Christian life sometimes springs surprises that are not pleasant at all. One of such surprises is that of coming to know that Satan has carried away what rightfully belonged to us. In other words, the devil during unexpected times, conquers and takes away what God had given us.
Some Christians never realize that they have lost something precious. Some others despair thinking that what is lost is beyond recovery. But some others boldly pursue the enemy, quickly make up the lost ground, attack the enemy and recover what was lost.
The Bible gives us two such incidents when what was carried away was recovered after pursuing the enemy and making an attack.
Example 1: Abram (Genesis 14)
Abram and his nephew Lot had parted company. This was because their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together because of frequent quarrels between their herdsmen. Lot chose the cities of the plain near the city of Sodom. While Abram lived in the land of Caanan.
Now the king of Sodom along with four other kings were subject to Kedorlaomer king of Elam. They were subject to him for twelve years. But in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer with three other kings came and attacked Sodom.
Then the king of Sodom fled. Kedorlaomer carried away the goods and the food found in Sodom and Gomorrah. They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions. This was because he was living in Sodom.
Now someone who had escaped came and reported this to Abram. He called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit of the kings. He went as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men and attacked them. He pursued them as far as Hobah, a place north of Damascus. He routed the invading kings. And he recovered everything including his relative Lot and his possessions including the women and other people.
We find here a pattern emerge: Lot was Abram’s nephew. When God called Abram to leave his country to a land that was to be shown to him, he had taken Lot with him. Though they were living in two different places Abram never disowned Lot.
And when the news came that he was carried away Abram immediately took up the pursuit. He attacked the raiding party of kings and routed them. In the end he was able to recover everything. So we find here the pattern of Carried Away » Pursuit » Attack » Recovery.
Example 2: David (1 Samuel 30)
David with his six hundred men had escaped to Achish the Philistine king of Gath in order to save themselves from Saul king of Israel. David found favor in the eyes of Achish and he was given the place called Ziklag to live. And after some time the Israelites and the Philistines gathered against each other for battle.
David had agreed with Achish to march along with the Philistines to battle. But at the last moment he and his men were sent back because the Philistine commanders objected.
So the next morning David and his men went back to Ziklag. They reached there on the third day. But when they reached there they found the place destroyed by fire and all their wives and children taken captive. They all wept till they could not weep at all. David’s two wives were also taken. And the people were talking of stoning David. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
When he inquired of God he received a positive command to pursue the enemy. He was given an assurance that he will succeed in the rescue. When they reached the Besor Ravine two hundred of his men stayed behind because they were too exhausted to cross the ravine. But David continued the pursuit with four hundred men.
They found an Egyptian in a field. From him they came to know that the Amalekites had raided their town of Ziklag. Since he was the Amalekites’ slave, David asked him to lead them to the Amalekites. David attacked them and recovered everything.
We find here a similar pattern emerge: David found himself in a totally unexpected situation where his people were carried away captive with all their possessions. The situation was explosive as people had turned against David.
But finding strength in his God, David took up the pursuit. In spite of the fact that a good number of his men were exhausted to pursue the raiding party, David kept up the pursuit. He attacked the enemies and recovered everything. So we find here the pattern of Carried Away » Pursuit » Attack » Recovery.
One of the common elements in both these incidents is that the reaction from Abram and David was quick. This is crucial. Abram was more in control of the situation because everybody with him was in support of his pursuit.
But David had a more difficult time because of opposition from his own men. Yet both of them lost no time to take up the pursuit. This teaches us that we should pursue the devil as soon as we come to know that he has carried away something from us.
Secondly, we find that both Abram and David had to pursue them for some distance. That means there is an extra effort needed from our part to reach the position from which an attack can be made at the enemy.
This could mean spending more time with God’s word or in prayer to reach a position spiritually where we are within striking distance of the enemy.
Thirdly, there has to be a fight. There is no recovery possible without a fight. Many Christians think that the devil will give them back whatever was carried away in a gift wrapper tied with a colorful ribbon. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only way to recovery is through fierce fighting.
These two examples teach us that it is possible to recover fully whatever God has given us and which the enemy has carried away. But this recovery depends much on our quick reaction and taking the extra effort to cover lost ground as fast as possible. And the best thing about the fight is that it is possible to recover ALL.