There will always be tragedies in our lives.

Job 5:7 – Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

There will always be a right way and a wrong way to handle tragedy. The right way of handling tragedy keeps one in touch with God. The wrong way of handling tragedy is without God. Handling tragedy without God leads to bitterness, failure, and perhaps, more tragedy.

This morning we want to consider an event in the life of David and find David experiencing one of the bitterest tragedies of his life. We can learn much from David, as he shows us how to move from tragedy to triumph.


1 Samuel 27:1-4 – David had been pursued by King Saul for a long time and had grown weary of it. He went over to the enemy’s side.

David would make raids, kill everyone, and lie about where he had gone. This gave Achish the impression that David was attacking his own people and causing a separation between he and Israel. 1 Samuel 27:12

David requested of Achish a place to live, and Achish gave him the down of Ziklag.

The time came for a showdown between Israel and the Philistines. When the Philistines gathered together, David was with Achish. The other Philistine Lords balked and David and his men were sent home.

I see God’s hand in this. David did not have to fight his own people, so David would not be blamed for the death of Saul.

Also, David got home just in time to end up rescuing those who were taken into captivity.


Vss. 1-2 – The Amalekites had invaded Ziklag. With all the men off to war, Ziklag was defenseless. Everything of value was taken, including the women and children, who could be sold as slaves. The city was burned.

Vs. 3 – Imagine the shock when David and his men came over a hill, anticipating family coming out to meet them. Instead they saw smoldering ash and found nobody left.

We never know when tragedy will come home to us. Some recent examples include the terrible fires out west, recent hurricanes, terrorist attacks in Iraq, and the bombings in London.

We are not exempt from tragedy.

Vss. 4-5 – David and his men, mature and brave soldiers, just cried until they cried no more! David knew how his men felt. His wives were taken captive.

It is appropriate to cry and also appropriate to remember that God can get us past the tears of any tragedy. Psalm 30:5

Vs. 6 – If the current tragedy weren’t bad enough, David became the scapegoat for his men’s anger.

And the Scripture tells us why they were ready to stone David.

They were all grieved. When we grieve greatly we don’t think clearly. When we don’t think clearly we will say things that we are sorry for.

You can understand why David was greatly distressed.

His city was destroyed.

His men’s families had all been taken captive.

His wives were among the captives.

And now his men want to stone him! I’d be greatly distressed to.


1 Samuel 30:6 – but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

David did not always do what was right. Some of the things that he did in life were questionable at best. But when push came to shove, David knew where to turn. David encouraged himself in the Lord his God! This is what we should do as well. Isaiah 40:31, 41:10, Psalm 55:22, 118:6, Hebrews 13:8, Psalm 3:1-6

David got help in the person of God – who He is! We get help in the person of Christ – who He is! 

Vss. 7-8 – David asked for the ephod that was part of the priest’s clothing. It was used to help determine God’s will.

In other words, David inquired of God. He got His wisdom from God. David asked if they should pursue the Amalakites. The answer was yes, and all would be recovered.

I am reminded of two things. First of all, when all seems lost, all is not necessarily lost.

Secondly when all seems lost, and I don’t know where to turn, I need to inquire of him. James 1:5-8


When we pray for guidance and God gives it, we need to follow God’s will. Not only was David following after the enemy, but David was also following God’s directions.

As a pastor I’ve done some counseling in my time.

I’ve discovered something. Godly counsel doesn’t work if it isn’t followed. With God’s help many problems could have been solved if people had just obeyed God.

Vss. 9-15 – Why was this slave sick? God needed him to help David. When he was too sick to travel the owner ditched him. Food and drink revived him!

God will put all sorts of people in your life just at the right time to meet your needs.

And God will put you in the right place at the right time to help provide for the needs of others.


Vss. 16-20 – Think for a moment. David was outnumbered. David and his men were exhausted, yet God in his providence provided the victory!

I love the phrase at the end of verse 19, “David recovered all.”

Not all victories are as obvious as this one. Sometimes we see victory take place even though circumstances stay the same or get worse.

What is the secret of Victory in the Life? It is dependence upon the work of God through His Spirit in our lives!

Ephesians 3:16 – That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

I am becoming more and more convinced that unless God does it, I can’t do it!


Vss. 21-25 – Some were too weak to go with David.

Some wanted to disqualify the weak from

getting any of the spoils.


David proclaimed that the ones who stayed with the stuff, would get their reward.

That encourages me.

God gives rewards not just to missionaries and pastors, but to all those who “stay with the stuff”.

1 Corinthians 4:2 – Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

We can pray.

We can give.

We can encourage.

We can witness.

We can do projects to help within our ability.

We can teach.

We can stay by the stuff!

We will be rewarded.