Facing a Crisis Without Becoming a Crisis

One of the things that distinguished David as a godly leader was his ability to face a crisis without becoming a crisis. The principles learned in this passage are critical principles for any Christian to learn, but they are particularly important for leaders.

By Phillip G. Kayser at DCC on 4-22-2012


James DeLoach told about a painting that he saw1 of an old burned-out mountain shack. All that remained was the chimney and a few smoldering charred pieces of timber. In front of the destroyed home stood an old man that looked like a grandfather dressed only in his LongJohn underwear, and a small boy who was clutching a pair of patched overalls. So the implication was that they had barely escaped with their lives and had watched everything they owned go up in flames. The child was crying. And the intriguing thing about the picture was that the artist had put a caption beneath that painting that said, "Hush child, God ain't dead!" That was grandpa speaking to the boy. "Hush child, God ain't dead!" That didn't mean that the Grandfather wasn't hurt by this loss. He obviously was. But he was reflecting the attitude of the apostle Paul who could say that though pressed down on every side he was not crushed, and though struck down he was not destroyed, and though in anguish he was not despairing.

Some people react to the burning down of their metaphorical mountain shacks in the opposite way. When pressed down they are crushed in spirit and are never the same. They are no longer any fun to be around because bitterness has ruined them. In fact, some go beyond that to lash out and destroy others and make others miserable. Some respond with drug use or drunkenness and some even commit suicide. And in the process they become a crisis themselves. They become part of the pain of life for others. And so today's sermon is titled, Facing a Crisis Without Becoming a Crisis.

Crises can hit anyone – but it hit David and his men especially hard (vv. 1-3)

Physical exhaustion (v. 1a,4,10)

Crises can hit anyone, but this crisis hit David and his men especially hard. Verse 1 introduces the problem by making us realize how tired they were even before the grueling events of the next 24 hours. Verse 1 says, "Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day…"

When these men arrived in Ziklag, they had already marched a minimum of 120 miles for six days – sixty miles up and sixty miles back again, carrying all of their battle gear and equipment and food. That's marching from here to Lincoln and back. And actually, some conservatives argue that this is an Aphek right next to Shunem. There are some strong arguments for that. But that would have had these men marching 232 miles over six days, which is a little harder to believe. That's more than 36 miles a day. I won't get into all the arguments pro and con on the location of Aphek.2 I take the southern position which would be where Antipatris is in the New Testament. But either way, they are worn out when they get to Ziklag, and after finding everything destroyed, verse 4 says that they wept themselves into a state of utter exhaustion – or as the author says, "until they had no more power to weep." And then you have them running for 15 more miles to catch up to the Amalekites. And 200 of them just can't make it any further according to verse 10. And verse 17 has them then fighting the Amalekites without sleep for the next 24 hours straight. They must have been unbelievably exhausted.

Physical exhaustion can affect us spiritually. I've seen this over and over again. And though these men didn't at first have the perspective of the grandpa in that painting, you can understand their lashing out. Tiredness alone can make some people turn a small issue into a major crisis. And when it comes to big issues, they fall apart.

An entire city ruined (v. 1b)

The second thing that hit them hard was that their city was ruined. They had no place to stay. Verse 1 continues: "…the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire." Some people respond to losses much better than others, but imagine losing your house, your entire wardrobe, your books, your life savings, your keepsakes, your important papers, and you are walking through your hometown in a state of shock realizing that nothing is there – no city council (that might be a good thing), no library, no stores – nothing. That's a huge crisis. Until you have actually experienced something like that, you don't know how you will respond. Do you respond like Job, or do you become part of the crisis like Job's wife?

Loved ones taken as slaves (v. 2)

Verse 2 goes on, "…and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way." Having all your loved ones killed would be a crushing blow, but I'm sure it would be even harder to notice that there are no bodies, and you know that your loved ones were sold into slavery – knowing the Amalekites, perhaps even being forced into sexual slavery. I cannot imagine the inward worry and anguish that a parent would go through to see that. They would probably feel sick to the depths of their souls worrying about what had become of their wife and children. And of course, there is the pain that the women and the children themselves are suffering. I think I could handle the loss of stuff, but having my family kidnapped would be almost unbearable.

A total loss of everything you own (v. 3)

Other than Job, there haven't been too many people in the Bible that have suffered such a great loss as David and his men did here. In fact, I can totally appreciate the curses against the Amalekites that David utters in Psalm 69 on this day. It brings that Psalm to new life.

Psalms 69:22 "Let their table become a snare before them, And their well-being a trap."

Psalms 69:23 "Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; And make their loins shake continually."

Psalms 69:24 "Pour out Your indignation upon them, And let Your wrathful anger take hold of them."

Psalms 69:25 "Let their dwelling place be desolate; Let no one live in their tents."

And he goes on to pronounce God's curses in a way that I can totally appreciate. Of course, the Amalekites had been condemned to destruction anyway, hadn't they? Well, verse 3 summarizes the crisis by saying, "So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive." I've watched men who have lost everything in India weep while clinging to Jesus, and I've watched others weep while lashing out at God, and lashing out at others because they have become so bitter. Both faced similar crises, but one group made things worse by becoming a crisis themselves.

Unhelpful (but understandable) responses?

React with despair (v. 4)

And that's what happened to David's men. They had very unhelpful (though perfectly understandable) reactions. It's not like I don't sympathize with them – I do. Verse 4 says, "Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep." Let me first of all emphasize that the weeping is not the inappropriate part. There would be something strange if they did not weep. Who hasn't experienced sobbing and weeping until you are numb? It is a common human experience. There is nothing wrong with weeping. Jesus wept. There is nothing wrong with feeling distressed. Matthew 26:37 says that Jesus was "sorrowful and deeply distressed." There is something wrong if you are not distressed over a situation like this. So I want to make it clear that this is not the problem. It is normal to cry your hearts out over a pain like this.

But like Jesus, we need to learn to get a grip on things and go on to do God's will just as Jesus did and just as David did. Too often people get angry and lash out at God or lash out at anyone they can pin the blame on. And it often flows from a sense of despair. It is despair that is innapropriate. We are called to live by faith, and despair is the antithesis of faith. The later verses show that David's weeping was not the weeping of despair, but for many of these men, it was. Despair means that you have been completely robbed of faith, hope, and vision and you see no point in going on.

I found it interesting that the virulent atheist, Bertrand Russell, admitted toward the end of his life that he felt despair. He wrote,

We stand on the shore of an ocean, crying to the night and the emptiness; sometimes a voice answers out of the darkness. But it is the voice of one drowning; and in a moment the silence returns.

What a bleak look on life, but when your eyes are fixed on the pain of this world rather than on Jesus, it is easy for any of us to look at life that bleakly.

Lash out at others (vv. 5-6b)

Despite the fact that David had lost just as much as they had (v. 5)

A second unhelpful response is to lash out at others. These men lashed out at David even though David lost as much as they did. But leaders often get the brunt of people's tragedies heaped on top of their own tragedy. They become the scapegoats. And if you have any desire to get into leadership, you are going to have to be willing to deal with being a scapegoat from time to time. It doesn't excuse their sin, but leaders have to be even tougher. Verses 5-6:

1Samuel 30:5 "And David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive."

1Samuel 30:6 "Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God."

I think we can sympathize with these men and the way they lashed out. We can understand their rage wanting to be vented somewhere. That is pretty normal. It's not right, but it is pretty normal to lash out in such circumstances, and there was no one to vent against except David. I remember a movie where the wife in anguish was beating her husband repeatedly on the chest while he simply held her until she finally gave in to his love. Sometimes we have to handle not only our own crisis, but we also need to help the family members and friends who have become a crisis.

Despite the fact that David was also greatly distressed (v. 6a)

Become bitter (v. 6c)

And of course, that same verse shows that they had become bitter. The word "grieved" is literally "bitter." In fact, it says that in the margin of my Bible. It doesn't matter how great your pain or loss might be, the moment you allow the injustice of it all to make you bitter, you are no longer simply a victim of a crisis – you have become a crisis yourself. And until you get a grip on yourself and with numbness and pain you start dealing with it, you will continue to go down a slippery slide and make yourself more and more of a crisis.

How David handled his crisis (vv. 6dff with Psalm 69)

First, note that David's words of crying out as an overwhelmed person (Psalm 69) are also prophetically words of Jesus (see vv. 4, 9, 22,23, 25 quoted in John 2:17; 15:25; Acts 1:20; Rom. 11:9-10; 15:3; etc.)

So how in the world did David manage to face this crisis without becoming a crisis himself? In fact, how did he end up helping his men to get through their crisis? Well, it's hinted at in this text, but it is much more fully explained in the two Psalms that scholars believe God inspired him to compose (at least in his head) during the last phrase of verse 6. I want you to turn to Psalm 69, and we will look at the first few verses. Psalm 69 and Psalm 25 were the two Psalms that authors believe came to David's mind during this time of weeping in Ziklag.

And before we look at this Psalm, I want you to realize that this is a Messianic Psalm that is quoted at least five times in the New Testament as being the words of Jesus. And I've given the Scriptures in your outline to prove it. I won't go over those. The fact that it is clearly a Messianic Psalm introduces its own problems - especially the confessions of sin - which some commentators take as His becoming sin for us and taking a blame He did not deserve. I won't resolve that for you. But all my commentaries say that the New Testament makes these the words of Jesus. But what encourages me about the fact that Psalm 69 is a Messianic Psalm is that it shows that Jesus identifies with us in our misery. He too experienced what it meant to be totally overwhelmed by His circumstances. He understands us and He sympathizes with us when we go through similar pain. And this is the first encouragement to me – that we have in Christ Jesus a High Priest who cares for us.

But anyway, this Psalm is also the experience of David. All my commentaries agree with that. It's not just the words of Jesus; it is also the words of David. David stands as a type of Christ (another way of explaining this Psalm), and as a type, he was anticipating what it meant to have everything stripped away from him. So let's read the first few verses.

He was realistic about his desperate straights

He wept (v. 4) and felt overwhelmed (Ps. 69:1-3)

Verses 1-4 capture the weeping that 1 Samuel 30 describes in so few words.

Psalms 69:1 "Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck."

Psalms 69:2 "I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me."

Psalms 69:3 "I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God."

I think you can see how overwhelmed David felt. He had anguish of heart. And on top of his own losses, verse 4 shows that his own men were lashing out at him and blaming him for their losses. They were telling him that he better pay them back. And they were probably saying all kinds of other irrational things that didn't make any sense. So David says,

Psalms 69:4 "Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it."

He felt like everyone had become his enemy. He felt in a hopeless situation.

So in these first four verses we see that David was realistic about the desperate straights that he was in. He was not in denial. He did not have a Pollyanna Christianity that only looks at the positive. He did not stick his head in the sand and try to deny that things were as bad as they really were. On the contrary, he cried his heart out over the injustice of it all. He wept out his pain before His loving Father. And that is an appropriate thing for us to do as well. It unleashes the emotions constructively rather than allowing them to make us bitter. You don't clam up in situations like this. You pour your heart out before God.

He realized the danger he was in (v. 6) and that people would not be fair with him (Ps. 69:4) and that even his relatives had turned on him (Ps. 69:8), but instead of striking back, he understood and he prayed for them (vv. 7ff; Ps. 69:6)

In verses 6-8 we see that even his relatives had turned on him.

Psalms 69:6 "Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel."

Psalms 69:7 "Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face."

Psalms 69:8 "I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother's children;"

He didn't have a single person he could turn to – not even his brothers. But he never lost sight of the fact that he had God as his friend. And so, David was realistic in his assessment of his situation. And this is so important. There are some forms of psychosis that are simply inappropriate mechanisms of escape. People cannot stand reality, so they create a fake "reality" of their own (which is not real), or they try to suppress their feelings. That can be just as bad as lashing out. David expressed his emotions to God and painted the picture to God as being as bad as it really was. You don't tell people in those circumstances, "Smile, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." You're likely to get shot. So David was realistic. It was the only way that he as a leader could help his people. You describe the problem as it really is, and then you start working at it.

He accepted responsibility for the situation (Ps. 69:5-7)

Second, as a leader David took responsibility for his part in the situation. As a good leader he admitted that the buck stopped with him. Even though it wasn't really his fault, the buck stopped with him (as Ronald Reagen used to say). He did not try to excuse himself. He could see with hindsight that maybe this wasn't such a great idea to leave the women and children behind totally unarmed. Verses 5-7

Psalms 69:5 "O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You."

He's not excusing himself. In fact, he is saying, "How could I be so stupid? Why did I not leave somebody here to protect the women and the kids?" He's taking the blame. I think these words have a different application for Jesus, but anyway, he continues:

Psalms 69:6 "Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me" [He is saying, "Lord, don't let them suffer because of what I have done." Then he repeats the same thought]; "Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel."

Psalms 69:7 "Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face."

He is basically saying, "Please don't let others suffer because of what I have to go through. I was trying to serve you when we went up to Aphek, but this decision has backfired, and the people hate me for it." He is taking responsibility. In fact, like Jesus, he is taking blame that wasn't his own.

He strengthened himself in God (v. 6d with Psalm 25; 69)

The fourth thing that 1 Samuel 30:6 says that he did was to strengthen himself in the Lord. The last phrase of verse 6 says, "But" [and this is contrasting David's response from the response of the others – "But"] "David strengthened himself in the LORD his God." That's an interesting phrase in the Hebrew. It indicates that even though God's grace enabled David to cope, it didn't happen automatically; it took a struggle on David's part to get a grip and to be determined to live by grace rather than to give up. Arnold's commentary says,

The expression emphasizes David's personal faith – and does so in a way that illustrates the synergistic nature of faith. That is, faith requires a human response, though it is enabled by God (cf. Eph. 2:8). Even though God graciously makes faith possible, it is up to us to respond to his grace. Here David musters up his strength in his greatest moment of crisis. The full significance of this strength is in the phrase ‘in the LORD his God.' The means by which David is strengthened during his crisis is Yahweh himself. The added ‘his God' stresses the personal relationship between Yahweh and David.

I think he is exactly right. If you do what you feel like doing during a crisis, you will become the crisis. You can't just wait till God makes you feel like doing something. You need to lay hold of His grace. You've got to get past what you feel and start doing what you know that you must. And it is faith in God and in God's care for you that enables you to do so. There have been times in my life where I have had to yell at myself to get myself going, saying, "Cut it out Phil. You are going to move on. You are going to trust God." That's what David was doing.

During a psychological crisis some people feel like crawling into a fetal position and wishing the world would go away. They don't care if they flunk their exams, or of the food gets mouldy in the kitchen, and they don't even care if they die. They have lost all will to move on. I felt like that for three years when I went through a severe depression up in Canada that was disease induced. I didn't want to work, but I prayerfully forced myself to work. It was almost like grabbing myself by the scruff of the neck and saying, "Phil, I know you don't feel like it, but you are going to serve the Lord by working today." I didn't want to get out of bed, but I prayerfully forced myself to do so. People in such profound depression sometimes don't care about anything except their feelings. They tell people, "Just go away. Leave me alone" But like David we must resist that despair, wrestle with our feelings, and strengthen ourselves in the Lord to do the right thing.

Part of His strengthening himself was almost certainly the two Psalms that he cried out to God. Part of it was refusing to believe the lies of Satan. Part of it was vehemently arguing with himself and insisting that he believe God. You can see that in those Psalms. Part of it was directing his hope toward God and not toward man. Part of it was believing God's promises. And you can see these and other ways in which he strengthened himself in the Lord in Psalms 25 and 69. They are wonderful Psalms, and I would encourage you to use those Psalms, and another favorite of mine – Psalm 27 – when you feel like you don't have the will to do what you know you should. Those can become tools to strengthen yourself in the Lord.

He sought guidance (v. 7ff)

The fifth appropriate thing that we see in David's response in 1 Samuel 30 is that he sought guidance from God. In verses 7 and following he asked Abiathar to bring the ephod that God had established as a means of priestly guidance in the Old Testament. He asked God for wisdom. And James 1 gives every one of you an infallible promise that God will give you the wisdom your need to know what your next step is. He won't necessarily give you every future step, but He will give you the wisdom to take the next step. We don't have an ephod to consult today, but we do have this promise. Let me read James 1:5-8

James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, [Did you get that? If any of you lacks wisdom"] let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." [That's an incredible promise. You have something better than an ephod. But He won't give the wisdom unless you believe it. So he goes on to say…]

James 1:6 "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."

James 1:7 "For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;"

James 1:8 "he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

It took me many years to get past doubt and to ask in faith for wisdom. Once I came to the place that I could say, "Lord, I know that you are a God who cannot lie, and you have said that you will give anyone who asks in faith the wisdom that he needs. I ask for wisdom right now to do my next step and I thank you in advance that you will give it." I have never felt different, but from that moment on, the Lord has consistently given me the wisdom that I needed without fail. I have a better provision than an ephod. And so do every one of you.

He took action (vv. 8ff)

The sixth thing that David did right was to take immediate action. It doesn't do any good to get wisdom and then to fail to take action on that wisdom. And typically God doesn't give us wisdom to be comfortable. Look at the wisdom that God gave David in verse 8.

1Samuel 30:8 "So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?" And He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all."

Does he feel like pursuing the Amalekites? No. He's bone tired. He would rather that God would make the Amalekites come back and drop his family off. But David immediately responds by taking responsible action based on the guidance God gave. And next week we will look at the actions of what might have seemed like a hopeless search for a needle in a haystack. But he took appropriate action. To fail to take action is to admit to a lack of faith. And this is true on even things that aren't crises - things that are just a normal part of our daily walk.

Let me illustrate. When Kathy and I were first married, I lost my wedding ring somewhere on a long stretch of beach. And after a bunch of us had wandered back and forth and back and forth over the beach, somebody told me that it would be a hopeless thing to even find it. And it suddenly struck me that those were not words of faith. I prayed to God and told him that He knew how poor we were, and that I couldn't afford to replace it, and I know its just a little ring, but you can open my eyes to find it." And at that very moment, just on a whim I kicked the sand that I was walking over, and up from underneath the sand popped my ring. But it wouldn't have happened if I had given up hope and had not taken action by faith. And I don't know how many times God has blessed me with courage, or renewed strength, or wisdom, or whatever I have needed when I have taken the actions of faith even though I didn't feel like it. In the movie, Facing the Giants, I love that concept of preparing the fields for rain. You take actions so that God can bless with rain.

But people frequently don't feel like taking action. But your feelings are immaterial to this principle. If you felt like it, it probably wouldn't be an action of faith. When people come to me for counseling, often they feel very sorry for themselves, and want all the focus on them. And I do focus on helping them, but I almost always give a homework assignment that they arn't too keen about - they don't think it is fair - and that assignment is to minister to someone else who is in worse shape than they are. And inevitably, it helps their attitudes, but more importantly, God blesses their actions of faith. When we withdraw, we make matters worse; we really do. And that's what people in these circumstances want to do, isn't it? They want to withdraw.

Let me try to illustrate that. Opera singer Beverly Sills died back in 2007. But she gave a testimony of how easy it is to destroy yourself by feeling sorry for yourself. And she had plenty to feel sorry for herself about. Her first child was totally deaf – a blow to this musical family. She wept over the deafness of her child who would never be able to hear any music. Her next child was mentally retarded. She took a full year off from work to come to terms with her double tragedy. Later, when she was asked how she learned to cope, she said,

The first question you ask is, ‘Why me?' Then it changes to ‘Why them?' It makes a complete difference in your attitude.

And she is right. It does. I believe that David was asking "Why them?" His sympathies for his wives and children drove him to action. His sympathies for his soldiers, drove him to action. And Psalm 69 shows that he had a heart for the pain of his men. He was an effective leader because he was not self-absorbed. He was willing to take action on behalf of others.

When the crisis was over, David was grateful

Equally shared plunder with the 200 men

Another thing that David did right was that when the crisis was over, David showed that he was grateful to the Lord. In verses 22 and following he equally shared the plunder with the 200 men who were too tired to do anything but stay behind and guard the stuff. And he gave generous gifts to others from what God had blessed him with. And as a result of his responses of faith in God, David was hugely strengthened in his role as a Shepherd of Israel and as a Servant of the people, but especially as a servant and friend of God. Not only had he not become a crisis, but he helped his men to not continue to be a crisis, and showed them how to be solvers of a crisis.

Gave gifts to those who had helped him in the past

Conclusion – further applications

For the sake of time, I have had to throw away nine more applications from Psalm 69 that kept David from being a crisis, but I think if you meditate on that Psalm, you will get those for yourself. But let me end with a story.

Most of you have probably not heard the story behind the hymn, "Just as I am without one plea." If you were a former Arminian, that hymn probably has bad vibes associated with it because that hymn has been so abused in high pressure evangelism by Arminians. And if you've never been in one of those churches, you may not understand what we are talking about. But in some churches they've got to get someone saved in every worship service. We would sing those verses over and over again until someone would put us out of our misery by walking the aisle and getting saved for the umpteenth time. It drove me nuts. So I understand if it has bad vibes. But that's not the fault of the hymn. It's a great hymn.

Anyway, the author's name was Charlotte Elliott. She was a sickly English woman who had developed a long history of refusing to do things she was asked to do simply because of her illness. Her brother, who was a pastor kept pestering her to get involved in ministering to others. He knew that she needed to get out of her shell. And her excuse always was, "I'm not feeling up to it. I'm an invalid, you now. I just don't think I can." In 1834 her brother asked her one more time. They were trying to raise funds for a school, and she was asked if she would help – to at least go to the event and do something. But she refused. And as the family went off to minister that night, and left her alone, she started realizing how her sickness had completely taken over her life. She realized that she was focused on her sickness, not on God. And suddenly she felt ashamed that she had been unwilling to risk anything for the kingdom, and she felt like God was calling her to serve no matter how she felt, with no excuses. And she started writing that hymn – "Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come. Just as I am, and waiting not… Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come…. Just as I am, thy love unknown has broken ev'ry barrier down; now, to be thine, yea, thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come." That was the change that was needed to get her to quit being the crisis and to be part of the solution to the crises that were around her. And I would encourage you to do the same. Quit being a crisis, and start responding by faith to the crises that are all around you. Be a David and watch God do unbelievably wonderful things through you. Amen.

![](./1Samuel 30_1-6/media/image1.jpeg)![](./1Samuel 30_1-6/media/image2.jpeg)Facing a Crisis Without Becoming a Crisis

1 Samuel 30:1-6

By Phillip G. Kayser at DCC on 4-22-2012


I. Crises can hit anyone – but it hit David and his men especially hard (vv. 1-3)

A. Physical exhaustion (v. 1a,4,10)

B. An entire city ruined (v. 1b)

C. Loved ones taken as slaves (v. 2)

D. A total loss of everything you own (v. 3)

II. Unhelpful (but understandable) responses?

A. React with despair (v. 4)

B. Lash out at others (vv. 5-6b)

1. Despite the fact that David had lost just as much as they had (v. 5)

2. Despite the fact that David was also greatly distressed (v. 6a)

C. Become bitter (v. 6c)

III. How David handled his crisis (vv. 6dff with Psalm 69)

A. First, note that David's words of crying out as an overwhelmed person (Psalm 69) are also prophetically words of Jesus (see vv. 4, 9, 22,23, 25 quoted in John 2:17; 15:25; Acts 1:20; Rom. 11:9-10; 15:3; etc.)

B. He was realistic about his desperate straights

1. He wept (v. 4) and felt overwhelmed (Ps. 69:1-3)

2. He realized the danger he was in (v. 6) and that people would not be fair with him (Ps. 69:4) and that even his relatives had turned on him (Ps. 69:8), but instead of striking back, he understood and he prayed for them (vv. 7ff; Ps. 69:6)

C. He accepted responsibility for the situation (Ps. 69:5-7)

D. He strengthened himself in God (v. 6d with Psalm 25; 69)

E. He sought guidance (v. 7ff)

F. He took action (vv. 8ff)

G. When the crisis was over, David was grateful

1. Equally shared plunder with the 200 men

2. Gave gifts to those who had helped him in the past

Conclusion – further applications


  1. James DeLoach, associate pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Houston, quoted in When God Was Taken Captive, W. Aldrich, Multnomah, 1989, p. 24.

  2. The main arguments for the northern location are: First, chapters 28-31 are not quite so out of order as many people make them out to be. Second, chapter 29 verse 1 seems like it is having the two armies square off near each other. Third, it makes sense of chapter 29:11 where it says that David returned to the land of the Philistines. That implied that it was an Aphek out of Philistine control. And fourth, it makes sense out of the fact that 200 men are so exhausted in chapter 30, verses 9 and 10 that they cannot take another step.

    The main arguments for the southern Aphek is that chapter 29, verse 3 seems to indicate that the other four Philistine lords realize there are Hebrews with them for the first time in Aphek. Unless Achish really took up the rear, a northern Aphek doesn't make as much sense. Second, whatever other problems arise, chapter 29 ends by saying that the Philistines went up to Jezreel after David left them. Though that could just refer to climbing the elevation immediately east of Jezreel, it seems to make more sense out of a southern Aphek. Most commentators take a southern Aphek as the most likely.

Facing a Crisis Without Becoming a Crisis is part of the Life of David series published on April 22, 2012

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