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From Eternity Past

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    David's Great Temptation to Discouragement

    All that David held dear on earth had been swept from him. Saul had driven him from his country; the Amalekites had plundered his city; his wives and children had been made prisoners; and his friends had threatened him with death.EP 502.1

    In this hour of utmost extremity, David looked earnestly to God for help. He “encouraged himself in the Lord,” recalling many evidences of God's favor. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Psalm 56:3), was the language of his heart. Though he could not discern a way out of the difficulty God would teach him what to do.EP 502.2

    Sending for Abiathar the priest, “David inquired of the Lord, saying, If I pursue after this troup, shall I overtake them?” The answer was, “Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and shalt without fail recover all.”EP 502.3

    David and his soldiers at once set out in pursuit of their fleeing foe. So rapid was their march that two hundred of the band were compelled by exhaustion to remain behind. But David with the remaining four hundred pressed forward.EP 502.4

    Advancing, they came upon an Egyptian slave, apparently about to perish from weariness and hunger. Upon receiving food and drink he revived. He had been left to die by the invading force. Having exacted a promise that he should not be slain or delivered to his master, he consented to lead David to the camp of their enemies.EP 502.5

    As they came in sight of the encampment a scene of revelry met their gaze. The victorious host were “spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.” An immediate attack was ordered. The Amalekites were surprised and thrown into confusion. The battle was continued until nearly the entire host was slain. “David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor anything that they had taken to them: David recovered all.”EP 502.6

    But for the restraining power of God, the Amalekites would have destroyed the people of Ziklag. They decided to spare the captives, desiring to heighten the triumph by leading home a large number of prisoners to sell as slaves. Thus, unwittingly, they fulfilled God's purpose, keeping the prisoners to be restored to their husbands and fathers.EP 503.1

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