Thursday, April 9, 2015

The devil’s playground

What would you have done in David’s place? While still a young general, David and his soldiers returned home to Ziklag to find it burned to the ground. All their wives and children had been kidnapped by the Amalekites. Their homes, livestock and all they owned were gone. These tough men of war raised their voices to heaven and wept loudly and bitterly. David and his men wept until they were totally exhausted. Agony and grief is a natural response, and who could blame them? A natural response, but was it the right response? What happened next shows just how dangerous it is to surrender to emotions – even justified emotions.

The warriors who had fought at David’s side all of a sudden took on a different spirit. They began to despise the leader they had loved and obeyed through thick and thin. They grumbled and talked about stoning David to death. A spirit of mindless revenge overtook them. That is the rotten fruit that comes from indulging in pity and emotionalism. Blind self-centeredness. David was wallowing in misery right along with them, but where did that lead them? How were their tears going to bring back their wives and children? They didn't just waste time, they allowed Satan to turn them into animals.  

When David noticed the evil attitude taking over, he quickly did what he should have done in the first place. 1 Samuel 30 says, “he found strength in the Lord his God,” and took back control over the situation with a clear mind and a spirit of faith. You can read the rest of the story of how God helped them to defeat the Amalekites and recover every single loved one and all of their stolen possessions. 

We all get hit with loss or bad news at times, and we feel those perfectly understandable human emotions. But we have the choice to either go with those emotions, letting them rip and roar, or to channel them into the power of faith based on God’s promises. People love to defend their anger and bitterness, believing their suffering is somehow unique and noble. But whoever dives headlong into pity, vengeance, and self-righteousness, crosses over into the devil’s playground, hurting themselves in their pride and making foolish choices like animals. 

But whoever submits those emotions to God like David finally did, can think clearly and find God’s solution. People may want your head on a platter, but as you ignore all the drama and turn to God for your solution, God hears and rescues you, just as He did with David. Your enemies, and even the friends who turn against you, are easily controlled by God’s Spirit when you turn over the reins. Scholars credit Psalm 18 as the one written after the attack on Ziklag. If God heard David, He'll definitely hear you.  

The ropes of death were wrapped around me; the torrents of destruction terrified me.  The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.  I called to the Lord in my distress, and I cried to my God for help.  From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears. (Psalm 18:4-6 HCSB)

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