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David at Ziglag

Bishop George D. McKinney, Second Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ

   This phase in the life of David that is mentioned here in the 29th and 30th chapters of 1st Samuel is an interesting period of his life. He had been anointed and appointed to be the king of Israel and yet he was living far beneath his privilege. He was a fugitive. He was running from Saul. He had reached perhaps the lowest point of his life and had joined with the enemies of Israel. And had become accepted, as it were, by the leaders of the opposition of his people. He even volunteered to bring his considerable military skills to the service of the enemy of Israel. A story that he was refused because there were those who were captives who said that perhaps in the heat of battle he would have a flashback and become loyal again to those whom he was connected by blood, culture and religion. 

   So he settled for resettlement in Ziglag. There he took his two wives, his sons and six hundred men. But before he was in Ziglag he made an excursion to do a little battle and he had some success in that excursion. When he returned home, he discovered that the Amalekites had visited Ziglag and, while the men with David had been away, the enemy had come in and kidnapped the wives and the children, taken the spoils and escaped. They burned the city.

   So when David returned with his men there was depression and anger and a sense of total futility and hopelessness. Here we are in a strange land, the wives and children of God. Our valuables all gone and, here we arenow, empty and without resources. It was at that point that David's men decided that maybe they should storm him. He had gotten us into this mess in the first place - a rather interesting reaction, very common for those who are in leadership. You suffer the ridicule and the anger from those who believe, when the leader is suffering even more than those who are angry about the situation. So in that moment of despair David turned and began to weep. He had a moment of real discouragement - hopelessness.

   Then there is this word, "He encouraged himself" in the Lord. In the work of organizing there will be moments when it will seem that all of hell has turned against us and the heavens of brass. There is no answer in such moments of despair and discouragement, we must remember who we are. David was in a strange land but he remembered that he was a son of God, that he was the anointed of God. David was in the midst of a terrible conflict with whom he was leading and yet he remembered that it was the Lord who was his strength and his protection and his guide.

   And so with that memory he encouraged himself. He remembered whose he was. We must keep that in perspective every step of the way. For the powers that be, the centers of wickedness, the evil that lurks all around us will cause us sometimes to even question if God has anointed, appointed and called us. In those moments we must strengthen ourselves and  encourage ourselves in knowing that he has promised never to leave us or forsake us. His hand is not short. His power is unlimited and he will do it every time.

   Yes, after David encouraged himself. He then did something very wise. He began to pray. Isn't it interesting that sometimes we cry. We complain when we ought to pray first. But after he have gone through the bitter weeping and the confrontation with those who were his leaders, then he went to God and asked God what am I to do. And I think that is what we are doing when we come together in the organizing effort here. When we covenant and agree that we are going practice under God's direction and guidance, we are doing what David did. We are asking God what should we do next.

   Have this in mind. At this point David didn't know where his wives were. He had no idea whether his valuables were completely gone forever. He didn't know whether his sons were dead or alive. He was suffering the worst kind of experience that a human can experience. 

    And I began to think in regards to the parallel of David's situation and our situation in the cities in our nation. Families are in deep trouble. Our children are confused. Drugs are not only ramped that they are used in abundance outside the church but also in the church. A recent survey showed that 60% of pastors, who were surveyed, are consuming pornography. Josh McDowell did a a study not long ago and discovered that the children of the saints are just as promiscuously sexually as the children of the sinner. The divorce rate for Christians is about the same as the divorce rate in the world. 

    It seems like the devil has kidnapped our sons and daughters and  has broken into our homes and brought havoc and confusion among the very people of God. There is no question that something has been stolen from us. In some of our churches there is no joy, joy being stolen. Children have been kidnapped.

    Integrity has been called into question. The fullness of the organized enemy and all of his wickedness - he has invaded the very sanctuary of God, And he has kidnapped our children, our companions, our testimonies, briefly our integrity has been called into question. 

    It was in this kind of moment in David's life that he asked God, What shall I do? Shall I pursue? Shall I concede defeat? And that's the question that we are facing.  Do we in the cities concede defeat because the education system has failed us in the city? Do we throw in the towel because the prisons are filling up with our sons and daughters? Do we give up in despair because many of our churches are closing and trying to remain open by merging dying congregation? Do we give up because the power structure is saying that the churches are no longer relevant? And that the gospel of Jesus Christ has no meaning for this technological age? 

    And David asked God  what shall I do as we are asking him now what shall we do? In my sanctified imagination, I hear God saying to us in this meeting, Go back to Boston, Harlem, San Diego, San Francisco, Richmond, Los Angeles. Go back organize the churches and the people of God and through prayerful and anointed ministry worship and work. Go get your stuff. 

    God will restore the testimony. God will restore the joy. Now I am here to testify that three of my five sons were lost in drugs and promiscuity and rejecting all of the teaching that we had given them. But God said, "Go get them." And thanks be to God, we witnessed them coming back and they are married for God says if you will obey me and trust me, I'll make the darkness light before you. what's wrong I will make it right before you. I'll cause you to be the head and not the tail. I'll give you triumph out of tragedy. I will bring you out of your Ziglag, let you recover it all. 

    So in the 19th and 20th verse David went as God had told him. He found an African brother about to die. He happened to have been with the crowd that had raided Ziglag. And the brother said that, if you protect me, I will show you where they are.  And they found those who had kidnapped the wives giving a party, really a buugaloo, gettin down. I suspect those have been a part of the devil's camp think that they have reason to celebrate. 

    Listen the story's not over yet! This is our Father's world. Jesus shall reign wherever the sun does its successful journey run. His kingdom shall stretch from shore to shore. We have this mandate from the Lord. We prayed. We are organizing. Now let's go get our sons. Whatever the devil has stolen from us, it belongs to us. Go get your stuff.

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