This chapter works as a sort of chronicle of the righteous David. David is just, brave, prayerful, generous, wise – and blessed.
David and his men return from the Philistine army. They must have been elated to have been released, but now their joy turns to tears of helpless despair, and they find that their families have been carted off by the Amalekites, and their goods plundered (vv.1-2). They want to take their fury out on David, who found that, when men were against him, God’s strengthening grace was constant (vv.3-6). David is assured by God that his rescue mission will be blessed with success, so he and his men set out, and have the whereabouts of the captives pinpointed by a slave abandoned by the Amalekites (vv.7-16).
David’s victory is inevitable, now, and all the loved ones are recovered, along with their and many other people’s possessions. Just as David feels he can relax, he has to intervene to quell the anger of the men who resent those who didn’t fight sharing in the plunder (vv.21-25). His wisdom is further seen in giving gifts of what they have taken to various Philistine leaders (vv.26-31). This is David at his best: shrewd, decisive, pacifying, and effective in his leadership.
So here’s a leader you can follow. Except he’s long-dead. And here’s a leader you can follow, who has defeated death. Jesus is just, brave, prayerful, generous, wise – and blessed. Great David’s greater Son stands in glory, but stoops to serve all who know the difficulties of life. He is ready to help us in our sins, temptations, trials and losses. We might not find all we have lost in this life perfectly made up to us now – and who says we deserve that? But we have a Saviour who will wipe away every tear one day, and who will give us more than all we’ve ever given up or lost in His service. And that great day will be where all David’s greatest days were, in the Promised Land. Except, of course, our Promised Land is Heaven, where we shall see this King in His beauty, and view a land that stretches afar (Isaiah 33.17).