Photo by Serge Krasnov on Unsplash
Victory over the marauders does not have to be complete for it to be a win.
During the time David and his men ran for their lives from King Saul, they moved to the Philistine town of Ziklag, where they lived for over a year. Near the end of David’s time on the run, some Amalekite marauders came into Ziklag while he and all his men were on a mission for the Philistine king, Achish.
After being sent home from the battle, David and his men returned to find Ziklag completely destroyed. The Amalekites looted the town, then burned it to the ground. They took captive all the men, women, and children.
In their utter distress over the loss of their families, David’s men threatened to kill him. He was their leader. They believed the responsibility for what happened fell on him.
David was distressed over the loss of his family as well, but to have the men turn on him?
What to do?
David turned to the Lord and received strength. He asked God if he should pursue the raiding party. Would he overtake them?
The Lord told David to pursue them. God told David he and his men would surely overtake the Amalekites and succeed in the rescue.
David took four hundred men in pursuit of the Amalekite marauders. They found the raiding party and attacked. Although God promised victory, it was not an easy win. David and his men fought from dusk until the evening of the next day.
It was not a complete victory, either. Some of the Amalekites escaped. Still, David did not lament over the ones who got away. Instead, he celebrated and was grateful for what was rescued. None of the people or possessions were missing.
As this story from David’s life shows us, just because victory over the marauders is assured, that doesn’t mean it will be easily fought. Also, David didn’t have to experience complete victory for this battle to be a win.
There are times in our lives we will face marauders of all kinds that threaten, attack, and steal. Some days we will have victory. Some of those victories will be complete. Some will be partial.
In each of the battles we face, one key, I believe, is to do what David did. Go to God first. Seek his direction. Enter the battle in the Lord’s strength. Fight for as long as it takes. And praise God for the victory. No matter its size.
Are you able to celebrate and be grateful for incomplete victories?
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At dawn the next day David attacked them and fought until evening. Except for four hundred young men who mounted camels and got away, none of them escaped. David rescued everyone and everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives; 1 Samuel 30:17-18 (GNT)
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This is such good advice taken from David’s experience: “In each of the battles we face, one key, I believe, is to do what David did. Go to God first. Seek his direction. Enter the battle in the Lord’s strength. Fight for as long as it takes. And praise God for the victory. No matter its size.” Thank you, Sandy, for the reminder to thank God for even the small victories He gives us.
Thanks, Kathy. I’m in the “fight as long as it takes” season right now with my writing. Very easy to give up the struggle, and think less of the smaller victories which God grants, when they aren’t the complete victories I’m praying for. Still learning. 🙂
This example from David always inspires me. No matter what I have faced, no one has been standing there wanting to kill me. His ability to strengthen himself in the Lord shows us what we should do no matter what comes against us. And David faced more battles in his future, just as we will. We can learn from his faith to keep standing strong.
Absolutely, Barbara. Thanks for your insight into this story in David’s life.
You asked, “Are you able to celebrate incomplete victories?” Now, that is a thought provoking question. My answer is “yes” and “no.” Yes, when I am walking close with God and recognize that the choices He made are what is best for me. But, then comes the no–when I have strayed from my walk with Him and He doesn’t answer my prayers as I think He should–comes the whining (on my part). Thank you for sharing this story of David, that reminds us that victory can come after defeat, if we pray and seek God’s will for our next step.
Katherine, thank you for adding your thoughts to this post. Seeking God’s will is the key, right?