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Recovering Stolen Property
1 Samuel 30:1-8
There is something that is desperately needed within the church and within our lives, and that is our need to recover what has been stolen.
Question, how many of have been robbed or have had something stolen? I doubt there is a single person who hasn’t.
When my daughter, Danielle, was young we had to rush her to the hospital. In the process we didn’t take time to lock the house. When we finally made it back home, someone came in and stole some of our stuff. Fortunately, most could be replaced, and while we felt violated, and hated the loss and inconvenience, we could still go on with our lives
Yet, there’s another kind of theft that is going on in our lives, and in the lives of our loved ones that goes almost without detection, and its more than an inconvenience, it can be life changing.
The fact that it mostly goes undetected reveals just how good this thief is.
Further, the theft going on is far more serious than material possessions, no matter how precious they may be. What is a family heir loom compared to a soul, a dream, our futures, or our faith.
Who’s this thief? It’s Satan. Look at Jesus’s description of him as he compares Himself as being that Good Shepherd.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)
Satan is the master thief, but he isn’t interested in our material possessions. Satan doesn’t want, nor does he need our stuff. He’s a spirit being. Yes, he allows others to steal them, but that’s so he can rip us off spiritually.
You see, Satan knows that all our stuff is going to burn in the end. Instead, he is after our spiritual treasures, which have eternal consequences. You see, if Satan can get our spiritual treasures, then he can get our hearts as well.
Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20 NKJV)
And then Jesus ends by saying, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 NKJV)
These spiritual treasures have value with God and have eternal significance, that is why Satan is interested in stealing them. But according to Jesus that is only the beginning.
Notice something about the progression that Jesus uses when describing Satan’s theft. Satan begins with petty larceny, with the theft, but once Satan manages to steal it, he then moves on to the actual kill, and finally total destruction.
So, it’s important that we begin the recovery process as soon as possible. And just as a side note, when we take the overall spiritual temperature of today’s church, if we don’t start that recovery soon, we’ll end up presiding over more spiritual funerals than spiritual births.
What are some of these areas of theft that we need to look at.
Purpose for Life
Why are we here? What has God created us for?
At one time we had that stirring deep inside, that dream, and purpose God placed within us, but then discouragement set in. Maybe someone let us down, or something went sour at church, or maybe we were unfairly criticized, and we end up wondering to ourselves what ever happened to all that inspiration we once had.
Paul addressed such a theft occurring in Timothy’s life, and what Timothy had to do.
“I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV)
Timothy was in danger of having his calling, purpose, and gifting stolen. He was allowing Satan to steal it through fear, telling him he was too young and not qualified. So, Paul had to remind him to stir up the gift, to begin the recovery process of what Satan was stealing.
Unfortunately, instead of going after Satan to recover our purpose and potential, along with the gifts and callings giving to us by God, we turn to alternatives that Satan himself suggests.
In the end, we wander through this life with no goals and no purpose, and we wonder, “What Happened?” You see, what Satan ended up stealing is of far greater worth than what we can imagine. He has stolen our overall purpose which is to worship and enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus and what is sad is that we don’t even know it has happened, because Satan has stolen the awareness of our need.
This is why this message is so important, because it reveals Stan’s strategy, and hopefully make us aware of the theft and of our ability to recover it through the power of Jesus Christ.
And this leads me to a second area that Satan steals from us, and that is our first love relationship with Jesus
First Love Relationship
In Jesus’s letter to the church in Ephesus, He said, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4 NKJV)
Where does our first love go? Our love for God, our zeal and intensity for the things of God doesn’t just evaporate into thin air. It’s been stolen. Satan steals those glowing embers of our love and devotion.
And we don’t even know it. Instead, we believe the lie of Satan that our love for God has matured past those kinds of things. Think about that. If we said to our spouses, “Honey, the reason I don’t kiss you or tell you I love you is because we have a more mature kind of love.” How far do you think that will go?
Or we say something like how we were like little children in our love and devotion, but now we’ve grown up. Yet Jesus said that unless we become like little children in our love, faith, and devotion, we won’t enter into God’s kingdom (Matthew 18:2-4).
The idea of being mature in the faith, and letting others do the work of the ministry because we’ve “Done our time,” is nothing less than our full acceptance of Satan’s theft of our first love relationship.
Let me just say that there is no retirement plan in God’s economy. We need to be is honest with ourselves and admit that our first love relationship with God has been ripped off.
However, at the core of these rip offs, along with the thefts of our marriages and families, is a more serious theft.
Our Faith in God
How important is this theft? The writer of Hebrews tells us.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
Nothing else counts or even matters if our faith to see God move in our impossibilities is missing.
It is our faith in Jesus Christ that is our foundation, everything else is nothing more than shifting sand that will bring us and whatever we build upon it down.
Faith is the lifeline of God’s grace and power, and Satan knows that if he can sever the faith connection, then he has gained a great victory, for without a living faith, then all we’re doing is going through the motions, where we show the outward forms of our faith, but experience none of its power.
This is what Paul said to Timothy.
He begins by saying, “In the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4 NKJV)
And then he brings out this reality about having the outward form of faith but with none of its power.
“Having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5a NKJV)
But God is in the restoration business and wants us to start recovering what Satan has stolen before it dies and is destroyed. And what I hope that everyone hears today is that it’s never too late to recover what has been stolen.
Now, when it comes to recovering what has been stolen, there’s a small but significant segment of David’s life when he was on the run from King Saul. With no other options available for David and his men to escape King Saul, they went to the land of the Philistines, Israel’s enemy. There David made an alliance with Achish, the king of Gath, and to seal this alliance, Achish gave to David and his men the city of Ziglag.
Fourteen months later, David was asked to join in with Achish as he and the other Philistine kings were gathering to make war with Israel. David now found himself between a rock and a hard place. But God bailed David out as the other Philistine kings didn’t trust him and had David and his men sent home.
And here is where we pick up the story.
“Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, ‘Please bring the ephod here to me.’ And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ And He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.’” (1 Samuel 30:1-8 NKJV)
I pray that you see the picture that the Lord is laying out for us. Picture David now sitting in the burned-out ruins of his own compromise with nothing to show for his life. Everything has been taken away.
And now look at what has been stolen from you. Maybe it’s your marriage, family, ministry, calling, purpose, that first love relationship with Jesus, or worse, your faith in God.
Before us we have a man of God despised by both God’s enemies and God’s people. God’s enemies, the Philistines rejected him, and God’s people, that is, his own men want to put him to death. And David is just sitting there in the ruins of the consequences of his compromise which is now nothing more than smoldering ash.
And so, here we have a story of a man who is reduced to nothing, all because he compromised, yet this I not the end of the story. And this story contains these thrilling truths.
So, what do we do when we find ourselves in such a place realizing that we have been ripped off? Notice it says that David encourage himself in the Lord and then sought the Lord’s council in his situation.
“But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6b-8a NKJV)
And when the Lord tells David to pursue it reveals a very real and powerful truth, and that is, God Recovers Stolen Property
God has a way of getting back what has been ripped off! And whatever the enemy steals, God is able to recover.
Now look at the outcome as everything that was lost was recovered.
“So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away … And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all.” (1 Samuel 30:18-19 NKJV)
I hope you notice something in this verse. Not only did they recover all their stuff without anything missing, but they also captured all the Amalekites stuff as well. In other words, they got it all back and then some.
Now, we’re introduced to a critical part in this story, and that is, David and his men made the choice to get up and go after what had been stolen.
God Wants Us to be a Part of the Retrieval Process
In other words, it’s time to say enough. It’s time to, in the name of Jesus, say that we’re not going to remain in our compromises and sins. Also, we’re not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, we’re going to go, in the name of Jesus, and reclaim what is rightfully ours, in and through the help of God. We’re going to reclaim our families, our marriages, our kids, our calling and ministry, our purpose, our first love relationship with Jesus, and our faith in God.
The Bible says that if we resist the devil, he must flee from us. Further, we must realize that we do not fight against a flesh and blood person, but a spiritual being and spiritual forces of wickedness, and therefore the weapons of warfare are spiritual as well, including the armor of God, along with His word as our sword, and praying in the spirit as our long-range artillery.
And like David we need to encourage, or strengthen ourselves in the Lord, and seek His guidance and lead the charge to reclaim the regain what has been lost and/or stolen.
Now, while Jesus said that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, He (Jesus) has come so that we can have abundant life.
And so, no matter how messed up our lives may have gotten, no matter how far we’ve drifted from God, God can restore it all. Jesus came to recover, resurrect, and restore that which has been taken.
And so, today, the Lord is telling us to pursue.
One more thing you may have notice that is missing in our story is that when David reached the bottom sitting there in the burned out remains of his compromise, God didn’t put him on “time-out.” God didn’t put him on probation. That may be how we think, but it’s not the way God thinks.
Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)
God saw David completely broken, and that is key. Later on, when David once again found himself suffering from the consequences of his compromise and sin with Bathsheba said to God, “Sacrifice You do not desire, instead, whatYou desire is a heart that has been broken and a spirit that has been broken and crushed before You, these, O Lord, Youwill not despise.“ (Psalm 51:16-17)
And this is where we find David now, weeping until he could weep no more, and God answered David with a word of power and victory.
And so, it is with us. When we stand with broken hearts amid the ashes of our compromises and sins, and when we turn our eyes and tear streaked faces towards God, then He too will give to us words of life, words of power, and words of victory.
And I believe that God is telling us today to stop being a casualty, stop being a victim and take back everything that Satan has stolen.
And so, in the name of Jesus, let’s recover it all.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study