"Since I Laid My Burdens Down"
No matter where you live on this Earth, or what culture you're a part of, the one thing that we all have in common is that we are all constantly faced with having to make choices. Some of the choices we make are good, with great benefits, and some are very poor which have the ability to change or prevent our predetermined purpose or destiny from ever becoming a reality. Where we are in life today is primarily because of the choices we've made thus far. In 1 Samuel chapter 30 there is an inspiring story written about David at a time before he had become king, and it tells of an extremely important choice he was faced with in the midst of great adversity.
It opens with David and his men returning from the battle field to their home town of Ziklag. However, before they arrived, the town had been raided by the Amalekites who took everyone captive and burned the city to the ground. When David and his men came upon the site, they found the city completely destroyed, everyone and everything was gone - nothing but ash and rubble remained.
Just think of it, as they left home for the battle, they were care free and content, and life was very good. It's interesting to note that the word "Ziklag" literally means - measure pressed down. A name that represented their bountiful life while David and his men dwelt there for 16 months. It was a place where, on a continual basis, mighty men of valor were leaving the ranks and kingdom of Saul to join forces with David. To David this represented the favor of God as he became stronger and stronger.
Yes, while dwelling in Ziklag they were very prosperous, with loving families, loyal friends, abundant livestock, and favor with the Philistines. But they returned home on that fateful day to utter destruction - left with only the clothes on their backs and cut to the heart with the tragic loss of their loved ones, they found themselves feeling destitute, ravaged and alone. The sorrow and the grief that overtook them was so great that verse 4 tells us:, "They wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep."
It's an understatement to say that things were exceptionally bad for David at this time, but believe it or not they got worse! As human nature would have it, David's men began to turn from their great loyalty and found the need to place the blame squarely upon him (verse 6). They even began to talk of stoning David, making him pay for the tragedy that had come upon them!
Can you imagine what David's mind-set must have been like at this time, what his emotions must have been saying to him. After many years of being on the run for his very life, living in caves, continually roaming through the wilderness, moving from place to place to avoid the jealous rage of King Saul, David now finds himself in quite possibly the worst set of "circumstances" (serpent-stances) that he had ever faced. Not only did he lose all that was near and dear to him in life, but now he faces death at the hands of his friends, his beloved mighty men - truly he is all alone and seemingly at a very real dead end in his life.
These "circumstances" were set in motion by the devil to defeat and destroy David, so as to keep him from fulfilling the Word of the Lord that was given to him years earlier through the prophet, that one day he would become King. It was a targeted, well planned, hellish attempt to steal away the hopes and dreams that were in his heart. The "circumstances" shouted at David to "give up! Quit! Run-away! It's too tough! You'll never make it! You're way too weak! You're such a loser! There's no way you'll ever be able to recover from this!" Let me ask you, does any of this sound familiar to you?
This was David's moment of choice, his cross road in life. Would he listen to his emotional misgivings and give up and quit, or would he stand with God's strength and make the decison to go forward, in spite of the insurmountable odds that were against him, and go on to be what Almighty God had said he would become?
Did you know that as a born-again believer you also have been anointed to be a king upon the earth? Revelation 1:5-6 says: "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." A king is someone who has the right to rule and exercise dominion on the earth. You need to know that there is an enemy out there that is trying to bring discouragement to you just as he did with David. He's trying to get you to give up and quit in your walk of faith so that you'll never enter into your God odained purpose and realize the fullness of your potential in Him.
In being a king, did you know that you have the God given right to reign on the earth through Christ? Let's take a look at Romans 5:17: "For if by the one man's [Adam's] offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace [That's us] and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." Wow, did you see that? That's talking about those of us who are born-again, who have made JesusChrist the Lord of their lives! Remember, kings reign, and exercise dominion over adversity - that's your birthright in Christ!
The end of verse 6 in this story tells us the choice that David ultimately made, which was the key moment to the realization of his destiny in finally becoming king. It says that David encouraged himself in the Lord. David, though all alone in his dilemma, began to remember and call to mind God's Word and all of the covenant promises and all of the many times that the Lord had been with him and delivered him. As he did this, the Word of God brought strength to David and the force of faith rose up mightily within. It calmed his mind and caused his emotions to be settled so that he could hear from God clearly and get the direction from the Lord on what to do next (verse 8).
Remember this: As long as we choose to look at the situation and to magnify the problem, we will not be able to hear from the Lord as we should. We need to get our eyes off of the problem and on to the answer, which is the Word of God, His covenant promises for us. We need to make the choice to settle it within ourselves once and for all that the Word of God is true and is the final authority.
The Lord gave David the direction that he needed and instructed him to pursue his enemy and that he would surely recover all. As David stepped out in faith, he overtook and defeated the Amalekite raiders. He not only recovered everything and everyone who had been taken, but even took all of the spoil from the enemy - in other words, he came away with much, much more than he had before! What the devil meant for evil, God turned into an abundant blessing. Don't miss this great truth - whenever we obey God and step out in faith according to His Word, we will always end up with much more than we started with. Be careful not to limit this increase to the material realm alone. This includes wisdom, understanding, character etc.
What's interesting is that two days after David returned from pursuing the Amalekites, he received word that King Saul was dead. David then set out for the land of Judah where he was anointed as King - the first fulfillment of the word of the Lord that was given to him many years earlier. All of the pressure that the devil brought to David, the dread of the apparent total devastation, the fear, the discouragement, the threat of death, the feeling to give up and quit - this darkest moment, was just a couple of days away from the realization of the fulfillment of the Word of God that he had been longing for in his heart. He could have quit, and missed it all by just a couple of days! I wonder how close you are right now to the fulfillment of your dreams and your destiny?
Because of David's decision to draw near to God in the midst of the storm, God was able to turn a devastating and potentially life altering situation around into one of great victory that gave way to the promise coming to pass. Remember, it's always the darkest right before the dawn! What kind of challenges are you facing right now that are coming against the promises of God in your own life? You need to know that Almighty God is waiting and desiring to do the same thing for you as He did for David. Don't allow the "circumstances" (serpent-stances) that are coming against your life to defeat you. Rise up and take hold of God's Word and begin to walk in the victory that belongs to you, because you are destined for greatness. The choice is yours!