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Turn to God when No One can Help
All the passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “Facing Your Giants” published in 2006.
I RECENTLY SAW a woman walking a dog on a leash. Change that. I saw a woman pulling a dog with a leash. The day was hot, brutally. The dog had stopped, totally. He'd plopped, belly down, in wet grass, swapping blistering pavement for a cool lawn.
The woman tugged and tugged. She'd have had more success pulling a parked semi.
The dog's get-up-and-go had got up and gone, so down he went. He's not the last to do so. Have you ever reached your "plopping point"?
Blame it on your boss. "We need you to take one more case."
Your spouse. "I'll be out late one more night this week."
Your parents. "I have one more chore for you to do."
Your friend. "I need just one more favor."
The problem? You've handled, tolerated, done, forgiven, and taken until you don't have one more "one more" in you. You are one tired puppy. So down you plop. Who cares what the neighbors think. Who cares what the Master thinks. Let them yank the leash all they want; I ain't taking one more step.
But unlike the dog, you don't plop in the grass. If you are like David's men, you plop down at Brook Besor.
Don't feel bad if you've never heard of the place. Most haven't, but more need to. The Brook Besor narrative deserves shelf space in the library of the worn-out. It speaks tender words to the tired heart.
The story emerges from the ruins of Ziklag. David and his six hundred soldiers return from the Philistine war front to find utter devastation. A raiding band of Amalekites had swept down on the village, looted it, and taken the women and children hostage. The sorrow of the men mutates into anger, not against the Amalekites, but against David. After all, hadn't he led them into battle? Hadn't he left the women and children unprotected? Isn't he to blame? Then he needs to die. So they start grabbing stones.
What else is new? David is growing accustomed to such treatment. His family ignored him. Saul raged against him. And now David's army, which, if you remember, sought him out, not vice versa, has turned against him. David is a psycho in the making, rejected by every significant circle in his life. This could be his worst hour.
But he makes it one of his best.
While six hundred men stoke their anger, David seeks his God.
"But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God" (1 Samuel 30:6).
How essential that we learn to do the same. Support systems
don't always support. Friends aren't always friendly. Pastors can wander off base and churches get out of touch. When no one can help, we have to do what David does here. He turns toward God.
"Shall I go after these raiders? Can I catch them?"
"Go after them! Yes, you'll catch them! Yes, you'll make the rescue!" (30:8 MSG).
(I used to believe only saints could talk with God like this. I'm beginning to think God will talk with anyone in such a fashion and saints are the ones who take him up on his offer.)
Freshly commissioned, David redirects the men's anger toward the enemy. They set out in pursuit of the Amalekites. Keep the men's weariness in mind. They still bear the trail dust of a long campaign and haven't entirely extinguished their anger at David. They don't know the Amalekites' hideout, and, if not for the sake of their loved ones, they might give up.
Indeed, two hundred do. The army reaches a brook called Besor, and they dismount. Soldiers wade in the creek and splash water on their faces, sink tired toes in cool mud, and stretch out on the grass. Hearing the command to move on, two hundred choose to rest. "You go on without us," they say.
How tired does a person have to be to abandon the hunt for his own family?
The church has its quorum of such folks. Good people. Godly people. Only hours or years ago they marched with deep resolve. But now fatigue consumes them. They're exhausted. So beat-up and worn down that they can't summon the strength to save their own flesh and blood. Old age has sucked their oxygen. Or maybe it was a deflating string of defeats. Divorce can leave you at the brook. Addiction can as well. Whatever the reason, the church has its share of people who just sit and rest.
And the church must decide. What do we do with the Brook Besor people? Berate them? Shame them? Give them a rest but measure the minutes? Or do we do what David did? David let them stay.
The church must decide.
What do we do with the Brook Besor people?
He and the remaining four hundred fighters resume the chase. They plunge deeper and deeper, growing more discouraged with each passing sand dune. The Amalekites have a large lead and have left no clues. But then David hits the jackpot. "They found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David; and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water" (30:11).
The Egyptian is a disabled servant who weighs more than he is worth, so the Amalekites left him to starve in the desert. David's men nurse him back to life with figs and raisins and ask the servant to lead them to the campsite of his old cronies. He is happy to oblige.
David and his men swoop down upon the enemy like hawks on rats. Every Israelite woman and child is rescued. Every Amalekite either bites the dust or hits the trail, leaving precious plunder behind. David goes from scapegoat to hero, and the whooping and hollering begin.
The punch line, however, is yet to be read. To feel the full force of it, imagine the thoughts of some of the players in this story.
The rescued wives. You've just been snatched from your home and dragged through the desert. You've feared for your life and clutched your kids. Then, one great day, the good guys raid the camp. Strong arms sweep you up and set you in front of a camel hump. You thank God for the SWAT team who snatched you and begin searching the soldiers' faces for your husband.
"Honey!" you yell. "Honey! Where are you?"
Your rescuer reins the camel to a halt. "Uh," he begins, "uh ... your honey stayed at the camp."
"He did what?"
"He hung with the guys at Brook Besor."
I don't know if Hebrew women had rolling pins, but if they did, they might begin slapping them about this moment. "Besor, eh? I'll tell you who'll be sore."
The rescue squad. When David called, you risked your life. Now, victory in hand, you gallop back to Brook Besor. You crest the ridge overlooking the camp and see the two hundred men below
While you fought, they slept. You went to battle; they went to matinees and massage therapists. They shot eighteen holes and stayed up late playing poker.
You might feel the way some of David's men felt: "Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man's wife and children" (30:22).
Rescued wives: angry.
And what about the two hundred men who had rested? Worms have higher self-esteem. They feel as manly as a lace doily.
A Molotov cocktail of emotions is stirred, lit, and handed to David. Here's how he defuses it:
Don't do that after what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and given us the enemy who attacked us. Who will listen to what you say? The share will be the same for the one who stayed with the supplies as for the one who went into battle. All will share alike. (30:23-24 NCV)
Note David's words: they "stayed with the supplies, as if this had been their job. They hadn't asked to guard supplies; they wanted to rest. But David dignifies their decision to stay.
David did many mighty deeds in his life. He did many foolish deeds in his life. But perhaps the noblest was this rarely discussed deed: he honored the tired soldiers at Brook Besor.
It's okay to rest.
Jesus fights when you cannot.
Someday somebody will read what David did and name their church the Congregation at Brook Besor. Isn't that what the church is intended to be? A place for soldiers to recover their strength?
In his great book about David, Leap Over a Wall, Eugene Peterson tells of a friend who sometimes signs her letters "Yours at the Brook Besor."1 I wonder how many could do the same. Too tired to fight. Too ashamed to complain. While others claim victories, the weary sit in silence. How many sit at the Brook Besor?
If you are listed among them, here is what you need to know: it's okay to rest. Jesus is your David. He fights when you cannot. He
Are you weary? Catch your breath. Are you strong?
Reserve passing judgment on the tired.
goes where you cannot. He's not angry if you sit. Did he not invite, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest"
(Mark 6:31 MSG)?
Brook Besor blesses rest.
Brook Besor also cautions against arrogance. David knew the victory was a gift. Let's remember the same. Salvation comes like the Egyptian in the desert, a delightful surprise on the path. Unearned. Undeserved. Who are the strong to criticize the tired?
Are you weary? Catch your breath. We need your strength.
Are you strong? Reserve passing judgment on the tired. Odds are, you'll need to plop down yourself. And when you do, Brook Besor is a good story to know. [73-79]
1. Peterson, Leap Over a Wall, 112
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