From the Bottom Up
1 Samuel 30
King David’s psalms reveal that he faced some very lonely times. However, few experiences compared to his utter despair over the ashes of his city, Ziklag. The story of how he reached such anguished depths actually begins much earlier—at a time when his faith failed.
After years of fleeing from King Saul’s death threats, David was discouraged and weary. He’d believed God’s promise to make him king, but now he began to waver in his certainty. So he did what many of us do—he resorted to human reasoning. Under the circumstances, his best option appeared to be seeking refuge among the Philistines, who were Israel’s enemies (1 Sam. 27:1). Blinded by his seemingly hopeless situation, David stepped out of God’s will in order to get beyond Saul’s reach. His lapse may have been just temporary, but it nonetheless proved significant: he stopped believing that God could guide him safely through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4).
Several months later, the future king entered his ruined city to discover that his wealth, his family, and his people had been taken. David’s band of warriors prepared to take out their frustration and anger on him. From the bottom of this pit of despair, a humbled man looked to God and found his strength and his faith renewed (1 Sam. 30:6).
Oftentimes, we reach our lowest points because we stop trusting in the Lord. At such times, it’s easy to give in to the temptation of taking matters into our own hands. When we do,it’s easy to wind up in a mess. But if we look to the Lord again, we will see the way out of our pit and back into His will.
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