He was backed into a corner. His house burnt, family gone and his buddies wanted to kill him. He was an emotional wreck, but too exhausted to feel anymore. He couldn’t turn to the law because of an old warrant for his arrest. Last time he was in a situation like this, he ran to a rival gang for help. Now even they had kicked him out. He was in a tight place alright.
How do you find the strength when it’s gone? Where do you turn when the way seems blocked? Just before he became king, David found himself in such a situation. After being kicked out of the Philistine camp, David and his 600 men found their homes burned and their families captured by merciless, slave-trading Amalekites. The men were devastated, exhausted and embittered toward their leader, David. 1st Samuel 30:6 describes David in this situation as being “distressed.” Another way to translate this would be “in a tight place,” “in narrow straights,” “in a bind.” David was backed into a corner. What could he do? To whom could he turn for help?
As a spectator, it is never fair to say you would react differently to a certain situation. You never really know until the test comes. Situations like David’s “test your mettle”—actually they test your rock. Moses wrote about Israel’s enemies, “Indeed, their rock is not like our Rock, Even our enemies themselves judge this” (Deut. 32:31). When everything comes crashing down, you see a difference between those who were trusting in God and those who were hoping in something else. Trusting in God doesn’t mean everything will go your way. It means you realized that God is in control no matter what you go through. God cannot be shaken. There is no Rock like our God.
In his tight corner, David does not stop to ponder his distress. He does not let circumstance dictate emotion. Rather than operate by what his eyes, ears and the pit of his stomach tell him, he goes forward in faith. 1st Samuel 30:6 says “David strengthened himself in Yahweh his God.” David did not always react this way. In chapter 27, David lost hope. Fear outweighed faith. God said David would be king, but David was sure Saul would kill him unless he ran away. When vision is controlled by fear, resolve and focus fall apart.
David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Another way to say this is David “firmed up,” “pulled himself together,” “gained some resolve,” “found courage in the face of difficulty.” Why didn’t David melt this time? How did he strengthen himself? He did this by turning to God. David prayed. He went to “our Rock.”
Peter says God cares for you, and that you should cast your cares on Him. Peter also gives a warning. Those who want to go it on their own choose themselves over and against the help God provides. When you don’t talk to God about your problems, you paint a target on your back. The devil, your enemy, is lurking like a hungry lion, looking for lunch (1st Pet. 5:5b-8). So cast your worries and distress upon the one who can carry them and you at the same time. Jesus is the Rock that is so often rejected, but only those who find refuge and rest in Jesus will find strength for dark corners.