Summary: This story in the life of David points out three principles to guide us as we seek to "encourage ourselves in the Lord."
A Study of the Life Of David
Sermon # 10
“David Encouraged Himself in the Lord”
1 Samuel 30: 1-25 key verse-6
We all need encouragement from time to time. All of us at sometime or other face a crisis when everything seems to fall apart. There are times of discouragement, when things go wrong even when we are trying to do right. At such times, people may even say, “That’s what you get for trying to do right.” There are times of uncertainty, when don’t know how things are going to turn out. There are times of stress, when our load seems heavier than we can bear. The task is more than we can handle. There can also be times of fear when our very sense of security is threatened. In all of those kinds of situations we need to be encouraged in the Lord.
In the midst of a time of great distress it says of David in our text in verse six, “…But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” That sounds great doesn’t it? But what does it really mean that David encouraged himself in the Lord? I would like to have that ability wouldn’t you? So let’s see if we can examine this passage to understand his secret.
David and his company of six hundred men had been off serving in the military of Kind Achish of Gath (that’s right Gath the enemies of Israel) and in the process had left their wives and children in Ziklag unprotect-ed. A raiding band of Amalekites the persis-tent and longtime enemies of Israel, came down on the village, capturing the women and children for slaves, looting the place and carried of everything of value, leaving behind nothing but a smoking pile of rubble.
“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, (2) 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. (3) 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.” When David and his men arrived home all that remained was heap of smoking ruins. Everything was gone; wives, children, cattle and all their property. What do you do when life falls apart? Many follow the adage, “When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles and scream and shout!”
It is interesting to note how David’s men reacted when they discovered their terrible loss. Verse four, “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.’
Some of them sat down and wept until they has no more tears to shed. But others complained and blamed David. Verse six,
“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….” Some went so far as to suggest that they stone David. It is always easy in a crisis to blame somebody else or to look for a scapegoat.
What does that have to do with encouraging your self in God? A lot of times when your life gets hairy you’re tempted to do what David’s troops did. You’re tempted to take it out on someone else. Misery loves company. You’re in the pit of despair and instead of spending time with God and asking Him what to do you do the stupid thing. You’re hurting so you hurt someone else. Hurt people hurt people.
So what happens after the crisis passes and you have time to reflect on having behaved badly toward someone else because you were in pain? Now you have another problem. You have to mend the fences you took down in your anger and your pain. So do yourself a favor, when troubles come be aware of yourself and behave yourself.
Think of what must have been going through David’s mind as he stood over the ruins of his home not knowing whether his family was dead or alive. He must have asked himself some questions. Like, “Why, if God is with me, is Saul trying to kill me? Why is Saul so insanely jealous of me? Why, if I am anointed do I have hide myself in the wilderness? Is this the reward I get for being a man after God’s own heart?”
Is it not possible that God intended that a crisis be allowed in David’s life that would force him to seek some answers from deep within? David had a choice. He could either, as a great many of us do, just stand there and continue to look, and see nothing but the disaster or he could look beyond them and see God. David looked deep within himself and there he met God and found the strength and direction to carry one. Then verse six continues with “…But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”