Anchoring Our Reactions in the Lord

(I Samuel 30:1-8)

I Samuel 30:8 – 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.

David enquired at the LORD” – though one could understand if David perhaps had thought the Lord may have left him, with the situation David and his men were facing, but that is where faith comes in, we need to exercise faith and put faith into practice in those situations, we especially don’t understand, and trust and rely on the Lord to provide comfort, to provide hope and to provide direction and to provide guidance as to what our next step should be.

John Wesley commenting on verse eight, on how God answers prayers said “Before (in the past), God answered more slowly and gradually (I Samuel 23:11, 12) but now He answers speedily, and fully at once, because the business required haste.  So gracious is our God that He considers even the degree of our necessities, and accommodates Himself to them.”

We need to do what David did in the situation we find him in, in our text, and that is he first “encouraged himself in the Lord” – no better place to encourage yourself than in the Lord; and he then “enquired at the Lord” to get direction as to what action to take, as to how to react to all that was going on around him and how to help those around him with their reactions to the stressful situation they all were facing.

BACKGROUND: David had just left his service to Achish. He was battle weary. He and his men travelled a three days march back home to get some rest and renewal with their families. David and his men came to the town they were staying at, Ziklag, only to find it in ruins. It had been burned down and all their possessions carried off. Their families were missing. David and his mighty men it says in verse 4 “lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” – Their initial reaction a natural reaction.

At this low point David turns to the Lord and it says in verse six that “David encouraged himself in the LORD”. David chose intentionally to encourage himself in the Lord. Now David turns to the Lord for hope and seeks Him out for wisdom and direction as to what He should do and seeking how to ground, filter and anchor his reactions to this situation through the Lord. (Hebrews 6:19 – Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast…)

THE PROVIDENTIAL DEPENDENCE OF DAVID -After David “encouraged himself in the Lord”. He immediately sought out the Lords council and direction. (I Samuel 30:6-7 – And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 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.)

Different people react in different ways to the same circumstances, because what life does to us depends on what life finds in us. Some of the people wanted to stone David, which was certainly a foolish response. They needed their leader now more than ever, and how would his death solve their problem? We don’t blame the men for being grieved, but we question them in how they allowed their hearts to run ahead of their heads.

David knew that the encouragement he needed could only come from the Lord. He ordered Abiathar the priest to bring the ephod and together they sought the will of the Lord. Saul had consulted the Lord but had received no answer (28:3–6), but the Lord graciously replied to David’s request. David was hardly in a place of complete obedience, but God answered him just the same (Ps. 103:3–10).

  • David depended on guidance, grace and strength from the Lord in his time of distress. Do we do the same? Do we make this a practice in our life? Is this our reaction to events like this in our life?
  • Some people can get bitter and impatient in a time of distress but David in his time of distress turned to the Lord, the one who could help him. (Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.) – And this is exactly what David did in this situation.

Commenting of this situation David found himself in Matthew Henry said this “When David was at his wits’ end he was not at his faith’s end.”

  • We need to submissively place our dependence for all of our needs in the hands of our Heavenly Father. We need to follow the example of Jesus that He laid out for us in the Gospels. (Mark 14:36 – And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.)

PRAYER FOR GUIDANCEI’m sure David already had the thought to go after the people that did this great injustice to him and his mighty men. No one would have thought badly of him for doing so. But notice how David had disciplined himself to ground and anchor his reaction in the Lord and the Lords will and to submissively be willing to give the situation, and his reaction to it, over to the Lord. David prayed to the Lord for guidance first. (I Samuel 30:8a – And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?)

David enquired of the Lord both concerning his duty—“Shall I pursue after this troop?” and concerning the event—“Shall I overtake them?” I Samuel 30:8. If we, just as David did in this situation, acknowledge God, we may expect that He will direct our steps, as He did David’s here, answering David above what he asked, with an assurance that he should recover all.

  • David’s reaction was to pray to the Lord, it was to depend on the Lord for the answer – how are our reactions to stressful situations, are they the same as David’s was here? Or do we try to solve our own problems in our own power?
  • David did not rely on his own “wisdom” but prayed to the Lord for an answer as to what to do. (I Corinthians 2:5 -That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.)
  • David in seeking the Lord out first acknowledges his submission and dependence on the Lord. – Are we submitting ourselves to the Lord? Are we acknowledging our dependence on Him and His sovereignty in our life?
  • Notice the second half of verse 8. (I Samuel 30:8b – And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.) The Lord answers David’s prayer. – PURSUE!

“Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do – then do it with all your might!” – President George Washington.

PURSUE! – The answer David submissively prayed for. Sometimes when we think we know what God’s answer to our prayer will be we still need to get on our knee’s and submissively depend on Him for the answer before we act. (I Samuel 30:9a – So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor)

  • David prayed to the Lord for help in his time of distress. The Lord gave him a clear answer to his prayer. “So David went” the Lord spoke and, now notice David’s reaction to this direction from the Lord, immediately David followed the Lords direction. Is this how we react to the Lord’s direction or to the Lords Word? (Luke 5:24-25a – But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them…)
  • When the Lord “speaks” to us we need to be willing to immediately do what He leads us to do. Don’t hesitate once you get the answer from the Lord, pursue it to completion.
  • I Samuel 30:9b-10 – “and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.”
  • But David pursued”Some adversity came right away. We should not expect things to always be easy in our life. We will face obstacles, even in pursuing the Lords will, but persevere and as you follow the Lord He will never ever let you down. David followed the Lords answer to prayer but 1/3 of his men were too physically and emotionally weary to continue.
  • After losing 1/3 of his men, David now has to go after those that burned down Ziklag and abducted his family with just 400 men left.
  • But David pursued”Notice David’s continued reaction was to trust the Lord, to follow the Lord, to keep reacting to situations in the way the Lord would have him to react. David’s reactions were anchored in the Lord. Don’t lose faith in the face of adversity. If you know it is the Lords will don’t waver, don’t stop – instead PURSUE! (Proverbs 24:10 – If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.)
  • Sometimes the Lord will reveal His will to us then test us the see how determined we are to follow his will. Pursue! (James 1:12 – Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.)

PROVIDE FOR OTHERS IN THE MIDST OF YOUR TRIAL We should not walk around with tunnel vision when we are seeking to do the Lords will. Be willing to be detoured off your planned route for the day. That very detour may be planned for you by God to help answer a need you have. (I Samuel 30:11-12 – And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.)

  • God by His providence both provides for the needs of the poor stranger, and then made him a guide for David; thus helping to provide for David’s need too.
  • David and his men gave out of their own necessity to meet the needs of this Egyptian boy. Be willing to be used of God to meet others needs both physically and spiritually, no matter the hardship or trial you may be personally going through at the time. (Mark 12:44 – For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.)
  • David and his men in their time of great distress and heartbreak saw a need that someone else had and took of their own provision and time to meet that need.
  • Ministering to others in their time of need can be the best therapy for helping us through our own time of distress and need. (Galatians 6:2 – Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.)

PRUDENCE OF THE PROVISION – God revealed more of His will and answer to David’s prayer as he was willing to stop and help meet someone else’s needs. (I Samuel 30:13 -14 – And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days ago I fell sick. We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.)

  • Though David and his men were in a hurry they stopped and helped this Egyptian. And it turned out to be a Divine appointment. Because helping this young man was the key to finding their loved ones. (I John 4:21 – And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.)
  • The Egyptian gave an account of his party and what they had been doing. And his party was the very party David and his men were looking for.
  • Because this young man was abandoned when he was sick and in need, he was more than willing to help those who actually cared for him and assisted him and provided for him in his time of need. God uses the foolish things of this world to confound those who think they are wise. (I Corinthians 1:27 – But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;) God used the weak sickly servant of the Amalikites to lead to their downfall.
  • The Lord will do things like this. We get ourselves in a hurry going about doing a lot of works for Him but what He would really like us to do sometimes is stop, slow down and minister to someone’s needs.
  • The Lord will bless our efforts for Him. In our time of distress take time to help others. The help we give others may lead to the answers we were praying for. (I John 3:11 – For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.)

THE PLEASURE IN FOLLOWING THE LORD’S WILL IN SPITE OF ADVERSITY – David sought to get closer to God is his time of distress. He prayed for the Lords will and he kept on doing the Lords will even though he encountered setbacks along the way.

  • The Egyptian boy led them to the camp of the Amalekites (those who burned Ziklag and kidnapped their families). David and his mighty men then attacked the Amelikites and destroyed them. (I Samuel 30:17 – And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.)
  • David surprised them with the attack. The spoil the Amalekits had taken was recovered. All their families were reunited and much more was gained in the process. (I Samuel 30:19 – And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.) & (Hebrews 11:6 – 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.) – And David did diligently seek Him and David recovered all!
  • God promises to reward those that seek diligently to do His will.
  • Could the Lord reward us based on our effort in diligently seeking to do His will?
  • David and his men took all that belonged to the Amelikites besides what they originally had. God loves to bless us with even more than we prayed for. (Ephesians 3:20– Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,)
  • If God were to give us only what we prayed for, how little or how much would we receive?
  • Would we miss out on a blessing. Don’t limit God with our prayers of little faith.
  • Claim the promises of God and boldly pray to our Heavenly Father. (Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.)
  • Now those men, who in verse six spoke of stoning David, were now praising his name. God can restore your reputation if it has been unjustly sullied by someone. (Psalm 60:12 – Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.)
  • God rewards the faithfulness of his people. (Proverbs 28:20a – A faithful man shall abound with blessings:)
  • God will take care of his people. (John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.)

Charles Spurgeon said this about David in this passage of Scripture “David proved the God of truth may be trusted, and that the heart which waits upon the Lord will be comforted.”

  • God can help us through our problems and get us to the other side of them. God can help us recover all, like He did with David and bless us with more beside. (Luke 18:27 – And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.)

IN CONCLUSION: David depended on guidance, grace and strength from the Lord in his time of distress. Do we do this? Do we make this a practice in our life? Is this our reaction to events like this in our life? David had disciplined himself to ground and anchor his reaction in the Lord and the Lords will and to submissively be willing to give the situation, and his reaction to it, over to the Lord.

David prayed to the Lord for guidance first. David did not rely on his own wisdom but prayed to the Lord for an answer as to what to do. Sometimes even when we think we know what God’s answer to our prayer will be we still need to get on our knee’s and submissively depend on Him for the answer before we act. David’s reaction was to pray to the Lord, it was to depend on the Lord for the answer – how are our reactions to stressful situations, are they the same as David’s was here? Or do we try to solve our own problems in our own power?

When the Lord “speaks” to us we need to be willing to immediately do what He leads us to do. Don’t hesitate once you get the answer from the Lord, pursue it to completion. Sometimes the Lord will reveal His will to us to test us to see how determined we are to follow His will (James 1:12).

We need to not always just think of ourselves when we are going through a trial. Seek to be used of God to meet others needs too. God revealed more of His will and answer to David’s prayer as he was willing to stop and help meet someone else’s needs. The Lord will bless our efforts for Him. In your time of distress take time to help others.

We need to always be anchoring our reactions in the Lord. We need to develop the spiritual discipline, like David did in this terrible situation, and have reactions to stressful events anchored in the Lord and filtered through Him and His Word. Remember to keep the Lord first in all parts of your life. The Lord will not ever leave us all alone in a problem or emotionally stressful situation, He will be there for us and ready to help us anchor our faith and our reactions in Him, just as David showed us in this passage.

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