Why did things go wrong for David? Because he was in the school of the Holy Ghost! God was producing character in him—and only trouble can bring it forth. There were to be no more Sauls, undisciplined and untrained by a lack of trials. Saul started out right but soon wilted because he was never tested. God now sought a man He could trust, a man with whom He could build an enduring house.
There was never a moment the Holy Spirit was not with David. God could have sent angels; He could have spoken a word; He could have sent a heavenly host to keep David out of trouble. Instead, He permitted it all so that David would come to the end of himself and throw himself completely on the Lord. We would have had none of those great psalms of trust and faith had David not been tested.
Some of you are at Ziklag with David—or you are headed there! In 1 Samuel chapter 30, the story is told of how the Amalekites had overtaken God’s people, devastating lives and property. David was in great distress, as his own people spoke of stoning him because they blamed him for the disaster. “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). As he turned to the Lord (verse 8), he was assured that all that was lost would be restored to him. In verse 19, we see the final outcome: “David recovered all.”
David got back his family and his goods, but there was so much more that was restored to him. Most important was that he regained his confidence in God, his assurance that God was still with him. The power of his anointing was renewed, along with a new hatred for the enemy. On that day David got his diploma! He had learned to inquire of the Lord and to encourage himself in the Lord. From that day on, he grew stronger and stronger—and prevailed.