The place of pressing

Photo by Alexis Antoine

Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way.

1 Samuel 30: 1-2

Ziklag was David’s hideout when he ran away from King Saul, into the land of the Philistines. Because Saul wanted to kill him, David chose to hide in the enemy’s territory. God gave David favor with the King of philistines who gave Ziklag to him and his men. God gave David refuge and protected him in the enemy’s land. (1 Samuel 27:3-7)

Even though Ziklag was David’s place of refuge, it was also something else.

Ziklag comes from a Hebrew root word “suq” which means to “press someone”. Another root verb is “mesuqa” which means “distress or oppression or a place of pressure or distress.” Another root word is “ yasaq” which means to “pour” as in oil or liquid metal.

Ziklag wasn’t just a place of refuge for David. It also became a place of great pressure or a place of pouring out. God used this place to produce something in David.

In Ziklag, God brought oil out of David, which prepared him for the kingship of Israel. Oil here represents the anointing for leadership. God used Ziklag as a place of pressing David to produce what He wanted for the purpose of leading Israel.

If we are going to be used by God, we are going to have to go through our personal Ziklag. We’ll go through things that put us in distress and pressure until God can get oil out of us. Oil or the anointing is for the things that God has called us to do.

It’s easy to want great things without wanting to pay the price for those things. If God would give us those things without the process we will be destroyed. If God would give us influence without first dealing with us, influence will take us out. If He would give us the relationships without first maturing us, we will die in them. If God will give us the blessings without first preparing us, they will be the end of us.

God had anointed David to be the next king of Israel, He then put him through the process. In Ziklag, David became king before he sat on the throne. David wasn’t a king because he was on a throne. He was a king long before he sat on the throne.

Here is the thing, we have to become before we enter into the things God has for us. We become leaders long before we have anyone to lead. We become ministers before we have someone to minister to.

In Ziklag, David reached his breaking point. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire and their wives, sons, and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 1 Samuel 30:3-4 They had lost everything. You have not gone through the process until you have been to the place where everything seems lost. They had nothing left, the enemy had burnt their homes and taken their families. Here, God allowed a great pressing for David.

It’s not about whether we will go through the place of pressing, but what we’ll choose to do when we find ourselves in Ziklag.

Here are a few things to glean from David:

God was with David even in Ziklag. It’s easy to think God has abandoned us in our moment of distress. But even when God seems silent, he is a father who never takes His eyes off His children. Job in his great distress reminded himself of this truth. He does not take his eyes off the righteous… Job 36: 7 In your great distress God has His eyes on you. There is not a moment where He takes His eyes off of you. He is carefully watching over you even in this place.

The pressing comes to reveal what’s in us. But David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters, but David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 Such a contrast between David and the people who were with him. The people’s response was bitterness, while David’s response was worship.

We cannot be bitter and worshipful at the same time. What’s in each person is revealed in our moment of great distress. We will only produce what’s in us. we cannot produce worship where we have not been worshipping. We cannot produce what we have not cultivated. David had trained himself to respond in worship even when he wasn’t in distress. And because he had, when he had nothing left in him, worship still came out.

Anger, bitterness, malice comes out of the heart that hasn’t trained itself to look to God. When we haven’t taught our hearts to look to God at all times; we’ll look to ourselves. Self will fail us every single time.

We’ll either trust God to get us out or we’ll find someone to blame. The people wanted to blame David. He was after all, the cause of all their trouble. Blame is an irresponsible response to our problems. Yes, even when people are directly responsible for our problems. We are ultimately responsible for getting out. If we blame people we will never take responsibility for our lives. David knew only God could get him out of this. He doesn’t resort to blaming, he finds a solution. And David inquired of the Lord, “ Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them? he answered him, “ Pursue for you shall surely rescue.” 1 Samuel 30: 8 You will either seek God for a way out or you will remain there blaming everyone for all your problems.

God will restore everything that’s been stolen or lost in Ziklag. I don’t know what you’ve lost in this season… Maybe you’ve lost a dream. Maybe you’ve lost a relationship. Maybe you’ve lost the passion for life. you may have even lost yourself. Sis, God is able to restore you fully. David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. 1 Samuel 30:18-19

Ziklag was preparation for the throne. The intense distress and pressing you’ve gone through was for preparing you for the next season. Sometimes, the pressure intensifies when breakthrough is just around the corner. Ziklag was David’s last stop in the wilderness. It was David’s doorway to the throne. David moved back to Judah. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. 2 Samuel 3-4

Ziklag had produced oil out of David, now God could put his oil on him and it wouldn’t destroy him. Before God can put his oil on us he has to produce oil out of us. Ziklag is the place that prepares us to reign with God in this life.

Sis, what is your ziklag? What has brought great distress in your life? Be encouraged God has allowed it for a greater purpose. To bring oil out of you for the things He has for you.

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