"And 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 encouraged himself in the LORD his God." (1 Samuel 30:6).
There are defining moments that come into every life; unexpected and unavoidable. What we do in those moments may very well be the single action that determines whether our lives rise to the heights of our calling -- or not. David, the ancient King of Israel, experienced his defining moment at that place called Ziklag.
The Amalekites, sworn enemies of Israel, had raided Ziklag and burned it to the ground. But this wasn't just any city; this was the place David and his fighting men had secured as a stronghold. It was their home; their refuge. It was the one place where their wives and children were safe, and out of harm's way. Or, so they thought. For as they approached the city they saw columns of smoke billowing up into the sky. Rushing to the scene they found that the city had been looted, and then burned to the ground. All the women and children had been taken captive. It was a devastating moment.
David was greatly distressed on two counts. First, his wife and family were among the hostages. And second, his own soldiers turned their anger for what had happened against David, threatening to stone him. It was not a good day. Yet, David did not succumb to the circumstances. Having nowhere else to turn but UP, David "encouraged himself in the Lord."
This was his defining moment. For as he knelt in prayer God moved on his behalf and gave insight on what action needed to be taken. David rallied his men and they overtook the bandits and recovered everything that was theirs, including wives and children -- all unmolested!
This became the turning point for David, for shortly after this dark episode he was exalted in the land and became the King of Israel. Commenting on this passage, Matthew Henry writes, "Great faith must expect such severe trials. But observe, that David was brought thus low, only just before he was raised to the throne."
There are many great lessons for us in all this, but one stands out above all others. In our darkest moments, when all seems lost and even our friends have turned from us, we can still "encourage ourselves in the Lord." We can find that secret place where God regenerates our spirit and guides us out of the funk into a bright future!
That's what's awaiting you at a place called Ziklag.