Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;The Golden Art of Self-encouragement
1 Samuel 30:6
'He ran to his cordial' is the sententious comment of John Trapp. He sorely needed a cordial. What mercy that he knew where the cordial was! He discovered it in the heart of God.
David's soul was overwhelmed within him. Every prospect was doleful. Black skies frowned over his head. He was exhausted. All the springs seemed dried up. 'But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.' Yes, He knew his cordial, and in the exigent hour he ran to it.
Here we have often, all of us, a great community with David. We cannot follow him in some of his supremely exultant moods, but in his depression and depletion we have a strong affinity with him. We are one with him in the deep and dire need of encouragement.
I. Seasons for the Exercise of this Golden Art.—We need to be proficient in this art (1) amid personal sorrow; (2) in social distress; (3) in depression; (4) when the results of our evil past come on; (5) when old age gathers upon us.
II. Reasons for the Development of this Golden Art.—We need to encourage ourselves in the Lord our God because of the powerlessness of human help. How little we can do for ourselves, and how little others can do for us in the critical hours of life!
It is not in man to strengthen himself with effectual strength. Experience shows the illusiveness of mortal forces. When Ziklag lies in ruins whither shall David turn but to God?
III. Methods of Practising this Golden Art—How shall we encourage ourselves in the Lord our God? We must do it (1) by prayer; (2) by the realization of God we encourage ourselves in Him. To sit down amid the shadows and contemplate our loving Lord is to be restored in soul; (3) by recollecting the saints of the past; (4) by searching the Scriptures.
IV. Benefits which this Golden Art Educes.—They reap a wealthy harvest who encourage themselves in the Lord their God. Solid comfort is theirs! When we address ourselves to God He wonderfully soothes our sorrow. 'No marvel that God remembered David in all his troubles,' says John Trapp, 'since in all his troubles David remembered God.' The Lord is to us, in this matter, as we are to Him. If we remember Him He will not fail to remember us. Wondrous solace our God affords. It is unspeakable. Deeper than the depths of grief it penetrates. In a thousand ways God comforteth the lowly.
—Dinsdale T. Young, The Gospel of the Left Hand, p. 97.
References.—XXX. 6.—C. Bradley, The Christian Life, p. 239. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. ii. p. 195. XXX. 6-8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvii. No. 1606. XXX. 18.—C. Bradley, The Christian Life, p. 225. XXX. 24.—M. G. Glazebrook, Prospice, p. 157. XXX. 24, 25.—J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in a Religious House, vol. i. p. 313.
And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.
So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.
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.
And David inquired 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.
So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, 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.
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.
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 agone 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.
And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.
And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.
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.
And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
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.
And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David's spoil.
And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.
Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.
Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.
For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.
And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.
And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;
To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,
And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,
And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,
And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,
And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.