Success (1 Samuel 30:23)

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.”

1 Samuel 30:23

Fresh from a victory over the Amalekites, David’s men are discussing how the spoil should be divided up and decide that the guys who were too exhausted to be able to make it to the fight would get nothing but their families back. That’s it. The bare essentials. There’s a problem with this. That problem? Some of the spoil was the possession of those men. There were animals and such in addition to the people recovered and people back then depended on their livestock and crops as provision. What had happened was like an entire city being robbed blind—including every penny they had in any account anywhere—and having all the people they had left at home abducted. Then those abducted were recovered, the abductors killed in a firefight, and all the money of the city, plus more, left behind to distribute amongst the victims and their families. It is not right to withhold from people what is rightfully their own. But David makes a different point in his rebuke to his men. David points out the source of their victory; reminds them that it was the LORD Who had given them victory and kept them safe. And that is where this extends outward to me.

I don’t live in a society like the one David is speaking to, so spoil is almost meaningless to me on a day-to-day basis. However, it is still true that God delivers solutions to my problems. If I’ve been banging my head against a particular problem and the solution suddenly becomes glaringly obvious, it’s because God showed me the answer I needed. If I’ve been puzzling over some challenging conundrum at work and the way through becomes a straight line, it’s because God straightened things out for me. The point that David made then is just as valid now: success comes from God. I’m not talking about financial success—which can be as much a burden as a blessing—but about successful resolution of conflict and solving of problems and so on. God gives success where success is most difficult to attain. David had 600 mean before 200 basically passed out from exhaustion. The remaining 400 were enough to slaughter enemies from sundown to sundown and have 400 enemy soldiers escape on camels. That is God’s doing. Especially since God had told Saul to wipe out the Amalekites and here David is doing that work. Success, particularly success in things that look anywhere from challenging to impossible, comes from the LORD.

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