Summary: David, Pt. 7 of 15
THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS (1 SAM 30)
When my wife and I sold our old house and bought a new one just about at the start of the new millenium recession, we ended up living in a better location, buying a more expensive house, and starting with a new mortgage. Like most homebuyers, we had to sell their old house before we could afford a new one. Unemployment was rising, but interest rates were down, and house values were rising, so the time was right to sell.
Selling our old house was necessary to lessen the mortgage on the new house. No couple in the right frame of mind would hold on to both, unless they have family money. Besides, the fear that the housing market would burst caused many to sell the old and plough the money into the new.
After we had sold the old house, I could almost kicked myself when the home rose in two years to more than $100,000, which would have covered my new mortgage. Occasionally the regret at the back of my mind tied me up in knots. The thought kept coming back: “If we had held on to the house, we would be free of mortgage.” My wife said, “(You) Cannot possibly think that way (Bu keyi zheyang xiang).” True, even experts did not know that stocks would plunge, housing was hot, and buyers were eager.
Someone makes this observation, “Half of life is if.” Many people couldn’t help but say “If we had this and if we had that,” “If only we had done this and not done that,” and “Oh, if my parents or if my kids or if my spouse or if my job or if my friends or if people or if I were and were not like this and that...”
Running from Saul, David decided to best way to escape Saul was to stay out of the king’s reach, even if it meant living in the land of the Philistines (1 Sam 27:1) for a year and four months (1 Sam 27:7). David and his men had to walk a tight rope and to do a balancing act in hostile territory, and their loyalty was put to the test when the Philistines and the Israelites were on a collision path (1 Sam 29:1). David was on good terms with the king but the commanders or princes (1 Sam 29:3) and the rulers or lords of the Philistines (1 Sam 29:7) protested his inclusion in the Philistine army. David was spared a headache on the battlefield, but not a heartache at home when he returned to his village. The Amalekites took full advantage of David’s occupation with the two armies’ battle to a heartbreaking effect. Overnight, everything David and his men worked so hard for and people that meant everything to them were taken from them.
What is your hope when you are useless, helpless and defenseless? Who do you turn to? Who can you trust in? Who can you talk to? Can you turn tragedy into triumph or calamity into conquest or affliction into achievement?
YOU CAN’T CHOOSE THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT YOU CAN CHOOSE THE COLORS YOU LOOK THROUGH
30:1 David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. 3 When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured-Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. (1 Sam 30:1-6)
Tragedy, pain and loss are part of life. Suffering is inevitable; it often comes unannounced, unsolicited, and in force or in pairs. The Chinese say, “Ill fortune often occurs eight to nine times out of ten.” The English has a proverb that says, “It doesn’t rain; it pours.”
Someone said to a woman who was in the midst of great sorrow, “Sorrow does color life, doesn’t it?” “Yes, and I propose to choose the colors,” was the reply. (Oswald Sanders 68 The Best that I Can Be)
It’s been said, “God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.”
David and his men had no house, family, or city to return to. The Amalekites raided Negev but attacked and burned Ziklag (v 14). The word for “attack” in Hebrew is “slaughter.” You might remember that Saul spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:8); and David reaped the fruit of Saul’s disobedience. The raiders had taken boys, girls, and mothers (v 2). Those not worth taking were killed by the sword or died by fire. None was spared. The destruction, the desolation and the dead left nothing but tears on David and his men’s eyes. David and his men wept until they could weep no more.