David. When this name is mentioned, what comes into your mind? Some people picture an innocent but rejected shepherd, singing psalms, playing a harp and marveling at the stars in the sky. Others imagine a little boy, with a sling in his hand, challenging a nine feet nine monster. Yet still, some are confronted with the fallibility of this statesman, coveting Uriah’s wife, facilitating Uriah’s murder. This is the man, David, a man after God’s own heart.
When Samuel anointed him king of Israel, David’s life changed; he was no longer a mere shepherd tending sheep in jungles of Israel. That was only the beginning. Goliath stood up and cursed Israel, David heard about this, he fought him and brought victory to all Israel; women sang songs about him. The drama began to unfold. Saul was tormented by evil spirits and appointed David to play music; his gift brought him before the king. And the king was jealousy. David began his journey, running from Saul, running for his life. Then he found Ziklag, a city in Negev.
Ziklag was a place of rest, family, friendship and protection. Only those loyal to David, were with him at Ziklag. His two wives and kids, lived at Ziklag. It was a picture of a reclaimed lost inheritance. God had given Simeon Ziklag as an inheritance, however the Philistines had captured it. The Philistine king gave Ziklag back to David.
Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.
1Sa 30:1-3 ESV
David came back from the war and was confronted with ashes. The stink of the burnt houses met them from afar. The horror of a burnt city brought, David and his mighty men of valor to tears. They wept, until they could not weep any more. Their wives and kids had also been taken by the Amalekites. If your houses catch fire, you can simply call the fire engine, but the firemen cannot put out the ‘fire’ of plummeting finances, marriage doldrums or wayward kids. Recently, more than 80 girls have been kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Hopefully, the kids are going to be found. The parents of the kids, have placed their trust in the government to use force or otherwise so that they can have their kids back. Unfortunately, when you kids have been taken by drugs, evil company, disease or simply foolishness, no government can help you with that.
What message do you hear from the ashes? When you look at the burnt out city what message do you hear? Do you hear the wailing and weeping of those in the same boat with you? Do you hear the complaints and doomsday prophecy of those around you? Do you hear the words of the Lord when He anointed you when you were just an unknown shepherd? Do you hear the encouragement of the Lord when He brought you victory in the face of the giant? What message are you hearing?
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
Isa 61:1-3 ESV
This is the message from the ashes.
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