Summary: We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast and our trust fixed on God.
1Samuel 30: 1-8:“And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire. And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” Verse 18 says that David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away.
Discouragement is a terrible disease and a very powerful weapon in the hand of the enemy of our soul. Consider this illustration. Something went bad for a lady and she became so sad that she cried herself to sleep. As she slept, she saw a vision where she was in a big market place. As she moved round the market, she found a particular shop called Mr. Devil’s shop. She said, “Wonderful, the devil has a shop in this place.” She went in to see what the devil was selling and found on the shelf, Anger, Hypertension and Diabetes with their prices attached. She said, “Mr. Devil, what is the most expensive material in your shop?” He brought something out on which was written "Discouragement,” and said, “This is the most expensive thing. When I get Christians to be discouraged and worried, I send fear into them and from there all kinds of other things will go in.
It is sad but true that many people actually wage war against themselves. Imagine that you take your car to a mechanic and he says, “I should have been a bricklayer. All the cars I have repaired pack up. In fact, I don’t know what I am doing here.” What will you do? Of course, you will take your car away. Or you go to the hospital for surgery and the surgeon complains: “I should have been a motor mechanic. All the patients I operated on die.” I am sure that you will go somewhere else.
Many people downgrade themselves continually with their mouths. Whenever the devil wants to box you to a corner, encourage yourself in the Lord.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE WORD "DISCOURAGE?"
It is a simple English word that is made up of two words: "Dis" and "Courage." Discourage means lack of courage. The trouble with discouraged people is that they cannot hear from God. The Bible says, “Therefore with joy shall you draw water from the well of salvation.” The devil knows that discouraged people cannot commune with God properly or hear His voice.
Encouragement brings hope but discouragement causes hopelessness and despair. It is so easy to know the size of a person’s faith by observing how much trouble it takes to discourage him. I read an article about a man who tried to sell soap to a certain customer. He started going to the customer in the morning and continued until the customer got wearied and said, “Ah! This is the tenth soap seller that has come here. What is the problem? Okay how much is the soap? I will buy so that they stop worrying me.” And he bought the soap. The man then said, “Point of correction sir, I am the only one that has been coming. In the morning, I wore a suit and you turned me away. I went and changed and came back. I have been here ten times. Thank you for buying.” This is the kind of people who can make a headway.
When people are encouraged, they keep on their feet and smile even when it looks like they are faced with defeat. But discouraged people have a lot of loose ends to tie up. When discouraged people are sick, they give up and die quickly. I have seen where some people were trying to purge a lady who swallowed excessive tablets because she wanted to die. As they were doing that, she kept saying, “Leave me, let me die, let me die.” Why? She was discouraged.