8: Weariness: It is Alright to Rest

Scripture: 1 Samuel 27, 29 & 30

In the wave of weariness, David hits the pause button on good thoughts.  David leaves and defects into the hands of the enemy.  He leads his men into the land of idols and false gods.  Initially, David feels relief.  Saul gives up the chase.  David’s men can sleep with both eyes closed.  Hiding out with the enemy brings temporary relief.

David strikes a deal with Achish, the king of Gath and Achish grants David a village, Ziklag, and asks only that David turn against his own people and kill them.  As far as Achish knows, David does.  But David actually raids the enemies of the Hebrews.  Not David’s finest hour.  He lies to the Philistine King and covers up his deceit with bloodshed.  He continues this duplicity for sixteen months. From this season no psalms exist.

The Philistines decide to attack King Saul.  David and his men opt to switch sides and join the opposition.  But the Philistine officers reject them. David leads his unwanted men back to Ziklag, only to find the village burned to the ground.  The Amalekites had destroyed it and kidnapped all the wives, sons, and daughters.  The sorrow of the men mutates into anger, not against the Amalekites, but against David.  So they start grabbing stones.  

While six hundred men stoke their anger, David seeks his God. “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). How essential that we learn to do the same.  Support systems don’t always support.  Friends aren’t always friendly.  When no one can help, we have to do what David does.  He turns toward God.

Freshly commissioned, David redirects the men’s anger toward the enemy.  They set out in pursuit of the Amalekites. The army reaches a brook called Besor, and they dismount.  Hearing the command to move on, two hundred choose to rest.

David and the remaining four hundred fighters resume the chase. The Amalekites have a large lead and have left no clues.  But then they find a disabled Egyptian who was left behind by the Amalekites to starve in the desert.  David’s men nurse him back to life with figs and raisins and ask the servant to lead them to the campsite of the Amalekites.

David and his men attack their enemy.  Every Israelite woman and child is rescued.  The Amalekites leave precious plunder behind.  

What about the two hundred men who had rested?  You might feel the way some of David’s men felt.  “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children.” (30:22).  

David replied, “Don’t do that after what the Lord has given us.  He has protected us and given us the enemy who attacked us.  Who will listen to what yous ay?  The share will be the same for the one who stayed with the supplies as for the one who went into battle.  All will share alike.”(30: 23-24).  David’s words:  they “stayed with the supplies,” as if this had been their job.  They hadn’t asked to guard supplies; they wanted to rest.  But David dignifies their decision to stay.  

Brook Besor blesses rest.  Brook Besor also cautions against arrogance.  David knew the victory was a gift.  Let’s remember the same.  Salvation comes like the Egyptian in the desert, a delightful surprise on the path.  Unearned.  Undeserved.  Who are the strong to criticize the tired?  Are you weary?  Catch your breath.  Are you strong?  Reserve passing judgment on the tired.

Reference:  Facing your giants:  God still does the impossible by Max Lucado

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