Before king David became king of Israel, he spent many years hiding in the wilderness from the incumbent king Saul. At one point he got tired of running and hiding in the wilderness, so he left the land of Israel with his family, all his fighting men, and their families. They went to the land of the Philistines (an enemy of Israel) and got permission from the Philistines to settle in the area of Ziklag. It became their own little village and was safe from the pursuit of king Saul. They lived there for about 2 years and during that time David would take all the fighting men to raid towns known to be enemies of Israel. One time after a raid, he came back to his home village of Ziklag and found the village had been burned to the ground and all his family and the families of the men were gone. Everyone was devastated. The bible says David and the men all wept and cried until they were exhausted. All the men were so angry because their wives and children were gone that they talked about killing David their leader.
It was at this point that the Bible says David strengthened himself in the Lord. At a time of great emotional turmoil and sadness, David decided to find strength from God. No one is exactly sure what this looked like, but David was known for writing many Psalms, many of which talked about sadness, but end with praising God for his goodness. Some believe that Psalms 56 was written for this situation at Ziklag, when all was taken from him and He decided to continue to declare God’s faithfulness. If you get a chance I recommend reading Psalms 56. As you do, notice how David with confidence, declares and proclaims the good character of God.
After David is strengthened, he decides to seek God’s direction. He doesn’t just get all pumped up and full of faith and charge out, he instead asks God if he should. God answers that David should pursue those who destroyed everything. David asks if he will overtake them and God confirms he will.
On the way God provided guidance through an Egyptian slave who had been left behind by the enemy raiding party. The Egyptian was able to lead David to their position where God provided the victory. David and his men were able to bring back all their families and possessions.
When they all returned to Ziklag, 3 days later David received word that king Saul and his son were dead. This was sad news, however it meant that David would be able to become the next king of Israel.
David was faced with a difficult situation in Ziklag, he chose to have great confidence in God, despite what he felt or what others around him felt. He could have just given up, but instead he chose hope for the future and declared God’s goodness was bigger than his situation.