When Fathers Come Home
By Carter Conlon
"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" (1 Samuel 30:1–3).
What happens when men of God seek refuge in places where God clearly has not called them to go? In this case, it all began with faulty reasoning. Those who carried the anointing of God—signified by the anointing on David, the man who was called to be king—began to be pursued. This is a type of when society turns against the men of God, which is what we are seeing in our day.
David was called to rule and bring glory to the name of God, but eventually he grew tired of the constant battle and determined, "Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand" (1 Samuel 27:1).
This is a picture of righteous men becoming tired of fighting—tired of trying to stand up and be godly, tired of constant opposition. And so the thought comes into the heart, "Well, I will just back away a little. I won't be quite as radical or as vocal about the things I know are true, the anointing on my life, the place that God has promised to take me. I am just totally worn out."
I understand we all get tired. We have been in a battle since the day humankind declared war on God. Jesus warned all His followers that in this world we will have tribulation (see John 16:33). No doubt about it, as a man of God, you are going to be opposed. There is going to be a fight for what God has called you to do. Yet the worst decision that can be made is the one once made by King David and the six hundred men who followed him. They essentially concluded, "We are so tired of constantly being opposed. Let's just back away and make peace with our enemies."
And so David and his men sought a false refuge. It is almost unthinkable that they ended up on the wrong side of the battle, aligned with the Philistines—those who were determined to destroy the testimony of God through His chosen people! It was all summarized back when the Philistine giant, Goliath, stood on that other side of the valley and taunted the Israelites, saying, "You will serve us!" (see 1 Samuel 17:8–10).
What voice are we facing in this generation? "You will serve us, men of God. You will bend your knee to us. You cannot fight against us. We are too strong for you!" This world is in open warfare against Jesus Christ and, therefore, against men of God. The devil knows that as men, we are called to lead and protect. We are called as conquerors; we have power in our speech. We are called to defend our families; speak into the lives of our children; defend our communities; stand up for those who have no voice to speak for themselves. We are not called to cower or just read our Bibles in the bathroom where nobody can see us. We are called to study the Word of God and stand as a bold declaration of righteousness!
GET UP AND GO HOME
After a season of being in the enemy's camp, eventually things take a turn. "The princes of the Philistines said, 'What are these Hebrews doing here?' And Achish said to the princes of the Philistines, 'Is this not David, the servant of Saul king of Israel, who has been with me these days, or these years? And to this day I have found no fault in him since he defected to me'" (1 Samuel 29:3). This is a prince of darkness talking about the man who was the Christ-type in the Old Testament! He was essentially saying, "We have not opposed him; we have offered him protection and peace. And all he had to do was defect from the side of God and join us."
Then Achish called David and said to him, "Surely, as the Lord lives, you have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army is good in my sight. For to this day I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless the lords do not favor you. Therefore return now, and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines" (1 Samuel 29:6–7). The very same thing is happening in our generation and will continue to increase in the days ahead: God is causing this world to reject you as a believer in Jesus Christ—which is the best thing that could ever happen to the Church! Remember, you do not belong to the world. If you cannot figure it out for yourself, the Lord will use the people who live in darkness to tell you, "We do not want you here anymore. Go back home." In other words, "If you believe in traditional marriage, if you believe in the sanctity of human life, there is no place for you with us anymore. If you hold to a biblical worldview, you are no longer welcome here!"
As we saw in our opening scripture, David and his men came home to Ziklag to find that it had been burned with fire and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive (see 1 Samuel 30:1–2). Do you wonder why our children are gender-confused in their schools? Why we are now having the discussion of murdering children even after they are born? Why prayer is not allowed in our high schools? Why Marxists are radicalizing young people in our colleges throughout this country? It is because the men of God have not stood up and been what men of God are supposed to be. It is not time to let our sons and daughters be taken captive by a godless agenda that will eventually cause the destruction of our whole society. No, it is time for men to stand up and declare what the Word of God says—unabashedly and unashamedly!
The scripture continues, "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'" (1 Samuel 30:6–7). The ephod was the garment of prayer that priests wore. In other words, "I am going back to prayer, and I am going to find the will of God."
"David inquired of the Lord and said, '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 30:8). So David set off with the six hundred men who were with him. Eventually, two hundred of them were so tired that they could not go on, so he continued the pursuit with the remaining warriors. God began to divinely lead them, and they came upon those who had captured their sons, their daughters and their wives.
"There they were, spread out all over the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of the great spoil which they had taken from the land to the Philistines and from the land of Judah. Then David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled. So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. 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 30:16–19).
One more time, God came in supernatural power. Although David and his men were vastly outnumbered, they were not concerned, because they had received a word from God. They had been in prayer and the Spirit of God had come upon them, enabling them to courageously fight for their families. And they recovered all!
CALLING ALL MEN
The prayer of my heart today is, "Lord, give us a spiritual awakening in this nation. Raise up warriors once again—men who are not afraid; men who will escape the captivity of trying to preserve themselves. Raise up men who will run for public office or stand in pulpits and speak; men who will open the Bible in the morning and speak to their families. Let the voice of righteous men be heard once again in the workplace and in our communities."
Our only hope for this nation is a spiritual awakening, but it will not happen without men being men. To the men who are reading this newsletter: You cannot wait for the women to lead it. Yes, they will be an essential part; yes, they will be in the battle with you. But you cannot wait for them to take leadership of this. It is time to be a man. Take a stand for what is right. Be bold and believe God for your family, your home, your community. That is the call of God on your life in this generation.
As you start to pray, God will begin to lead you. And as God leads, suddenly you will realize that it is not all about preserving yourself, your image, your job. As Malachi said, you will begin to see children all around you who are looking for fathers. The promise of God in the last days is that if you will stand, the hearts of the children will turn to you as your hearts turn to them (see Malachi 4:6). You will have an influence in so many lives that it will stun you. God will bring the children your way.
Remember, all God has ever looked for is a voice. Even in Ezekiel's day, He said that the land had become so corrupt that "I sought for a man among them who would ... stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (Ezekiel 22:30). Just one man who would stand—that was all He was looking for. Sadly, He could not find even one. But by God's grace, I hope today that He has found you willing to stand— willing to pray and believe that we have the power to take back our children, our families, our nation!
This newsletter is an edited version of "WHEN FATHERS COME HOME," a sermon given on June 16, 2019 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version. Scripture taken from the New King James Version(R). Copyright (C) 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.