1 Samuel Bible

Decide Decisively

I am not sure about you, but I am loving this study on the life of David which shows us how to faithfully follow and serve both God and our leader.


Today we pick up on a period in David’s life where we see him make some decisive decisions, which happens to be a great characteristic of a leader.

Throughout our studies we have watched David make many decisions, most of them quickly. (Sometimes too quickly.) And in 1 Samuel 30 we see those decisive decisions being made by David again.

In chapter 30 of 1 Samuel we catch up with David and his 600 men as they have been turned way from fighting with the Philistines against the Israelites. King Achish of Gath has sent David and his men home from the battle because the Philistine commanders did not allow David and his men to participate in the battle.

David’s state of mind is not the best right now. He is struggling to feel connected with God, he is in a foreign country, and he is trying to find a way to feel safe from Saul’s desire to kill him.

In chapter 30 of 1 Samuel David and his men are returning to the town of Ziklag where their wives, children, and possessions are stored. When David and his men arrive at Ziklag they find that the Amalekites have raided Ziklag, burning it to the ground, and then carried off all the women and children. This causes David and his men to cry and weep because of their loss.

Then, on top of dealing with the loss of his family and wives, David faces the reality that his men are angry with him. He is their leader and they start to hold him responsible for what has happened to their wives and children. They even talk about stoning David. Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll describes David’s situation this way:

“David had reached the point in life where some people think of taking their own lives. He was so far dawn the ladder of despair that he’d reached the bottom rung. The last stop.The place where you either jump off into oblivion or you cry out to God for His forgiveness. For rescue. The wonderful thing is that we do have that choice, because God never gives up on His children. David made the right choice.”[1]

Now, we get to see David make the right choice that Mr. Swindoll talks about.

In 1 Samuel 30:6 we read, “David found strength in the LORD his God.” (There was not much time to wait as the women and children were being carried away.) So David calls Abiathar the priest and asks God what he should do. With God’s permission, David and 600 of his men set out to find and rescue their wives and children from whoever might have taken them (because David and his men probably don’t know who raided and burned their town and took their wives and children). David makes a decisive decision to search for and find the people who took their wives and children.

In the pursuit two crucial things happen.

  1. 200 of the men become too tired to continue the pursuit, so they stop while the other 400 men continue on.
  2. 400 men who continue on encounter an Egyptian man who tells them who burned Ziklag and where the raiders were going. When David and his men find the Amalekites who burned Ziklag and took their wives and children, they fight the Amalekites and rescue all of their wives and children.

David and his men triumphantly return to the other 200 men who had been too tired to continue the pursuit, which presents another challenge to David. The 400 men claim that since the 200 men who were too tired to continue on did not actually participate in the battle, they should not be allowed to enjoy any of the plunder that was gathered. The 400 men claim that the 200 men should receive only their wives and children, nothing else.

Again, we see David make a decisive decision to intervene and tell everyone that God has been good to them by giving them their wives, children, and lots of plunder from the Amalekites. Because God has been good to them, David explains, the plunder should be shared with everyone because they all played a role in getting their wives and children back. David claims that it does not matter who did what part in the battle. Everything should be shared, and he encourages the men to share what they have earned.

In this chapter we see David make two decisive decisions:

  1. To chase after the Amalekites and rescue his family and the families of his men.
  2. To share the plunder with the 200 men who stayed behind.

What is surprising is that both of these decisions David makes are diplomatic. He makes both of them quickly with the end result being good. In both cases David’s decisions are beneficial for everyone because David and his men get back their wives and children and the men come to an agreement of how to divide up the plunder.

I think it is good to note that in this section of David’s life he does not make decisions rashly. My friend Daniel explained this well saying, “David was not making decisions ‘hot.’ He cooled down and then he went to God.”[2]

From 1 Samuel 30 I believe there are several principles we can incorporate into our own lives about deciding decisively.

David’s Decisive Decision Making Principles

  • He let’s himself morn (v. 4)
  • He seeks God’s guidance (v. 8)
  • He makes the decision and includes others (v.9)
  • He makes the goal clear throughout the decision (v. 23-24)
  • He practices the decision personally (v. 26-27)

Question: How do you decide decisively?

[1] Charles R. Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion & Destiny (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.: 1997), 118.

[2] Daniel Munoz, a conversation

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at