November 27, 2021
Scripture: And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 ESV
Observation: David, having returned to Ziklag (the city where his and his fighting men’s families resided), discovered that the Amalekites had razed Ziklag to the ground and had taken captive all of their loved ones. Even though David has demonstrated loyal leadership, his men were so greatly grieved over their perceived losses that their emotions were getting the best of them. So they talked of stoning David, but David “strengthen himself in the LORD.” How so? He instructed his priest, Abiathar, to bring the ephod (sacred lots cast before Yahweh to seek his will on a matter). In this instance, David wanted to know if he and his men should pursue the band of marauders. God confirmed their victory and the rescue of their families—and so it was.
Takeaway: As leaders of others, we will encounter moments when elements beyond our control cause much grief for ourselves and those who follow us. Anger is a typical leading response. We are looking for someone to blame, and the leader is the easiest target. So how should we respond? Like David, seek the Lord. Well, maybe not by casting lots. In this age of the New Covenant, our Counselor, the Holy Spirit, will guide us in prayer, that we might discern the next steps. But the critical precursor is to check ourselves from reacting to our emotions and find space to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. How so? After acknowledging the pain of our present circumstances to those around us, humbly ask them to give us time to pray and discern how to move forward—and ask them to do the same. When we feel helpless in these quiet moments, we will gain comforting assurance and insights—and strength in the Lord.
Prayer: Father God, in your mercy, when we struggle to know how to move forward during trials, would you please help us to retreat in the presence of your Holy Spirit, that we might discern your will and find strength in you? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling