There are times in life when the news just isn’t good. In this present age it would be easy to assume the seat of the scornful for on every television, in each telephone call, every piece of mail, every newspaper, on every radio - the news isn’t good.
Our nation is in the throes of a war unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The economy is on the verge of recession. Unemployment figures are their highest rate in years. We are slowly steaming to a police-enforced state. Airliners are flying half-empty. The President and his cabinet are in a state of alert. The Secretary of State and Defense warn us to prepare for another major terrorist attack.
So where can we go for some good news? Families are in disarray. Our institutions of learning are in upheaval. Our leaders are unable to give us factual information because it’s “classified.” And let’s not think about going to so-called loved ones - they have their own set of problems. They are struggling as much if not more than you are.
I have come to suggest that the person who can encourage you is sitting in your seat right now. However, that person has to be sensitive, strong, and spiritually-prepared to dispense spiritual information to the one who may need it most - yourself.
I know - some of us think that people are crazy when they speak to themselves. But it’s not really that strange at all......
If you can sing to yourself in the shower - you can encourage to yourself.
If you can talk out the numbers while you dial the phone - you can encourage to yourself.
If you can read a recipe out loud when you’re the only one in a kitchen - you can encourage yourself.
If you can add up money out loud when you’re trying to buy something - you can encourage yourself.
Our text finds David returning to his home base of Ziklag. He has just returned from a battle that Saul has commanded him to. There are no parades in David’s honor. There are no City-Hall receptions. There are no national proclamations or any songs written in his honor. He returns home after being in the thick of the battle.
The long-standing threat to the safety of Israel, Amalek and his armies had once again confronted elite forces led by David. However, in chapter 30, David did what Saul could not do. In Chapter 15, God wanted Saul to eliminate Amalek and his armies - but he could not do it. In Chapter 30, David does what Saul couldn’t do and then allowed him to recover everything Amalek stole from Israel.
That should say something to somebody here - everything that the Devil took from you, with God’s help you can get it back.
The Devil took your job - But God can help you get it back.
The Devil took your family - But God can help you get it back.
The Devil took your joy - But God can help you get it back.
The Devil took your pride - But God can help you get it back.
The Devil took your reputation - But God can help you get it back.
The Devil took your friends - But God can help you get it back.
The Devil took your health - But God can help you get it back.
The difference is that David used holy methods and Saul used unholy methods. Saul consulted with a medium - a “Miss Cleo” of his day. David consulted with God. Somebody here by now ought to understand that its dangerous and a waste of time to consult a medium or to hang out with “Miss Cleo.”
Where was Miss Cleo when your heart got broken?
Where was Miss Cleo when you go into your car accident?
Where was Miss Cleo on September 10th ?
Where was Miss Cleo on September 10th in Boston?
Where was Miss Cleo on September 10th in New York City?
Where was Miss Cleo on September 10th in Washington, DC ?
Where was Miss Cleo on September 10th in Pennsylvania?
I don’t know about you - but it’s a good thing to trust in the Lord. It’s a good thing to rely upon Him. It’s a good thing to cast all your cares upon Him.
When David and his weary troops return to Ziklag, he discovers that the enemy, the Amalekites, have already been at their home base of operations. Although they were on the field of battle - the enemy was working at home.
Somebody here understands this principle. When you give God your best at church - the Devil will beat you home. When you praise God in the Sanctuary - the Devil will work on your husband. When you lift up holy hands in the Worship - the Devil will work on your children. When you shout at church, the Devil is working on your parent. And when you get home, you can almost sense that the Devil’s been busy.
Many of us remember that when Mom or Dad left out of the house to go to the store or go shopping or even to church that by the time they got home, you did some things that you know you had no business doing. And you cleaned up the house and it looked like it did when they left. But when they hit the door - they could feel that something wasn’t right - and they looked at you and said, “some thing doesn’t feel right here...”
The Amalekites not only came to Ziklag but they burned Ziklag down. Not only did they burn Ziklag down but they kidnapped every woman - married or single - young or old - from Ziklag. I don’t know if the women from Ziklag were known for their aesthetic beauty. I don’t know if the women from Ziklag were known for their curves, hips and lips. I don’t know if the women from Ziklag were beauty queens. But I do know that when the Men of Ziklag, who had sacrificed themselves in battle came home - they were gone.
And the boys were gone. The future leaders of the culture were now gone. Ziklag had become a deserted city. Ziklag had become a city of ashes and ruin. Ziklag had become an empty city. The First National Bank of Ziklag was empty. The Edwards Cinemas of Ziklag was empty. The Burger King of Ziklag was burned to the ground. There was no Popeye’s Fried Chicken. No Juke Joints. No all you can eat restaurants. No churches. Everything had been destroyed.
Can you imagine what life would be like if all of a sudden that which you worked hard to protect was now gone? If that woman that you loved so much was now gone. If that man that you love so much was now gone? The women of Ziklag were gone - young and old. Wives and Girlfriends. Sons and Daughters. Baby’s mammas. They were all gone.
When David and his band of soldiers saw all of the devastation the Bible said that they cried until they couldn’t cry anymore. The Bible says that they didn’t have any more power - in Hebrew - they were drained because of their grief.
Somebody here knows that your troubles can drain you....
Trouble can drain your mental alertness.
Trouble can drain your required sleep.
Trouble can drain you and make your pillow wet with tears.
Trouble can drain your checkbook.
Trouble can drain you of your self-worth.
Trouble can drain you and make you think you’re about to lose your mind.
Trouble can drain you and you’ll feel sick without a physical ailment.
Trouble can drain you and stop you from praying.
When David checked out his home - two of his eight wives were gone. Ahinoam and Abigal were gone. Polygamy was legal in that day. Two of his wives were gone. David understood the difference between a recession and depression. A recession is when somebody else loses their job. A depression is when you lose yours.
But check this out - Ahinoam and Abigail were also spiritually significant.
Ahinoam’s name in Hebrew means delight.
Abigal’s name in Hebrew means joy.
David had lost both his delight and his joy. The devil hit him with a two-fold punch. He lost the reason to be happy and the joy that goes beyond happiness.
Somebody here - the Devil has done that to you.
You don’t smile like you used to.
You don’t love like you used to.
You don’t get happy like you used to.
You don’t feel the Spirit like you used to.
You don’t interact with others like you used to.
You don’t hug like you used to.
You don’t appreciate people like you used to.
The Bible says that he was greatly distressed. In Hebrew, meh-ode yaw-tsar - it means it was a compounded feeling of distressed. Not only was he carrying the burden of his men’s losses. Not only was he carrying the burden of a defeat from the enemy. But now he carries his own personal burden. And the men he led were now affixing blame upon him for their troubles.
Some people are experts in blaming other people for their problems. And some people even blame the man of God for their problems. Remember when Lazarus died? Martha said, Jesus if you had been here, our brother would not have died.
So, David is surrounded by sorrow. His personal grief. The grief of a remnant of a city. The humiliation of being outsmarted. The scoreboard reads: The Enemy 1, The People of God Zero.
David would have been justified in losing his mind, up in here, up in here.
David would have been justified in resigning and moving away.
David would have been justified in getting high to forget his troubles.
David would have been justified in blaming others.
But David encouraged himself.
In Hebrew it means:
He made himself strong.
He strengthened himself.
He made himself firm.
He displayed strength.
He supported himself.
He repaired himself.
He took care of himself.
He held himself up.
He sustained himself.
Somebody here - your troubles have overwhelmed you. And you don’t know what to do. You don’t know what’s your next move. Your next move is to encourage yourself.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t quote Oprah.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t quote Shakespeare.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t bring up Miss Cleo.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t quote Iylanya.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t mention Jerry Springer.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t recall The Players Anthem.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t sing the Blues.
You need to talk to yourself. But don’t turn to CNN.
You need to encourage yourself - but in the Lord. This text reads in Hebrew - He gave himself Godly encouragement. And I found out that you can’t administer Godly encouragement outside of the Word of God.
You can’t play football without a quarterback.
You can’t play basketball without a hoop.
You can’t play baseball without a pitcher.
You can’t write a check without a pen.
You can’t fly on a plane without a pilot.
You can’t sing a song without a melody.
You can’t buy a car without cash or credit.
You can’t watch TV without electricity or batteries.
You can’t walk without putting one foot in front of the other.
Somebody here needs to encourage yourself in the Lord.
He made himself strong - by remembering that the Lord is a strong tower.
He strengthened himself - by remembering when I am weak, He is strong.
He made himself firm - by remembering that he gives power to the faint.
He displayed strength - by remembering that He is Jehovah Jireh.
He supported himself - by remembering that Lo, He’s with you always.
He repaired himself - by remembering that the Lord can renew your mind.
He took care of himself - by remembering that the Lord is my shepherd.
He held himself up - by remembering that I have to lift up my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. For my help comes from the Lord.
He sustained himself - by remembering He leads me beside the still waters and my cup runneth over.
Somebody here needs to talk with yourself. You need to remind yourself that no matter what I’m going through - Jesus has already been there. The pain in life - Jesus has already been there. The trouble in my way - Jesus has already been there. The tears in my eyes - Jesus has already been there.
The pain - He’s been there and done that.
The trouble - He’s been there and done that.
Death - He’s been there and done that.
Burial - He’s been there and done that.
Resurrection - He’s been there and done that.
And because of this, I can be encouraged. The end of this story is that David got every thing back. Somebody here - needs to encourage yourself - because you’ll get everyback.
Every thing that the Devil stole from me....I’ll get it back.
My family......I’ll get it back.
My joy......I’ll get it back.
My friends.......I’ll get some back.
My finances.....I’ll get it back.
My joy......oh my joy......I may sad right now.......I may look bad right now....but keep tuned to this station.....because the bulletin to break.....they’re gonna interrupt your local telecast....and say, this bulletin just in......everything that the Devil stole from you......you’re about to get it back.......(CLOSE)