Tag Archives: 1 Samuel 30

The Source and the Purpose

The Source and the Purpose (CaD 1 Sam 30) Wayfarer

David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”
1 Samuel 30:23-24 (NIV)

This past Sunday afternoon, Wendy and I were blessed to help host over 100 people for a backyard cookout along with one of our backyard neighbors. We grilled up a bunch of burgers and dogs and people brought sides and desserts to share.

Last night our home was invaded by about twenty or so high school sophomores and their three adult leaders. A few weeks ago we were asked if the young people could meet at our house on Wednesday nights during this school year. There was never really any question. We’re glad to have them. Wendy and I stuck around for a bit to be introduced to the kids before we sequestered ourselves. Wendy and I have talked about making Wednesday night a date night with some friends who have also volunteered their house for the Wednesday night youth gatherings.

In today’s chapter, David and his men return to their sanctuary town in Philistine territory having been told to do so by King Achish in yesterday’s chapter. While they were off mustering for battle a raiding party of Amalekites swept through, plundered their town, and burned it to the ground. The Amalekites also took all of their wives and children as captives. The first thing David does is consult the priest, Abiathar, to inquire of God whether they should pursue the raiding party. David is given the green light.

While they are in hot pursuit, about 200 of David’s 600 men become weary and choose to stay behind. The remaining 400 overtake the Amalekites, defeat them and return with everyone’s women, children, and all the plunder the Amalekites had taken on their raids.

At this point, the 400 men who completed the defeat of the Amalekites argue with David that the 200 men who stayed behind should not receive any of the plunder since they didn’t participate in the battle. David’s response is swift and strong. The victory, David says, belongs to the Lord, not to their military prowess. The plunder, therefore, is a gift from God and it is to be shared by everyone. David calls his men to think about their Level Three circumstances with a Level Four perspective.

Along my spiritual journey, I have slowly come to embrace the spiritual reality that everything I have belongs to God. Everything in my “possession” will be abandoned and left behind when this journey is over. Jesus is the Alpha point from which all good things flow and all the good things that have flowed into my life. Jesus is the Omega point to which all good things, including all the good things in my life, will ultimately return. I’m not an owner. I’m a steward. The belief that anything I have is really mine is an illusion.

This is why there was never really any question that Wendy and I would allow our home to be invaded every Wednesday night by a bunch of teenagers. We are so blessed with our house. It’s exceeding, abundantly, beyond what we could have once imagined. The story of building it is a God story that leaves us with no doubt that we were supposed to build it, that we were supposed to use it generously, and with it, we were to practice hospitality. It was built to be used, lived in, and shared.

This morning, in the quiet, I’m thankful for all of the blessings I enjoy including my wonderful home office where I sit and type these words, but I’m also thankful for learning to have perspective about the source of the blessing and what we are to do with it.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

The Forge of Leadership Mettle

source: flaxton forge
source: flaxton forge

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 (NIV)

I just finished directing a community theatre production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Being in charge of a production of any size is a test of a person’s leadership abilities. As a director you have teams of people all working under your leadership in a boilercooker schedule. The results of your  success or failure are up on stage, in front of the public for all to see. I have been involved in many productions over my lifetime and have directed a number of them. I know the feeling of having people so mad they want to stone you. I have also been on the other side of that coin. I have worked with many talented directors, and there have been a few that I have personally wanted to stone.

In today’s chapter we find David continuing in his own boilercooker of leadership development. For years now he has been an outlaw and outcast from his own country, living on the lam with a price on his head. He and his band of 600 fellow outlaws signed up as mercenary free agents with a neighboring country, but they were benched by the king and sent packing from the battle. This was not a small matter. Battle and plunder was how these men made their living and they just got laid off.

David’s approval rating with his men (who were rough individuals living on the fringe to begin with) had taken a serious hit. David’s men were already angry and frustrated with missing out on the battle and plunder of the Philistine battle, but now they return to their base camp to find their own homes burned to the ground. Their posessions had been plundered and their families taken captive. The situation for those six hundred men had gone from bad to worse. First they got laid off from their job and now they find their homes destroyed and everything they own taken from them, including their wives and children. Since the Garden of Eden our human nature responds to crisis by seeking out someone to blame for our troubles. Here are six hundred rough and tumble warriors as angry as stirred up hornets, and there sits David with a huge target on his back.

I believe history has taught us that great leaders are not made in times of peace and prosperity. Great leaders are forged in the heat of tragedy and crisis. God continues to hone and sharpen David’s leadership abilities between the hammer and anvil of dire and difficult circumstances. There is a lesson for all of us in this at every level of leadership whether you are parent of a child, captain of an intramural team, CEO of a corporation, director of a community theatre production, or President of the United States. We will find ourselves in times of crisis whether they be small or great. We will not always be popular with those under our leadership. We will find ourselves unjustly blamed for others’ pain or failure. These things are part and parcel of the mantel of leadership.

The true test of a leader’s mettle is how he or she responds to the challenge.