As elementary school children, we were taught that if our clothing ever caught on fire, we must immediately stop, drop and roll. By doing so instead of running around fanning the flames, the stop, drop and roll technique would smother the fire of our burning clothing and save our lives. We used to frequently practice this technique so that in case it was ever necessary, it would be second nature to us.
Years ago, as a baby Christian, our beloved Lord God spoke a similar command into my heart. During times when my world seems to be on fire, He told me not to run around in a panic, fanning the flames, but to stop…drop…and pray!
In 1 Samuel 30, we read a testimony about David and the fiery trial he and his men experienced at the hands of the Amalekites.
1 Samuel 30:1-6 NLT …
1 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. 2 They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone. 3 When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, 4 they wept until they could weep no more. 5 David's two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, were among those captured. 6 David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
King David found himself in a place where his life and the lives of his men were “on fire.” Each one of their wives and children had been kidnapped and their city literally burned to the ground. In their bitterness, David’s men talked of stoning him, not considering that his family had also been kidnapped. But David didn’t retaliate against his men, nor did he angrily strap on his sword and pursue those who had done this evil thing. David instead stopped, dropped and prayed. He sought and found strength in the Lord his God. Verse 6 in the KJV says, “…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” At one of the most discouraging times in his life, David encouraged himself in the Lord.
The Bible tells us of another time when David was faced with a trial. Although David was a man after God’s own heart, sometimes he reacted before seeking God. In 1 Samuel 25:2-13, we find that David did not seek the Lord but did indeed strap on his sword and ride out in anger to take revenge on a foolish man named Nabal.
1 Samuel 25:2-13
2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel 3 (now the man's name was Nabal, and his wife's name was Abigail. And the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebite), 4 that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him in my name; 6 and thus you shall say, 'Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 'Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. 8 'Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.'" 9 When David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David's name; then they waited. 10 But Nabal answered David's servants and said, "Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11 "Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?" 12 So David's young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words. 13 David said to his men, "Each of you gird on his sword." So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage
It was the gentle, humble spirit of Nabal’s wife Abigail, and the words of truth she spoke to David that turned his anger and desire for revenge away from Nabal. And in the end, it was God Who struck Nabal, who died about ten days later. 1 Samuel 25:14-38.
By the time we come to 1 Samuel 30:1-6, King David doesn’t react the same way he did with Nabal but stops to seeks the Lord.
· David knows where his help comes from: Psalms 121:1-2
· He knows that his Father will direct his steps and illuminate the way: Psalms 119:105
· He knows that his Father will tell him what to do: Isaiah 30:21
· He knows that no matter how dark or painful it is, that the Lord His God is with him: Psalms 23
If we continue to read the testimony in 1 Samuel 30, the Lord tells David what he is to do and assures him of victory over the Amalekites. And not only that, but in 1 Samuel 30:21-25, we read that David was good to all of his men, returning their families and dividing the spoil collected from the Amalekites, with them. The very men who, in their bitterness wanted to stone him, each and every one of them David blessed and took care of.
So my beloved brothers and sisters, when your world seems to be engulfed in flames, when every direction you turn looks like a wall of fire, when everything feels like it is burning out of control, STOP…DROP… and PRAY! God will make a way where there seems to be no way and you will be victorious in Him, you will be a blessing to others and you will bring glory and honor to the Lord our God.