They’re Missing! Now What? – Sermons & Articles

Text: (1 Sam. 30:1-7)

Background and Cultural Facts:

(1) David is not yet king of Israel but in exile in fear for his life having received a prophetic word from the prophet Samuel to that effect.

(2) David escaped King Saul’s threats by moving to Philistine territory where he’ll live for 16 months.

(3) David w/600 men and their families were given the country town of Ziklag by Achish, king of Gath.

1.0 Were Called to Value Life (1 Sam. 30:1-7)

1.1 God places a huge value on human life.

A) The 6th commandment declares: ”You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).

B) Animals are valuable to God and to us.

On March 19, 2017 in Roxbury, NJ a deer was stuck overnight on a frozen pond. The pond is located behind a condo complex where homeowners were all watching the stranded deer struggle to get free.

What moved the county rescue workers and fire fighters to rescue the deer according to Roxbury Police Chief Mark Palanchi is when a homeowner was heard saying: ”I’m going to get my boat and save it.”

The chief added, ”It wasn’t necessarily a mission to save the deer. It was a mission to prevent people from putting themselves in jeopardy and then needing to be saved. It was a proactive effort.”

Source: Accessed March 25, 2017.

1.2 God places an even greater value on the soul-that which is eternal.

A) Biological life is temporal; yet important.

B) Spiritual life-the soul is eternal; so it must carry more importance to you.

Luke 12:4-5-”I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

C) Don’t forget, eternity is spent in heaven or hell!

2.0 His Loved Ones Are Missing. Now What?

2.1 Grieve Deeply (1 Sam. 30:1-6)!

A) The men found Ziklag burned to the ground and their wives and children kidnapped by the Amalekites.

Cultural Facts

(1) David and his men had just traveled approximately 75 miles over a three-day period-the distance from Aphek to Ziklag. They are tired, hungry, and expecting all the comforts of a welcome home.

(2) The Amalekites were always bitter foes of Israel, sometimes alone, sometimes in conjunction with other tribes.

(3) All the women and children were kidnapped. Thankfully they weren’t killed. They were taken captive to either be sold or exploited sexually as slaves.

All the men including David wept aloud until they were totally exhausted (v. 4).

They grieved the loss of their families.

They were overwhelmed with sorrow for their loved ones taken captive.

The men were so distraught they talked openly about stoning David.

  1. David was a military man; he knew better than to leave the village defenseless. The men were angry.
  2. Their minds got the best of them. They thought the worst for their family.
  3. Their families were unsafe.
  4. Their fate was uncertain.

Jose Maldonado tells his personal story of how he was kidnapped at age 14 by a Colombian guerrilla group and spent 6 months captive deep within the Andean forests in late December. It was in the 90s, at the peak of Colombia’s modern violence period when illegal armed forces shared the country and ties with a booming drug dealing industry, both highly financed in part by a widespread kidnap practice.

As he and his family of four-mom, dad, and brother was traveling by car from Bogotá city to their home town in the northern part of the country, some 12 hours away, the car was stopped by armed guerillas. They kidnapped Jose and his dad and threatened his mother and brother to go get the ransom.

By January 3rd, my father managed to hold some conversations with our captors, convincing them that my mother would need help sorting everything out. Being captured, he argued, he was unable to facilitate any negotiation. Eventually they agreed to release him, in order to work something out to get me back. I keep today, and cherish fiercely, the memory of my father holding me at arms length, hands on my shoulders.

We were nearly the same height, but that day he towered over me. Calm and stern as ever, if only in his demeanor, he looked straight into my eyes and said, ”I will come back for you.”

Jose was held captive for six months. Once ransom was received he was released. Having turned 15 by now, he and another prisoner, who was also released, were told to walk through the woods where a car will meet them. After the long walk, his father and the rest of his family were waiting by the roadside with open arms.


  1. Our unbelieving loved ones have also been taken captive but by a more formidable foe-Satan.
  2. You’re kidnapped when you’re overpowered and forced to live contrary to God’s best.

John 12:40-Jesus concluded: ”He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn-and I would heal them.”

Satan has blindfolded unbelievers’ eyes, evidenced by the way they interpret the world around them.

Satan has deadened unbelievers’ heart evidenced by distorting their feelings so accuracy escapes them.

You must Grieve Deeply for unsaved loved ones.

Do you?

2 Corinthians 4:4-Paul taught: ”The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Satan (the god of this age) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the gospel light.

Both passages use the same Greek word for blinded, which means to envelop with smoke, be unable to see clearly.

Dr. Spiros Zodhiates says here the word blinded is a synonym ”to harden spiritually”.

You must Grieve Deeply for unsaved loved ones.

They’re missing! Kidnapped and brainwashed.

Do you Grieve Deeply for them?

Spurgeon said, ”Satan: He can make men dance upon the brink of hell as though they were on the verge of heaven.”

iii. Do what David did! He found strength in the Lord his God (v. 6b).

Note: The word strength was used frequently to describe battle scenes, that meant: ”to help; be strong; repair; restrain; and encourage.” David knew that his emotional nakedness would be covered by God.

Found Strength in the Lord-David rehearsed in his mind the promises of God (cf. 1 Sam. 23:16; Rom. 4:20) and was strengthened by them.

Allowing grief to take its course was not the solution though it’s necessary!

Anonymous Author: ”Grief is a passage; not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, not a lack of faith…It is the price of love.”

Allowing grief to take its course was not the solution. It simply reflects love.

2.2 Pray Devotedly (1 Sam. 30:7-8)!

David prayed persuasively.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4-”For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

  1. David prayed
  2. He asked for an ephod.

Note: An ephod is the name given to the outer garment of a priest. An entire chapter in the Bible [Exod. 39] describes its appearance, value, and symbolism. It was worn by priests as they performed their duties especially when discerning the will of God.

The ephod was the symbol of the priest and it represented God’s presence and authority.

Exodus 39:2-”They made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen.”

The names of the 12 sons of Israel along with the 12 tribes of Israel were engraved on the breastpiece that was placed on top of the ephod.

Exodus 39:14-”There were twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel….”

  1. As the priest wore the ephod, they were carrying the people before God.
  2. The people were always on their heart.
  3. They sought God on behalf of the people…always.
  4. David felt a priestly responsibility towards his 600 men and the missing family members. They were in his heart.
  5. The ephod symbolized David carrying the missing people-the kidnapped people-before Almighty God.

You must Pray Devotedly for

your missing loved ones.

They’re missing! They need your help!

David did not delegate this job to Abiathar the priest. Neither should you abdicate your priestly role to the pastoral team of Christ Church.

You must carry your loved one’s name before the Lord, constantly.

Colossians 4:12-13-Paul wrote: ”He [Epaphras] is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.”

D) David prayed passionately.

1 Samuel 30:8-”And David inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?’ ‘Pursue them,’ he answered. ‘You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”’

  1. When you unpack his prayers you can hear the pain in his voice as he cried:
  2. ”God, show me how to engage my family in spiritual conversations.”
  3. ”Lord, take away the thirst for sin and worldly pleasure from their hearts. They’ve been blinded thinking that they’re really living. They’re dying through the sickness of delusion and the poison of deception.”

iii. ”Gracious Father, bring home my sister, my brother, and my kids to Your house.”

M. Bounds in his book, The Weapon of Prayer writes: ”He who does not pray, therefore, robs himself of God’s help and places God where He cannot help man.” [p. 1].

”It is in the field of prayer that life’s critical battles are lost or won. We must conquer all our circumstances there. We must first of all bring them there. We must survey them there. We must master them there. In prayer we bring our spiritual enemies into the Presence of God and we fight them there. Have you tried that? Or have you been satisfied to meet and fight your foes in the open spaces of the world?” J. H. Jowett (famous preacher and author of: The Preacher: His Life and Work)

 2.3 Pursue Desperately (1 Sam. 30:9-20)!

  1. A) David would not rest!
  2. Time was of the essence.
  3. Harm may happen to them.

The longer the Amalekites held the missing loved ones captive the smaller their chance of being rescued.

iii. David sought for them. He queried an Egyptian slave (30:11-16).

Can you seek out your missing loved ones?

Jesus’ entire ministry was about seeking out missing people.

Luke 19:10-Jesus said, ”The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost.”

  1. David knew the urgency.
  2. Your urgency will become their urgency!
  3. The Holy Spirit moves people by first moving you.

iii. If you can rest without them being saved, they will rest too!

But if you’re filled with an agony for them, if you cannot bear that they should be lost, you will soon discover that they are uneasy too.

I pray that God will make you restless because of the spiritual state of your loved ones.

Pursue desperately. It’s an act of love.

Love is spelled T-I-M-E. Share your life and your love with your family and friends. Make time for them.

Words mean very little when there is no supportive action.

Quote: ”Most of the unchurched say they would respond positively if a genuine Christian would spend time with them in a gentle, nonjudgmental relationship.” [Rainer, Unchurched Next Door, p. 28]

  1. Relationship is the doorway to salvation.
  2. C) Pursue desperately. It’s tiring (30:17).
  3. David fought the Amalekites from dusk until the evening of the next day.

Can you do that for your missing loved ones?

I’m sure you’ve heard the story about the Tom Brady’s missing super bowl jersey. He’s the quarterback for the New England Patriots-the winner of Super Bowl LI this year. His game jersey went missing from the locker room after the game. To locate this jersey that is valued at approximately $500,000 because it’s a memento, an arduous search was undertaken by a diverse search team.

The search team included: 1) Media videos; Fox News in particular; 2) Patriots Security; 3) NFL Security; 4) Houston Police Department; 5) Texas Rangers; 6) The FBI; 7) An Assistant U.S. Attorney based in Connecticut; 8) and the Mexican Authorities since the jersey was stolen by a former reporter who worked for Diario La Prensa newspaper and lives in Mexico.

This desperate pursuit of a mere jersey-an inanimate object-was undertaken by eight agencies on an international level.

Can you Pursue Desperately your missing

loved ones with an equal or greater effort?

Your loved ones are blind spiritually so you must demonstrate empathy by seeking and fighting for them.

Think about the prize-their salvation. Imagine the joy when the missing person is found. The joy when they walk through the doors of the house of God and hear: Welcome Home!


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