1 Samuel 30:6
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved…
I. CORRECTION. David, being a true but faulty child of God, was corrected by the rod. Quickly fell stroke after stroke. First he had to bear the galling scorn and suspicion of the Philistine lords. This was all he had gained by cajoling their king. Next he had to see Ziklag plundered and burnt. This was all he had gained by attacking the Amalekites and concealing the deed. Next, and in some respects most trying of all, he saw the loyalty of his own followers swept away in their passionate grief. "The people spake of stoning him." This was all he had gained by all his unworthy devices to save his own life. All refuge failed him. So God in loving kindness scourges his children now when they have faltered in faith, and, mistrusting his defence, have betaken themselves to some Ziklag, some position unworthy of them. Their new confidences reject them, and they have to sit like David in dust and ashes.
II. ITS HAPPY ISSUE. Faith revived. When all refuge failed him, David returned to his Divine stronghold. "He encouraged himself in Jehovah his God." Mark the contrast with Saul. When that unhappy king was stricken he departed from God more and more, hardened his heart in pride, found no place of repentance, and at last betook himself to unhallowed and forbidden arts. So we find Saul passing from gloom into thicker and blacker shadow, while David emerges into the sunshine. Such is the happy experience of many of the children of God. Faith revives in distress, and darkness turns to light. This, too, as the New Testament teaches us, always by the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, reviving childlike trust rekindling holy courage. The way in which David's recovered faith wrought in him is full of instruction for us.
1. Revived faith rests on the Divine word of promise. David had let the promise of the kingdom made to him through Samuel slip from his mind when he began to despair of his life; and it is remarkable that he gave way to this fear at a time when there was a lull in the persecution directed against him. But when real danger was upon him, when he had lost all, and his own followers turned against him, his faith again caught hold of the Divine promise. He could not die then and there, for the purpose of the Lord must stand, the word of the Lord must be fulfilled. Now those who believe in Christ have the promise of eternal life in him. In hours of relaxed diligence they perhaps let it slip; but under real pressure faith revives and grasps the promise again. They shall not perish. They may be humbled and distressed, and they will acknowledge that they have brought this on themselves; but they are persuaded that he is faithful who promised, and so will not cast them off. He has said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;" so that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper."
2. Revived faith takes to prayer and to diligent effort. The first thing which David did was to inquire of God. Faith restored always acts thus. Rising against discouragement, it is sure that God can turn darkness into light, loss into gain, death into life, and simply asks for direction. "What shall I do? Shall I sit still, or shall I move? Shall I pursue?" There are trials and dangers in which the only wise course is to be quite patient and passive; the "strength is to sit still." When Daniel was cast to the lions his faith was shown in not struggling with the wild beasts, but sitting among them calm and still till rescue came at break of day. So may a Christian fall into a den of troubles out of which no effort of his own can bring him up; and his faith is shown in prayer and waiting on God, who is able to send his angel to minister to the weak and protect the helpless. Those whose faith has not failed at all may do more than pray - may sing praises, as Paul and Silas did in the dark dungeon. Other cases there are, and more frequent, in which prayer should be promptly followed by active exertion. David did not ask the Lord to work a miracle, or send angels, to restore to him what the Amalekites had taken. It was possible for him and his men to pursue, overtake, and defeat the spoilers. So he asked the Lord whether he should pursue; and receiving the Divine command to do so, he addressed himself at once to the pursuit, and obtained a splendid success. Such is the energetic action of revived faith. Difficulties go down before its resolutions, and lost things come back to him who boldly pursues. Tears of defeat are turned into songs of victory. The troubles that afflict the people of God are to a large extent chastisements for unbelief or unfaithfulness. At the time they are not joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised thereby. Such are sufferings in sympathy with David. But to some extent those troubles are in sympathy with and for the sake of the Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ. In such a case we have the comfort that
"Christ leads us through no darker rooms
Than he went through before." He is touched with a feeling of our infirmities. He has wept and he has loved. So if we are despoiled, he is our present help, and through him we may do valiantly and recover all. If messengers of Satan buffet us, his grace is sufficient for us, for his "strength is made perfect in weakness." - F.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David strengthened himself in Yahweh his God.