Ziklag, a Picture of Vanity and Grace
By Pastor Tony Butler
Because David had slain Goliath he was invited into the house of Saul, and was given one of his daughters to wed. David faithfully served Saul and loved him. Unknown to Saul, David had been anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next King of Israel. He was blessed of God and was used greatly by God to defeat the enemies of Israel. So successful was he, that people began to sing, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David His ten thousands”. Saul was the reigning King of Israel at that time but God had rejected him because of his sinful disobedience, and told him his kingdom was torn from him. King Saul, a man who loved to be the center attraction, became very jealous of David because of the people's song. One evening at the dinner table Saul threw a spear at David in an attempt to kill him.
David fled for his life and went to the land of the Philistines, who were mortal enemies of Israel, to escape the hand of Saul. David was recognized as the “slayer of ten thousands” and fear struck his soul. To save his life he pretended to be a crazy man. His plan worked, but he left the Philistines with the testimony of a madman, not as an anointed man of God, who was to be the next king of Israel.
David went back to Israel and wandered around outlying areas with other men and their families who had come out to join him. Hearing of this King Saul came with armies to kill David and all those with him. But God protected David so that Saul could not touch him. After Saul’s last attempt to kill David, David said in his heart that Saul was going to kill him one day and once again fled from Israel back into the land of Philistia. Once there he met with Achish, one of the Philistine kings and made a deal with him. David told him that if he let him and his men stay in a city of Philistia, that he would serve Achish and fight his enemies. Achish agreed, believing David would forever be his servant giving him the city of Ziklag.
However, David had deceived Achish. When he went out to fight, he would seek out the enemies of Israel and kill every last person so none could reveal what he was doing. He would lie to Achish and give false accounts of those whom he had destroyed.
One day the armies of Philistia gathered to fight King Saul and the army of Israel. David accompanied Achish but when the other Philistine kings saw David, they distrusted him thinking he might use the battle as an opportunity to reconcile to Saul and turn on the Philistines. So, with protest David and his men were sent back to Ziklag. Upon returning they found the city burned and their families taken by the Amalekites. Grief struck their Souls. The men who had so faithfully followed David, now spoke of killing him.
Yes, David was now reaping the consequences of well-laid plans that were not of God. Though God had anointed him king, protected him from Saul, and fully provided for him, David said in his heart that Saul was going to kill him. He was not willing to trust God for his circumstances and devised his own plans. As a result, he pretended to be a madman, he lied through his teeth, and he dwelled with his enemies. David’s plans found their fruition in the burned out city of Ziklag. His heart was grieved, his family kidnapped, and his faithful men wanted to kill him. His plans seemed to work for a while, but the best laid out plans with out God will always wind up at Ziklag.
David came to his senses and encouraged himself in the Lord. For the first time he began to get divine direction. The story has a happy ending, but David learned a huge lesson. The best laid out plans that exclude God will not stand.
What are you running from? Are you trusting God in your circumstances or have you developed your own plans? When your plans bottom out, and they will, remember the God of grace and mercy. Call out to Him Who says, “I will teach you and instruct you. I will guide you with my eyes upon you”.