they left to fight with their enemy.
Grief has a way of dulling the senses and making judgments twist in bizarre ways. The knee-jerk reaction of these saddened soldiers was to blame their leader. The fact God had chosen him to be their next king vanished from their minds.
They had pain wracking their bodies and they needed an outlet for that misery. Stoning David made perfect sense to them at that moment. The consequence for that option didn’t matter to them then.
Seeing that anguish in so many men’s eyes got David’s attention. We aren’t told he used the ephod for guidance as to whether to move in with the Philistines, or to fight with them against Israel. Survival and human reason seem to have been his watch words in those decisions.
Losing everything unexpectedly is one of God’s ways of getting His children’s attention.
It’s a severe test to prove where a person will lean when there’s nothing else to hold onto.
David quickly turned back to God for guidance. What about you?
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It shouldn’t take literally loosing everything to see if you’ll pass this test.
You can take stock of your life right now to answer that question.
Look around you now. What, and who, do you see that would devastate you to lose? You can choose to give those to God this very moment.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be extreme grief when a loved one dies, or a fire or storm destroys your home.
But, there’s a deeper question you must ask yourself. Am I holding onto this world so tightly that I’m weighed down in living for God’s glory?
That doesn’t mean family heirlooms won’t be precious. I brought some home from my Mom’s funeral recently.
That doesn’t mean your love will grow cold for your spouse or children. Seeing how this impacts them as well should strengthen that bond.
It also doesn’t mean you should neglect caring for what you have. We still have a stewardship responsibility we’ll be held accountable for.
What this should do is make you evaluate your focus and priorities in your life.
Is what you have and what you do bringing glory to God, or is simply meeting your pleasure? Don’t get me wrong. You can glorify God and enjoy things at the same time.
We’re told to take a day each week to relax and enjoy the fruits of our labors.
What God is really attempting to do is getting our focus on the eternality of life.
What will last beyond this moment? Who will be in the kingdom with you?
As God’s child, chosen from many to be His one, your eternity with God doesn’t begin when you step past the pearly gates of heaven. No, your eternity with God begins at your conversion into God’s spiritual family.
Your relationship with God needs to grow every moment you’re alive here and now.
Loosen your grip on the stuff around you. It won’t last.
Lighten your hold on the lives you can’t control. They must answer for themselves.
Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross. Jesus died for that purpose, don’t waste that opportunity for selfish motives.
Share your love of God through Jesus to as many people as you can. That’s what will make an impact that will echo throughout eternity.
Turn to Jesus for your source of hope in this life, and beyond.
I’ll see you later. Wade