By James Smith
"So Achish gave David the town of Ziklag," 1 Samuel 27:6
"Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziklag; they had crushed Ziklag and burned it to the ground. They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone. When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, they wept until they could weep no more." 1 Samuel 30:1-4
How instructive is the life of David! Every part is calculated to edify and benefit the spiritual child of God; it was written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. There is much to be learned from this occurrence.
Ziklag had been given to David; here he dwelt with his family and friends--and no doubt enjoyed many a happy hour. He was prompted to go forth against his brethren the Israelites, and self seems to have had much to do with this circumstance; therefore I hear him saying to Achish, "Surely you will see for yourself what I can do," 1 Samuel 28:2. While he was going to show what he could do, the Amalekites came against Ziklag, took the women captives, burnt Ziklag with fire, and departed. David returns to witness the desolation, weeps over the ruins, hears the people talk of stoning him, inquires of the Lord by Abiather, and gets an assurance that he shall recover all. Upon this, he goes forth to the brook Besor, leaves there his fainting men, pursues after his enemy with the remainder, finds an Egyptian who brings him down to the camp, which he finds rejoicing over the spoils; he smites his enemies, and recovers all.
Here are many lessons of instruction, as "When pride comes--then comes shame," Proverbs 11:2. There is no joining with the enemies of the church without suffering; seldom does one trouble come alone; Ziklag is burnt--and the people talk of stoning him.
The Christian in trouble is near to his God--who has an ear to listen to his cries, and a heart to answer his request. He shall be sure to meet with success, who will begin no enterprise without consulting and obtaining direction from the Lord.
But I would view David here as the type of his Lord; and methinks there appears something sweet in the subject viewed in this light.
David signifies, "beloved." Just so, Jesus is the beloved of the Father, the church's beloved, and the beloved of the elect angels.
Ziklag, a city of the Philistines, was given him for a possession, and there he took up his abode. Just so, the world was given to Jesus for a possession, and a dwelling place for himself and his people.
Here David brought his wives, Ahinoam, "beauty and loveliness," and Abigail, "the joy of the Father;" and here he dwelt with, and enjoyed their company. Just so, the church of Jesus is by him made beauty, or beautiful as Tirzah, Song 6:4. She is the Hephzibah, or delight of the Father, who has loved her with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness drawn her. These two women may represent the two parts of the one church, the bride of the Lamb; the Jewish and the Gentile.
Amalek, "who licks up," the type of Satan, comes against the city in David's absence; they burned the city, and took captive the wives--but did not kill any. Just so, Satan came against the church, and took her captive, and burnt up the world, and reduced it to a moral wilderness, and it is even now set on fire of Hell; but though he took captive the church, he was not allowed to destroy her, nor any part of her.
When David came to Ziklag he beheld it in a ruined state; he wept over it, and the people talked of stoning him. Just so, when Jesus came into our world, he beheld it in its wretched, miserable, ruined state; he wept over it tears of love, pity, and compassion; and more than once they took up stones to stone him.
This conduct did not divert the attention, alter the intention, or alienate the affection of David. Just so, neither did the base conduct of his people change the purpose or affection of Jesus--but having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end.
David inquired of Abiather, "the excellent pattern, or father of him that survived." Just so, Jesus took counsel with Jehovah our Father, respecting the recovery of his church, before he attempted her rescue.
David had the Lord's word that he should recover all. Just so, of Jesus it was predicted, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, until he has set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law," Is. 42:4.
David went over the brook Besor, which signifies "incarnation, or glad tidings," to recover his wives and property. Just so, Jesus was incarnated, made under the law, made of a woman, to redeem his bride and recover the forfeited possession; his incarnation was indeed glad tidings of great joy unto all people. He came into the world to save sinners, to give himself for his church, and to send the glad tidings of his love, birth, work, death, sacrifice, and conquests throughout the earth; and we have beheld the glory of the word made flesh, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
David found the young Egyptian, who "binds, straightens, troubles, or oppresses," who brings him down to his enemies. Just so, Jesus found an Egyptian in Judas, who brought his enemies upon him, to deliver him into their hands.
"David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day." Just so did Jesus, he began before it was yet day; he fought throughout the day, and cried out, "It is finished" in the evening.
David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great; "David recovered all;" and he equally divided the spoil. Just so, Jesus has recovered all that his people lost through sin; the purity of their nature, the justification of their people, and their title to life. All this is recovered; and he will present to himself a spotless, blameless, holy church, perfectly justified in his own immaculate righteousness; and entitled to life. He equally divides the spoil--each has a full pardon, a perfect righteousness, a new nature, a title to bliss, a whole Christ, all the promises, and all things. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. None can have more, none have less, every one shall receive his penny.
Reader, have you been used to view Jesus as the beloved? Is he the beloved of your soul, the light of your eyes, the joy of your heart, the center of your affections, the supreme object of your faith, love, and desire? Are you saying, "None but Jesus! None but Christ for me!" Do you view him as having recovered all, having conquered Satan, removed sin, satisfied divine justice, procured pardon, made peace, sealed the covenant, confirmed the promises, opened Heaven, and consecrated a new and living way into the holiest, for sinners? Do you view his blood as the price of your pardon, the choicest expression of his love?