Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 4, 2015

“increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Samuel Chapter 30.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+30&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Then it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire;  2 and they took captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great, without killing anyone, and carried them off and went their way.  3 When David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive.  4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep.  5 Now David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.  6 Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters.  But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Please bring me the ephod.”  So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this band?  Shall I overtake them?”  And He said to him, “Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all.”

16 When he had brought him down, behold, they were spread over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.  17 David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day; and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled.  18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives.  19 But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves;  David brought it all back.  20 So David had captured all the sheep and the cattle which the people drove ahead of the other livestock, and they said, “This is David’s spoil.”  1 Samuel Chapter 30:  Verses 1-8 and 16-20.

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It was bad enough that King Saul had been chasing David, trying to kill him for so long, forcing him to hide in caves in the wilderness and later live temporarily in the land of the Philistines, but now we read in today’s Scripture that “… the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag (David’s temporary hometown), and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire;  and they took captive the women (including David’s two wives) and all who were in it … ”  Verses 1-2.  And, the people were blaming David, trying to stone him.  Verse 6.

But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”  Verse 6.

Some doctrine teaches that we strengthen ourselves by just using our alleged free-will to try harder.

But, Reformed Doctrine emphasizes that we strengthen ourselves in the LORD and that we do so by increasing in knowledge of God and His will and His calling and His work.  Consider the following two Scriptures.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,”  Ephesians 1:18-20.

“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience;  joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”  Colossians 1:9-12.

Our enlightened eyes first see and recognize certain small and great things that assure us that God has not lost control.  

We go back to the immediately preceding chapter and see God’s hand in causing David to be dismissed from the Philistines so he could get back in time to pursue the Amalekites.

We meditate generally on God’s calling of His saints, and we remember the precious promises to those whom He called in Scripture such as Romans 8:28:  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

We notice in today’s Scripture that although there was this distress, God delivered them out of all their troubles:  “But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves;  David brought it all back.”  Verse 19.

We ponder “…   the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead …”  Ephesians 1:19-20.

We see the pattern overall of God’s work from “Unconditional Election” through “Preservation of the Saints” (and in between “Limited Atonement” and “Irresistible Grace”) all of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

And, this knowledge (of God and His will and His calling and His work) strengthens us.


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