From brokenness to blessing
One of the unique privileges of being a pastor is the opportunity to search and study the scriptures… to daily mine out, from the depths of the Word of God, great wealth and wonderful truths that are often obscure and overlooked.
One of those is found deep within the pages of the Old Testament in a text most would never notice. It reads like this: “…with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us… 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.” I Samuel 30:23-24
If one ever thought the Bible was boring, think again. 1 and 2 Samuel have more action, mystery, suspense, romance and even humor than most movies today could ever dream of having.
These few verses tell of a time when David, Israel’s greatest earthly king, was a soldier. This was long before he ascended the throne in Jerusalem. In this chapter, David has saddled up with 600 of his “mighty men” to go to war and rescue their wives, families and possessions that had been stolen by the enemy. There is an interesting and very important detail in this story that most people don’t usually see.
These men have been running, fighting, hiding, climbing mountains and crossing rivers for days. When they get to a brook, about 12 miles from the place they were to face their enemy, it says: “David pursued, he and four hundred men. Two hundred stayed behind, who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor.”(30:10) The word for exhausted in Hebrew literally means “they broke down.”
Think… even though these men were known for their strength and speed as some of the best soldiers in all of Israel, at this moment they were done, spent, simply too tired and too exhausted to even cross a little brook to keep going. Have you ever felt like that? How about 10 months into a global pandemic? With the constant pressure and changes at school and work, temperature checks and doctor visits, do you feel like you’re too tired to go on? Sometimes even the strongest and bravest seem to get exhausted beyond words, beyond measure… you simply don’t have what it takes to keep going.
What did David do? I Samuel 30:10 tells us he left the 200 tired men to “watch the baggage” and rest while he continued on with the 400 remaining soldiers.
After literally crashing their enemy’s (the Amalekites) party, they fought and recovered everything that had belonged to them! It was a significant battle that lasted “…from twilight until evening the next day” (30:17), and it was a substantial victory. “…David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, nothing was missing…(he) brought back everything.” (30:18, 19)
With ALL of their own families and possessions safely recovered, they return to the 200 men waiting on the other side of the brook. But by this time, several of those who had gone with David into battle were complaining about the tired soldiers. “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoils that we have recovered.” (30:22) In moments like this, great leaders rise to the occasion. David teaches an amazing lesson. Listen carefully to what he said: “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.” (30:24)
In many ways, we are just like those 200 tired, exhausted and frustrated soldiers.
We have a battle before us that’s too much, and we’re often too tired and unable to go on. We’ve fallen into discouragement, weakness and even sin. Yet, we too can still receive blessings when we accept the gift of salvation that is offered to us by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.
Jesus Christ is not only the ultimate King who fought for us; He brought us the ultimate blessing of salvation from sin. Jesus is able to save us, rescue us, restore us and redeem us. What a reminder that, because of Jesus, we can move “From Brokenness to Blessing.”
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Tim Boger, senior pastor of Big Woods Bible Church in Lock Haven.