Our Best Laid Plans
Our Best Laid Plans
1 Samuel 30:1-20
In the poem, “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns, we read the following: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” Since we do not speak Scottish, we have Americanized the phrase to say, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong. If you were here with us on Wednesday night, we looked at how David had determined in his heart that there was nothing better for him to do than to flee to the land of Philistines. Initially things are going well for him. Achish the king looks favorably upon David and he gives him the city of Ziklag. He would go from village to village attacking the people, wiping them out completely, then he would take the spoil. We could say that even though he was winning the wars, and accumulating stuff, he was not successful in the eyes of the Lord. He was not where he was supposed to be. His plans begin to fall apart when the Philistines plan an attack on Israel, and Achish asks David and his men to help in the raid. David gets out of the battle when the princes of Philistines recognize who he is. Now try to imagine the journey of David and his men back to Ziklag. I suppose there was some sense of relief among the men as they realized that they got out of a very difficult position. At least we still have Ziklag; at least we still have our families to return to. They begin to see smoke rising in the distance. Maybe they see several areas that look like they have been burned. They realize that one of those areas was Ziklag. When they finally get to the city they find that all of the women and children are gone. Can you imagine how their hearts sunk? Every one is gone, and they did not know where they had been taken. Then this rough and tough gang of 600 men began to weep until there was no more power to weep. David plans are falling apart, they have gone up in smoke.
We have all come to places in our life when we waited on God for a time, and things didn’t work out as we expected. Then we decide to take matters into our own hands. We shouldn’t be surprised by the results and the vents when our best laid plans crumble to dust. When we abandon the plan of God for our lives we are inviting calamity and misery to be our companions.
1. David was distressed (v6). What does that mean? Look it up in a Bible dictionary or concordance—to be pressured, vexed, and pressed down. David felt that he was being squeezed and pressed; he did not like the pressure. He was greatly distressed, this was more than the usual pressure, it was great pressure. He was at the end of his rope, the straw that broke the camel’s back. What is the reason that David is distressed? The city has been burned, the wives and children are gone, and grief has overcome them. The source of the stress was that the people spoke of stoning him. Who would have ever thought that these 600 men would turn on their leader David? What is the source of this distress? Of course it’s his circumstances. I don’t think so. He is so alone—wives, men have turned on him, he can turn to no one. Samuel is dead, Jonathan is no where to be found, he can’t turn to the king of Israel. He found that even people of his own tribe had let him down. I have brought this distress upon myself by forsaking my God. I gave up on Him, but He has not given up on me. God was taking away the things that seemed important to him in order to get his attention.
Often times when our best laid plans fail us, it is because God is trying to show us something. You don’t belong there, you shouldn’t be involved in that. When we perceive that the things of God have failed us (Bible, prayer, church, holiness) we tend to take things into our hands. You may wandering tonight. That confidence and dependence on God you had has weakened. He didn’t come through in the time frame or in the way you expected, so you are doing your own thing. God will do what He has to do to bring you back to the point where you trust in Him alone. Sometimes that will bring pressure upon us.
2. David encouraged himself in the Lord (v6). At this point in his life, what were his options? There was no one left. Encourage yourself in the Lord—what does it mean? How about this: Remembering what God has done, remembering those times of sweet communion with God. Our troubles can blur our vision, and we need to be reminded of God’s goodness. 2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: David do you remember those starry nights out in the fields where it was just you, Me and the sheep? David do you remember how our fellowship would spur you to write psalms of praise unto Me? Salvation, deliverance, needs were met prayers were answered.
Where I was when you knew where to find me is where I am now. I never moved from that place. You moved, you lost confidence, you created your own situation of distress.
I wonder if the Lord will help me again down by the burnt city of Ziklag. God said I would be king, my men want to kill me—they can’t both be true. God has a purpose for my life, so these men cannot destroy me.
3. David enquired at the Lord (v8). David did you get here by enquiring of God? No. Did you get here because you failed to ask the Lord? Yes. So what should you do from this point forward? Enquire of the Lord.