David led his men to the banks of the Brook Besor at a jog. The water was high from the spring rains.
A few of the men dropped to their knees. One man passed out.
A young man grabbed David’s arm. “I can’t go on. We need to rest here and eat.”
Joab grabbed David’s other arm. “We need to get our families back.”
David placed his hand on Joab’s shoulder. “I fully intend on getting our families back.” He turned and faced the crowd. “The LORD has guaranteed success in battle. He whittled Gideon’s troops down at a river. He’s doing the same now. For those of you who can’t cross the water stay here and guard the supplies. Everyone else follow me.”
Four hundred men crossed with David. Two hundred stayed behind.
An hour later some men carried a young man to David. David gave him the remainder of his fig cake and some water.
The young man looked at David a minute later, then at the men around him.
David crouched down. “Where are you from?”
“I’m a slave from Egypt. I was left here three days ago when I got too sick to travel. We raided some villages and burned Ziklag.”
David lifted the young man by his shoulders to his feet. “Can you take us to these marauders?”
The young man swallowed. “Promise me you won’t kill me or turn me back over to my master and I will.”
David smiled. “I don’t expect you master to survive the day. You’ll be free to go then.”
A southern breeze carried the smoke to David and his men. They spread out and crested the hill to find their families huddled in the midst of a party scene.
The sound of Goliath’s old sword being removed from it’s sheath broke the silence. Other men followed suit. David held his sword in front of him and gave a loud yell. The massacre continued through the next day. A few men escaped on camels.
David took longer to lead his family and flocks back to the Brook Besor than when they left the men there. He praised God nobody from their families was killed.
When he crossed the brook an argument was taking place.
One of the men who fought valiantly stood toe-to-toe with one of the men who couldn’t go on earlier. “You shall have no part of the spoils of war. You can have your wife and children, but that’s it.”
David grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. “NO. Those who stayed with the supplies served a vital function here. The spoils will be distributed evenly. As a matter of fact I plan on repaying some of the villagers we begged food from before.”
Once David got his bearings back by leaning on God’s guidance he emulated Christ in marvelous ways here. I see three major themes in play.
1. He showed mercy to the Egyptian slave. When they came across a cast off from the raiding party revenge wasn’t taken on him, even though he was likely an accomplice. David displayed mercy by feeding him and letting him live.
2. He exacted justice on the Amalekites. We don’t often think of Jesus’ justice being played out because it hasn’t taken place, yet. But when it does there will be no mistaking it. It will be fatal and final.
3. He extended grace to those who couldn’t fight. For the men too tired to cross the river David shared the spoils of war. Perhaps he realized if he had left some men behind when they left for the first war their families may have been left alone.
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Have you been holding back on showing mercy to someone? Is there someone at work, or church, or a family member who wronged you in some way who you need to forgive. No, they may not have it coming to them, and they may have injured you greatly, but haven’t you let that weight hold you down long enough?
That poison of bitterness isn’t affecting them as much as it’s working against you and your relationship with God.
Release it now. Lay it at the foot of the cross and tell that person you forgive them. Your walk will be sweeter.
Is there a blatant law that’s been broken that you haven’t had the fortitude to enforce? There are times to make someone pay for a crime they’ve committed. If you let them go they’ll continue to do it to someone else. Consequences are necessary for wrongs done. Seek guidance and assistance. Then do the right thing.
God will comfort you in remarkable ways when you come out the other side. Then you can comfort others going through the same ordeal.
Take that step now. Notify the proper authorities and stop the actions of a selfish person. Your spine will be stronger.
Can you think of someone who needs total grace from you today? What they did may have been malicious on their part. They may have ruined your reputation by spreading a rumor. Maybe they took something from you that can never be restored. Can the grace of God shown you at the cross be mirrored to them at this time?
The relationship that will be made strongest will be between you and God.
That person may have never been accepted by anyone before. Your act of grace can show them the love of God like nothing ever will.
I know what you’re thinking now: “How do I know when to do each of these attributes of God for each circumstance?”
If we had an ephod, like David did, we could more easily have an answer. But, since we don’t, I have a few suggestions.
Get familiar with your Bible. God shows us examples of each one laid out.
Get godly advice from godly people. Your pastor or trusted Christian friend should be able to help.
Get advice from the source of wisdom. Pray for God’s guidance.
I’ll see you later. Wade