August 31, 2023

Earnestly seek out God's will in any situation instead of relying on your own ideas and desires.

1 Samuel 30

Christina Troell
Thursday's Devo

August 31, 2023

Thursday's Devo

August 31, 2023

Big Idea

Outward appearances can be deceiving. God looks at the heart.

Key Verse | 1 Samuel 30:7-8

And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. And David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?" He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue."

1 Samuel 30

David's Wives Are Captured

Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all 1 30:2 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David's two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, 2 30:6 Compare 22:2 each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” So David set out, and the six hundred men who were with him, and they came to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind stayed. 10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men. Two hundred stayed behind, who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor.

11 They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink, 12 and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit revived, for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 And David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” He said, “I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14 We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15 And David said to him, “Will you take me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this band.”

David Defeats the Amalekites

16 And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18 David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. 20 David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him, 3 30:20 The meaning of the Hebrew clause is uncertain and said, “This is David's spoil.”

21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” 23 But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. 24 Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 25 And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.

26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD.” 27 It was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, 28 in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, 29 in Racal, in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, in the cities of the Kenites, 30 in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, 31 in Hebron, for all the places where David and his men had roamed.


[1] 30:2 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks and all
[2] 30:6 Compare 22:2
[3] 30:20 The meaning of the Hebrew clause is uncertain

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Dive Deeper | 1 Samuel 30

Here we find David on a truly dark day. After years of persecution, pain is heaped upon pain as he sits in the smoke and ashes of Ziklag, weeping until no strength remains. Something beautiful happens, however, in 1 Samuel 30:6. Instead of wallowing in fear or even loneliness after his men turned on him, David strengthens himself in the LORD his God. As Charles Spurgeon said, "The air blows strong and fresh from the everlasting mountains now that the man of God is looking to God alone."

The Bible does not outline all the methods David used to strengthen himself in the Lord, but we can draw clues from earlier chapters. First, David had a pattern of recalling God's provision of salvation. As a young shepherd standing before King Saul, David had recounted with confidence that it was God who saved him from the lion and bear and would do so again with the giant Goliath. Even in the midst of his grief here, David likely dwelled on the many times that God had miraculously worked on his behalf before and trusted in Him to work on his behalf again. 

Second, David had a friend who encouraged him in the Lord, and David may have recollected his words and his example. In 1 Samuel 23:16, David's friend Jonathan had encouraged him in the Lord when David's life was threatened. The words of faithful friends can be present in moments even when the friends themselves are not. Finally, and most importantly, David sought God's direction in 1 Samuel 30:8. Not trusting his own wisdom, David prayed to ask God whether he should pursue his enemy.

David was staggered by the loss, yet he knew the source of his strength. If you have never experienced your own Ziklag or learned to trust in God, let me encourage you that He is the true source of your strength. God alone is worthy of your trust and capable of transforming the ashes in your life into perfect victory just as He did for David.

This month's memory verse

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

– Mark 10:45

Discussion Questions

1. If you are walking through days of darkness, what are some specific ways to encourage yourself in the Lord?

2. Can you recall some ways that God defended you or did something truly extraordinary in your life? Would you take the time to record these memories of the goodness of God and share them with someone?

3. Do you have a faithful friend who has modeled a close walk with the Lord and encouraged you in Him as Jonathan did for David? What specifically has this person done to encourage you? If you don't have such a friend, what steps could you take to invite someone like this into your life?

Respond to Today's Passage

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Hugh Stephenson

Good morning, Christina, Love your Spurgeon quotation, ”The air blows strong and fresh from the everlasting mountains now that the man of God is looking to God alone." Amen. Also love this - “David was staggered by the loss, [Ziklag], yet he knew the source of his strength. If you have never experienced your own Ziklag or learned to trust in God, let me encourage you that He is the true source of your strength. God alone is worthy of your trust and capable of transforming the ashes in your life into perfect victory just as He did for David.” Q1. I learned the hard way not to isolate- but to seek out God’s people, bathe in his Word and connect with His spirit. Faithfulness to His call for community, His Word and His spirt is the answer. Q2. The kindness, patience, and mercy of God in our life has been unreal. Rather than more words I’ll reprise these links from the WM news and the re:gen site. ,, Q3. Communing with God’s people is among the greatest blessings I have ever known. Lots and lots of these friends. The biggest frequency is my fellow leaders Ian the Prodigal monastery. 9 years now walking tougher with arms locked. The highs have been exhilarating and the lows and have been devastating.

Hugh Stephenson

In studying the Word of God I see that some figures start strong and finish weak. Others reverse this. Still others go back and forth in either a zig-zag downward or upward. David seems to be in a zig-zag upward. It seems his low points came in planning to kill Nabal for being rude. Then aligning with the Philistines. What’s interesting is that this chapter and the next one seem to be the end of David’s leadership training and the end of the contrast between his rise and Saul’s decline. Saul’s consulting a medium rather than seeking to inquire of the Lord strikes me as his final “nail-in-the-coffin.” From chapter 16 onward the notes have this intro: The Story of Saul and David - Now that Saul has been completely disqualified as king, David is introduced as his successor, and God trains David, through suffering, to lead his people. So it seems the “teaching through suffering” of this phase is coming to an end. I see David’s leadership and his decisions as validating his readiness. Most importantly he is back to consistently praying and inquiring of the LORD. —————————— I often describe the Prodigal ministry as a process of understanding God’s design for all relationships. That is certainly true for parents of prodigal children whether minors or adults. The same principles are true for spouses, bosses, neighbors etc. Perhaps the most important element in all these is understanding God’s design for leadership. As a pastor friend says, “In leadership, you can be a servant leader or you can be a bully. These are your two choices.”. As is so often the case I see this here in the persons of David and Saul.

Hugh Stephenson

From the notes - “In his distress David, as usual, strengthened himself in the LORD by relying on Yahweh and inquiring of Him (vv. 6- 8). From the Psalms we know that David often did this by looking back on God's past faithfulness, looking up in prayer, and looking forward with God's promises in view.” “David's genius was his spiritual resilience." "... Yahweh is never mentioned in 1 Sam. 27:1—28:2, with the only direct reference being from Achish in 29:6. By contrast, Yahweh is mentioned frequently in this chapter [vv. 6, 8, 23, 26]. ... This represents a fundamental shift in David's approach since he arrived in Philistine territory, and presents him in a theologically positive manner." "Both David and Saul are portrayed as persons in deep crises of leadership, and both are deeply at risk. What interests us is the difference of response. ... Saul seeks refuge in a medium [but David inquired of the LORD]." Most impressive to me is how he handles the plunder from the Amalekites. “Many victorious kings have used surplus plunder to enrich themselves and to build grandiose palaces; David used these first spoils to show his gratitude to the citizens of those areas and towns in Judah where he and his men had wandered when being pursued by Saul." “This chapter presents many qualities that mark strong, effective leadership. These include: empathy (v. 4), faith (vv. 6, 8, 23, 26), decisiveness (v. 10), kindness (v. 12), persistence (v. 17), integrity (v. 23), fairness (v. 24), and generosity (vv. 21-31), to name a few. We can also see development in David's restraint, as compared to his dealings with Nabal (cf. ch. 25). David's effectiveness also contrasts with Saul's ineffectiveness as a leader. Chapters 19—30 reveal that David's behavior improved as a result of the adversity that he had to endure (cf. James 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-7).” David's wise leadership of the Israelites ch. 30 This chapter reveals many qualities that marked David as an outstanding leader. As Saul continued to decline, God perfected the characteristics of leadership in David that prepared him for the throne. The Amalekites' capture of Ziklag at first looked as if tragedy had struck, but later it proved to be a great blessing. In this respect, this event epitomized David's whole career (and that of Jesus Christ). As a result of this victory, the people of Judah came to regard David as the obvious successor to Saul's throne. The chiastic structure of the chapter focuses attention on the defeat of the Amalekites, the people that God had commissioned Israel's leaders, including Saul, to annihilate. "A David reaches destroyed Ziklag and finds it plundered (30:1-3). B David and his men are promised the Lord's help (30:4-8). C David defeats the Amalekites (30:9-20) B' David shares the Lord's plunder with his men (30:21-25). A' David returns to Ziklag and distributes the remaining plunder (30:26-31)."[590] “Saul, disobeying God's prophet, defeated the Amalekites but lost his kingdom (ch. 15); David, seeking God's will, defeats the Amalekites and embarks on his reign (ch. 30)." “One of the strongest emphases in this chapter is David's generosity. When God gives blessings, His people should view them as His gifts to us. We should share them with our fellow spiritual warriors and with our fellow spiritual citizens (cf. Heb. 13:16; Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 12:14-26; Gal. 6:10).” -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Speaking of the Amalekites, I could not help but laugh over their “early celebration”. Here’s some amazingly sad “early celebrations” from the sports world. And THE great one - Leon Lett in the Superbowl.

Michael Sisson

Re: 1Sam 30:23-34 1Sam 30:23-24 (NIV) David replied, >>>“No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us.<<< He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. >>>All will share alike.”<<< See Nu 31:27; Jos 22:8; Jdg 5:30; Mt 20:1-16

Shawn Foster

Outstanding Christina! This is timely, encouraging and powerful. We are repeatedly instructed to “remember” God’s faithfulness. Keeping a journal of prayers and praises, sharing it with friends in community, contacting those friends to let them know you are lifting them up are three simple yet effective ways to stoke the fire of encouragement. Having scripture in mind, on the tongue, pen and keyboard is even better. God’s word doesn’t come back void, right?!!! Thank you for leading by example. HAGWOW everyone.

Michael Scaman

The providence of God on display. A young man fell sick in the raid and was left behind in the open dessert who was able to tell David and his men what happened so they can rescue their wives and children. David is now preoccupied with the rescue. The Philistines are on the march towards Jezreel and Mt Gilboa for Saul's final battle and David will be held back from that conflict. Abigail, just gets married and David moves to the Philistines and she gets kidnapped. but the damsel in distress gets rescued. Her reactions should be in the movie version of this.

Sue Bohlin

Thanks so much, Christina. Verse 24 has been super important to me for decades. Ever since college when Ray and I joined the staff of Probe Ministries, we have partnered with God's people through prayer and financial support for the work He allows us to do defending the faith and teaching others why Christianity is true. Ray, especially, has been privileged to speak boldly on 6 of the 7 continents about God as Creator and how His creation points to His existence. Both of us have been privileged to use our voices in writing and speaking as apologists through radio, podcasts, and internet articles. None of the people who have funded our work are able to do the same things we get to do, but 1 Samuel 30:24 tells us that when it comes time for Jesus to reward faithfulness, our partners will share in the rewards for whatever good we have been able to do. Those who provide support through supplies get to share in the rewards after the work is done. David said it at the time and made it a lasting ordinance, and we look to that principle with joy that there are a lot of people who will share in the Lord's rewards along with us. This just makes my heart happy!

Amy Lowther

1. One, pray. Two, read the Bible, considering God’s values and how He sees things. Three, talk to a friend, discussing how God would handle things. 2. It is extraordinary God loves us unconditionally everyday no matter what we do or what we don’t do. 3. Yes, I know a person who does a good job walking with the Lord. The person encourages me to have a close relationship with the Lord by discussing life with me and how the Lord would see things. The person and I also work to help others value the Lord which helps all of us.

Greg Jones

… or a taco if it's a day that God has blessed me inordinately... Taco bout days that are inordinately blessed…sorry about that, but I hear you sister. Thought your clues from earlier chapters were outstanding. “First, David had a pattern of recalling God's provision of salvation”. That is an outstanding contrast to the prevailing group thought, “for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters.” A very current memory is dominating the current group thought around the water cooler as a future act, stoning David, is discussed. As you point out David adds a longer memory in innovating a different future act. Without the pattern you mentioned he could have easily accepted the condemnation of the people. Second, David had a friend who encouraged him in the Lord, and David may have recollected his words and his example. In this case it might be said David made a friend by his words and example in the case of the Egyptian servant. Again there’s a contrast between left behind sick without empathy and left behind due to exhaustion with empathy.

Jason Cromwell

Excellent devotional!!!!!! The thing that stands out the most to me from the story is: Even when something seems like common sense we should still consult God before moving forward. It seems like a no-brainer for a man of action like David to lead his men to get their families back, but David still has the wisdom to stop and ask God before proceeding. It encourages me to always stop before saying "Yes" to anything, and pray.