1 Samuel 30:1–31:13; 1 Peter 2:18–25; Psalm 131:1–132:18
Reacting is easy. What’s difficult is overcoming emotions in a time of adversity. Although emotions are not bad, they can lead us astray. At the same time, when we stray too far in the other direction and rely entirely on reason, we risk using logic without empathy. The answer to this conundrum is not to pit emotions against reason, but instead to pray.
Throughout his life King David struggles to balance emotion and logic. Sometimes he is an emotional wreck; other times he is so calculated that he seems almost brutal. Yet in many moments in his life—especially in his early years—he seeks Yahweh when it would be more convenient not to.
In 1 Samuel 30:1–6, David returns to the town of Ziklag to find that two of his wives and many of his warriors’ wives have been captured, and the city has been burned down. The text describes the emotional atmosphere of the discovery: “David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until there was not enough strength in them to weep.” The text also states that “it was very pressed for David”—meaning that David’s men are considering killing him because they view the situation as his fault (1 Sam 30:4, 6). Then we’re told, “But David strengthened himself in Yahweh his God” (1 Sam 30:6). This decision changes everything.
By seeking Yahweh, David learns that he will be able to overtake the raiders of Ziklag and recover the captives (1 Sam 30:7–10). What happens next is amazing: David and his men show kindness to a stranger, who returns the kindness by showing them where the raiders are camped. David and his men then overcome the raiders and recover the captives (1 Sam 30:11–20). This is one of those “God works in mysterious ways” moments. But could God have worked in mysterious ways if David had allowed either hot emotion or cold logic to rule him? Probably not. His prayer made all the difference.
We overcome the problems we face because God works in us, through His Spirit, when we seek Him in prayer. This is also how we can overcome our weaknesses and become more like Him.
What emotions do you need to overcome through prayer? What tensions can be resolved through God’s work?
John D. Barry
 Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.