“But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6)
If anyone had to lean on God for support during his lifetime it was King David especially all that time when he was running from King Saul. While David had been seeking asylum within the territory occupied by the Philistines he and his men had left their families at Ziklag, a town located in the Negev region in the south-west of what was the Kingdom of Judah. It was a provincial town within the Philistine kingdom of Gath when Achish was king. While David and his men were in the service of the Philistine king, having convinced the king that he and his men were now fighting against King Saul, the Amalekites came down to Ziklag and burned the town and took the families of David and his men captive.
If David did not already have enough troubles to contend with the situation he and his men faced when they returned to Ziklag was devastating to say the least and grieved them beyond measure. We are told that David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep (1 Samuel 30:4). At this time David’s men were so angry and bitter about what had happened that they were ready to stone David. This stressed David out big time. It was one of those ‘dark places’ where David was thoroughly exhausted spiritually emotionally and physically. However did David just give up, wring his hands and say to God why has this happened? Did David start to grumble at God and blame anyone for what had happened? No, we are told that “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (Samuel 30:6)
As we know David wrote most of the psalms and whenever he had been in trouble and deep despair he had learnt by experience, both through failures and successes, that when faced with a situation beyond human capacity to bear he went to the only one who could spiritually sustain him in all of the changing circumstances of his life. He was in a situation where there was no one else to turn to, even Abiathar the Priest, being David’s pastor as it were, could not advise him what to do in the dire situation David found himself in. What did David do? He sought the Lord alone and waited on God to answer and He did. While David could see no way out of this situation apart from a miraculous intervention by the Lord, he also knew from past experience and from the Word of God that there was a way out and that it was important that he sought God’s advice. Well the Lord responded to David’s faith and that big time!
We are told in the Word of God that without faith we cannot please God. However, when we exercise our faith He is not only pleased but rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). David put it this way when he wrote; “My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:5-8)
And again he wrote; “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14) Once David had decided to give the whole situation over into God’s hand the answer came and David and his men were shown the way to retrieve their families from the enemies clutches. Once they did it God’s way there was success and victory, the enemy defeated and their families restored.
Dear brothers and sisters there are times when we are faced with a situation that is beyond our human ability to handle and that often will bring us to tears and produce in us a sense of helplessness and sense of grief that is ours alone. Most of the time we will go to another brother of sister or to our pastor or to a spiritually discerning person to find a solution and this is appropriate to do this. However, there are times when the private war of the saint becomes a reality to us and we can go to no one other than to the Lord Himself and to seek his face. We cannot solve the situation and others cannot solve it for us. This is what David did. Yes there were fears and anxieties and tears and uncertainty emotionally and mentally and I dare say Satan rubbed gunpowder into the wound to make it sting all the more. Often David had to wait on the Lord. It did not mean he ceased from all activity especially in his service for the Lord but that as he waited he praised and thanked God out of his spiritually reborn inner spirit even though outwardly nothing had changed in the natural.
However, one thing is certain that God is never too early but never too late and always on time according to his good acceptable and perfect will when situations beyond our strength have been surrendered to him by faith. (Romans 12:1-3) Sometimes words failed and all David could do was to be silent outwardly but deep down on the inside be in intercession for the situation until God came through. When we are wrestling with a situation that looks like it will end in disaster as we keep praying in the Holy Spirit and thanking God for the answers He has shown us in His word the time will come when He will direct us and tell us what to do.
At times when we are faced with a crisis, and we all face them, the tendency is to panic and to try to do something ourselves to solve the situation. However, one of the reasons God often puts us through the same test is not because He wants to be mean and nasty towards us but that we might pass the test and that through the comfort of the scriptures we may have hope and may comfort others with the comfort we have received from God for ourselves. (Romans 15:4) (2 Corinthians 1:4)
There will be times when everything looks as though it is finished and at such times the devil and his minions from Hades will use the circumstances to make shipwreck of our faith and to destroy our confidence in the Lord’s love and mercy and goodness. It may be a financial or marital situation or a situation of unemployment or not knowing a career path to take. It may be wrestling with a sense of loneliness and even isolation that rises like a spectre out of the misty darkness to haunt our emotions and trouble our minds and one that seeks to bring upon us a sense of despair and hopelessness and even dread in the situation we are facing.
During his lifetime David faced many trials and tests and anguish of soul and shedding of tears to exhaustion but always ran to the Lord every time for spiritual sustenance and comfort with a sense of expectancy that God would pull him through. He had to believe that he would once again see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and in the waiting period learn that the Lord was indeed his only true rock and stronghold. He came to know through life’s experiences, both the good and the not so good experiences, that by looking to God and His Word alone he would not be ultimately shaken in his confidence in the redeeming love of God for His unworthy servant.
As David poured out his heart to God he encouraged himself in the Lord his God and found to his joy and peace that when God answers it is a perfect and complete solution that only God Himself could have worked for David. Indeed did not David write; “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength (praise), Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2). Satan, the enemy and the avenger and the accuser of the brethren is working 24/7 around the clock to destabilize our trust in God’s mercy and faithfulness and in His redeeming love. If with a child-like spirit we call on the name of the Lord then He will arise to drive back the enemy of our souls and deliver us from his power! As the Lord Jesus Himself said; “and will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.” (Luke 18:7-8) We have God’s Word on that score!
If you are alone in this lockdown or going through the ‘dark night of the soul’ or passing through the deepest and darkest valley do not give up! Keep waiting on God and it will increase your expectancy. Find those promises from God’s Word that cover the situation you are wrestling with and go to God with His Word with a thankful and believing heart and with a sense of expectancy while you wait on God and He will respond. Added to this as you come before Him with a thankful, believing and praising heart He will stop the enemy and the avenger in his tracks and drive him out of your affairs! God will slap Satan’s mouth shut!
When comforters are absent comfort yourself in the Lord and when He answers, and He surely will, His answer will prove to be far above and beyond anything you could ask of think or even imagine by His power that is mightily at work in you. (Ephesians 3:20) As suffering Job said; “He knows the way that I take and when He has tested me I shall come forth as gold.” Let us in this time of lack-down and facing an uncertain future, humanly speaking; be like David “who encouraged himself in the Lord His God!”