As I was thinking about the hopes of the coming year, and some of the questions I needed to ask God, I ended up opening my Bible to 1 Samuel 30. It is the story of David and his troop of 600 men returning to Ziklag.
Upon returning to Ziklag, a city of refuge and rest for both David and the families of his men, they find the city burned to the ground, their possessions gone, and all the women and children, including David’s two wives, taken captive by the Amalekites. Some of the men, consumed by fatigue and the grief of losing their wives, sons, and daughters, wanted to stone David. Yet David, in the midst of his own sadness, has the wisdom to pray for guidance from God, asking if he is to pursue the Amalekites.
God answers David, saying, “Pursue; for thou shall overtake them, and without fail, recover ALL!”
Several years ago, ABC’s Nightline did a story about a Korean family who fled North Korea to freedom in America, leaving everything they had behind. Any family member who chose not to flee at the predetermined date and time, clearly understood that the chances were unlikely they would ever see their family members again. So, after paying off all the necessary parties, under the guise of night, four members of the family of five escaped. They hid under the floorboards of a small boat, and glided across the river separating the dictatorial regime of North Korea, to the lesser constraints of South Korea. The family included the father, mother, younger son, and daughter; the eldest son, fearful for his life and the life of his young family, would elect to stay behind. Once in South Korea, the family would find their way to America; and, for the next 30 years, the mother prayed every day for the reuniting of her family that was left behind when they fled.
Fast forward 30 years. The younger son, now an adult, is an affluent businessman, husband, and father to a daughter attending Harvard University. One day, his daughter, an upcoming filmmaker, exasperated from hearing her grandmother’s 30-year-old prayer to reunite the family members left in North Korea, says to her father,
“Dad, why can’t we just go and get them?” Her father, understanding that his American-born child simply didn't understand the dangers associated with the task, responds by saying, “We can’t. -You just don’t understand!”
However, his daughter, with all the hopes, dreams, rationale, and bravado of a typical American youth, adamantly says, “Why can’t we? -We have the money; all we have to do is pay off the necessary people to smuggle them out the same way you and Grandma came out!” The father, thinking of his daughter’s words, had never looked at the problem quite this simply before.
Fast forward a few months later. With all the necessary people paid off, every family member who wanted to escape North Korea was placed between the floorboards of a sizable boat, and under the guise of night, smuggled to South Korea. Once there, the paperwork would finalize a thirty-year prayer to bring the remaining members of the original family to America. -What a huge family! Like most reunions, it was truly beautiful to see. However, here’s my thought.
God answered the mother’s prayer 30 years earlier. For 30 years God watched and waited for her or someone in her family to have the courage —the faith, to fulfill His response. For 30 years she asked, and God waited ...and waited ...and waited for her to move—to create action—30 years.
It took 30 years and a third generation to remove the fear associated with her prayer. In 1 Samuel 30:8, David asks God, “Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And God tells David, “Pursue; for thou shall surely overtake them, and without fail, recover all.” Not some, not a few, ALL! And, just so you fully understand why it is important for you as a Christian to pursue the dreams and desires God has placed in your heart without fear; the spoils are not simply for your benefit only. David shared the spoils of his victory with 600 families, and the people in 14 cities.
This is the beginning of a new year, God has promised in Deuteronomy 28:1-13 to uplift you when you follow His commands. Yet, for many of us, the thing God requires of us is such a quantum leap forward in its simplicity, it immobilizes us in fear, turning what should be the simple process of obedience, into a quantum leap of faith.
When you believe that God has already answered your prayer, take the steps to act boldly!
Let this year, be the year your faith takes you a quantum leap forward. L.
Study Reference: 1 Samuel 30, Deuteronomy 28:1-13
From: "Recovery." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell