Now they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David, and gave him bread and he ate, and they provided him water to drink. They gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins, and he ate; then his spirit revived. For he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” And he said, “I am a young man of Egypt, a servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind when I fell sick three days ago. We made a raid on the Negev of the Cherethites, and on that which belongs to Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” Then David said to him, “Will you bring me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you down to this band.”
Once armed and dangerous – that is to say, once we set out in the power of the Word and the Spirit of the Lord – we do well if we keep our eyes open for every help along the way. That David and his men were not hasty or treacherous toward this man may have saved the day. A chance encounter, a verse of Scripture, something revealed in our understanding … we have to pay attention.
When he had brought him down, behold, they were spread over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day; and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled.
Our unending battle with Amalek is not a battle against flesh and blood, but against powers and authorities, spiritual rulers of darkness, and when we see them tormenting, plundering those we love, those we choose to love, we take up arms in the Name of the Lord; we run to the battle, for it is raging against the weak and the strong alike, and we will make a difference if we will fight. Our sword is sharp and double-edged, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal … we fight according to the Word of the Lord. (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17)
So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves; David brought it all back. So David had captured all the sheep and the cattle which the people drove ahead of the other livestock, and they said, “This is David’s spoil.”
“David slaughtered them from twilight until the evening of the next day.” It has been a month at least since the last time I fasted a full day for those I love. If those men could fight for twenty-four hours consecutively, I can fast and/or pray that way from time to time. When the “strong man” is overcome, we plunder his spoil, and what is returned to those we love – their peace, their joy, their strength, their hope, their faith – might be called “ours” in the records of warfare. Ours not to have taken, but to have returned.
When David came to the two hundred men who were too exhausted to follow him, those who had also been left at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him, then David approached the people and greeted them. Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart.”
There is always an opportunity for pride, for vanity, for selfishness or jealousy or greed. Stay clear!
Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.” So it has been from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
I want this heart, that the more my prayers are answered, and the more my warfare is effective, the more I draw my brothers and sister in, rather than close others out.
Some are on our shoulders, heading home.
Some are lost and not yet discovered.
For some we battle, and the battle is fierce.
But always and forever … the victory belongs to the Lord.
“Victory, O Lord!”
by John Everett Millais
public domain, life of the artist,
by permission, Wikipedia