Who would have thought that so many life lessons could be gleaned from one story in the life of an ancient, Israelite warrior? My disclaimer here is that I have no personal military experience, nor am I close to anyone that does. But I do claim allegiance to the One True God who guided this young man for His glory. He still does the same today.
Part 3 of these lessons I concluded with the fact that God rewards those who give in secret and commands that we are to treat all people with mercy. David received the knowledge of his enemies’ exact location after caring for the abandoned, sick slave of the Amalekites. He and his men were able to defeat the raiders and regain all that was stolen from them. Don’t miss that detail. There was nothing missing! God’s protective hand was on their families and their belongings. Who wouldn’t want that kind of reward?!
After a victorious battle, David, his men and their families headed towards home, stopping off at the Besor Valley where they joined the one third of his men who had stayed behind due to exhaustion. Wouldn’t you know, the joy and excitement wouldn’t last. There was trouble in the camp. We discover that there were “evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers (1 Samuel 30:22).” Not only were they bringing back their people and belongings, but they picked up the spoils of greed on the way!
The four hundred men who fought the battle didn’t want to share the plunder with the two hundred men who stayed with the supplies. David had to talk them out of their selfish ways and declared that all would share alike. (David had to put on the hat of kindergarten teacher here). At first reading this just doesn’t sound fair. Remember when you were in school or college and the teacher assigned group projects? There were always some who did none of the work and still received the same grade as those who did all the work. This is exactly like that. It would seem these men did nothing and deserved no rewards, but David was a giving leader and knew how to take care of his men. You may be thinking why God allowed this when David was a man after God’s own heart. We must remember that we have all fallen short and no one is perfect. It may be that these men had suppressed their evil intentions until this very moment. David’s actions are a picture of how Jesus gives even when we don’t deserve it. That’s called grace.
How about you? Would you be willing to share in the rewards with others who seemingly did nothing to deserve them?
David told the fighting men that no one would listen to what they had to say if they were selfish in this matter. He reminded them that it was God who delivered them and gave them the plunder. He felt so strongly about this that he made it the rule in Israel from that day forward. We may not have plunder from a battle, but if you are reading this post, you like, me are greatly blessed by God. If we are stingy with His blessings that will over shadow what we say to others about our giving Father. We must show God’s love in tangible ways before someone will listen to us about Him.
David wasn’t stopping with just the two hundred men who didn’t actively fight in the battle. He also sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah who were his friends and to the people of over a dozen towns and other places where he and his men had roamed. David probably taught this proverb to his son Solomon who later wrote, “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great (Proverbs 18:16)” David was bonding with the people who would later make him king.
Are you willing to send gifts to others outside your inner circle? Are you helping other believers around the world with their needs? Who knows, God sees your generous heart and may have even greater things in store for you. Solomon also wrote, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).”
This story proves that God’s word is still relevant today. Just in this one narrative of David and his men we identified that when the enemy is attacking, we should go directly for God for guidance and when God does answer in His way, we obey even if we don’t have all the details. David showed us how to take care of others even when it’s inconvenient or we will gain nothing in return. He also exemplified a caring person who knew the benefits of sharing all the blessings from the Lord. The key is not just in the discovery of these life lessons, but in the application of them in our daily lives.
So get out there and become the man or woman after God’s own heart!