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Week 4 May 2024, Devotion Part 2

For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike. 1 Samuel 30:24

David exhibited superlative grace under pressure. We see him honor the frail and feisty among his edgy band of brothers. Instead of sulking over their talk of stoning him, he strengthens himself in the Lord. He then pursues the raiders so fiercely that all the women and children return unharmed. Ziklag is a towering monument to God’s grace, manifested also in a harrowed, humble man. The circumstances were dire, but divinely directed. God had David and his men booted out of the Philistine army lest they be forced to shed the blood of fellow Israelites. Had they been doing their hosts’ bidding, the Amalekites might have gotten away with mayhem and murder at Ziklag.

Linguistically speaking, “grace” was not widespread in Old Testament days. The word is mentioned fewer than 40 times, compared to roughly 130 in the New Testament. The Gospel writers used the word “grace” four times, while Paul, “chief of sinners,” used it 89 times. Christ’s death and resurrection obviously brought the theme out in the open as the Holy Spirit expounded it. So, have we – God’s soldiers of the cross – become a more gracious people because of it? The Son of David would certainly expect it!   (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: The loaf on our table when Communion isn’t served, I once was told, is “fake bread.”  Called “showbread,” it was freshly baked when a famished David begged for it from the priest at Nob.  Ahimelech trembled when he realized how dangerously desperate the fugitive from Saul’s murderous pursuit must be. In the end he not only gave David the consecrated loaves, but also Goliath’s sword kept at the temple. A spy, Doeg the Edomite, reported this to Saul who ordered the massacre of 85 priests.  Doeg also put his sword to Nob, the town of the priests with all its men, women, children, and animals (1 Samuel 21; 22:6-20).  David was struck with horror and grief, certain that his request for the showbread had caused the tragedy.  Even so, he spared Saul’s life repeatedly, saved the town of Keilah from the Philistines, and poured out his anguished heart before God.  Be sure to read Psalm 142 and notice the superscription, “A maskil of David.  When he was in the cave.  A prayer.”  I have learned much from it and read it often.  A maskil is a wise or enlightened saying, or a teaching in godliness.  Read his maskil in Psalm 32, which is a powerful testimony to how the man after God’s own heart earned that distinction. Let’s relate this “enlightened” stuff to our resident missionary Tom Shedd. Years ago I wrote a monthly column for him in the SPIRE, “shedding light” on his ministry.  However, I identified his wife Mary Lou as a vital partner in it. Thanks to our text above, I was able to drive home the point that while Tom labored in Africa, she stayed at home to manage the “stuff,” as the KJV calls it. Mary Lou held down a full time job, maintained their home and lovingly tended to the needs of their family. Tom’s elderly parents required assistance, crisis management, and comforting support.  Everybody’s life is full of “stuff” that can bring out the grouch in us. Becoming gracious comes from strengthening ourselves in the Lord, as modeled by David.  1 Samuel 30 


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