In “Braveheart,” the English descend on the tiny highland village that William Wallace happens to live in and havoc ensues. Something like that happened to David and his men as well. They were away from their encampment at Ziklag, and when they returned, discovered that “the Amalekites had raided Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive the women and all [meaning their wives and children] who were in it.” (1 Samuel 30:1-2)
Those of you parents who have lost a small child know something of the sheer horror that David and his 600 men felt. They were crazed with grief and “wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.” Karen and I once lost Estie in a Juarez slum when she was six – it was a terrible feeling.
As members of the tribe of Judah that Jesus heroically rescued when we were held captive by an enemy whose only design was to plunder and ravage our family, we need to remember a little tribal history. We need to do so, because in the big picture, we are all a little like David and his men.
When Christ is formed in us, we begin to do as he did. He said one of his main missions was to set the captives free. This needs to begin with our family members. Too often we think that means getting them to say a prayer, oblivious to the fact that our daughters still keep cutting themselves; they continue on in their eating disorders, and our sons are still consumed by a pornography addiction. We need to set the captives free from the lies that cause them to engage in this self-destructive behavior. We need the spirit of violence that Jesus referred to in Matt. 11:12.
David was terrified and his men were ready to kill him (verse 6). But he did as we need to do. He engaged in listening prayer – he inquired of God: “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” (verse 8)
The Lord answered David as he’ll answer each of us, encouraging him to set the captives free. Somewhere in your life, you’ll come upon your Ziklag, and if Christ is formed in you, you’ll know what to do.
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I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.