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1 Samuel 30:23-24 • Pride as an Amnesiac

“Then David said, ‘You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.'”
    —1 Samuel 30:23-24 (NASB)

David always thinks of God first. One of the things that’s evident in his every conversation—whether with a king, a friend, family, or the enemy—is to alter his response so that it brings attention to God’s will and way. He not only does this in times of crisis and distress but, as here, during times of success as well.

They have just won a tremendous victory where they not only got their families back, they not only retrieved all their stolen possessions, but they’ve gained everything the kidnappers had to boot. Disagreement has ensued concerning how to divide all the spoil—both their own and the additional gained from defeating the Amalekites—and whether to limit it to just those who participated in the battle proper or to extend it to the troops who stayed in the rear with the gear as well. David understands that the discussion betrays the fact that they’ve quickly forgotten that this was no ordinary victory that any of them could have accomplished without divine assistance. Their talk of how to divide the spoils is in reality re-writing history to assert that they’ve accomplished these things on their own. David brings them back to reality in stating that it was all given by God, they were all protected by God, and ultimately everything and everyone delivered was redeemed by the Great Redeemer Himself.

Even in spiritual things we’re sometimes quick to extol ourselves and slow to remember God as the true Author and Deliverer. Our gifts and roles may place us more prominently in the thick of it, but it’s only by God’s grace and mercy and strength that it was accomplished at all. The same humility that is brought in the knowledge that God’s greater power worked through us should also be allowed to work in the wake of victory—slow to take personal credit, quick to share the prosperity of His work with even the most marginal of participants.

One of pride’s powers is to act as an amnesiac, facilitating almost immediate memory loss regarding who should really get the credit and how brighter the spotlight should instead shine on us. I wonder how often we “share the wealth” with the myriad of supporters within the body that enable us to take center stage in the first place?