And 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 for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. David Destroys the Amalekites 7And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray you, bring me here the ephod. And Abiathar brought there the ephod to David. 8And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for you shall surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. I Samuel 30: 6-8, KJV
David had a mess on his hands! Running from Saul, his family and the families of his soldiers had been taken captive by enemies and his army men were speaking of stoning him. The text says that they wept bitter tears until they had no more strength to weep. David, however, “encouraged himself in the Lord.”
We are living in discouraging times. Thousands have lost jobs, homes, family, health, strength and hope. Some are walking around feeling invisible, as though the world is oblivious to their hurts, their pain, their sorrow, their agony. Some are wrestling with feelings of betrayal – having trusted in a friend, a spouse, a mentor, a church only to find themselves standing alone in the hour of need. Encouragement can be a hard thing to find.
When facing the hardship of loneliness and despair, it is critical to know how to encourage oneself in the in LORD. David provides for us a marvelous example of how to find encouragement in the darkest of hours. The key is to encourage yourself in the Lord. The encouragement does not lie within you – it is to be found within the “Lord in you.”
David had to have a depth level relationship with God in the seasons of light and peace that prepared him for the experiences of the proverbial dungeon. This passage of scripture shows us that there will be times when those that we’ve led, those that we’ve nurtured, those that the Lord has used us to help rescue, and those who are closest to us can take up rocks to stone us! Bitterness, anger, disillusionment and destitution can all grip our hearts at this vulnerable time if we are not careful. When this happens, there must be something within the inner recesses of our being that enables us to stop listening to the noise and encourage ourselves in the Lord.David had to make a decision – crumble under the weight of abandonment and depression, or seek the Lord with all of this strength. David chose the latter. He asked the Lord,
shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for you shall surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. (vs. 8)
David asked the Lord if he should pursue what was taken from him. He wanted to know if his pursuit would be victorious. The Lord answered with a resounding –YES – “Pursue for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all!”
When we have been beaten down, stripped, robbed and left alone, the temptation is great to just give up and let it go. When we find ourselves in that place – we need to ask the Lord if we should let it go or if we should pursue. Our victory is wrapped up in our willingness to get up, go to God, take hold of His direction and then move forward by faith.
Though no other human appears to be standing with you, take a page out of David’s book and encourage yourself in the Lord. Go to God. Ask God if you should pursue whatever was stolen from your life – your joy, your peace, your home, your family, your health, your stability, your finances, your job, your mate, your vision – ask God what you should pursue – listen for the answer and then with Holy boldness go and get those things back!
It will be a fight, but God will fight the battle through you. While the battle is not yours, it is the Lord’s, God will use you in the battle. By faith, chase down what God has promised you will overtake. It may be uncomfortable, it may sound unreasonable, it may appear down right foolish – but pursue God’s promise for your life. If God be for you, who can be against you?
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Until next Wednesday, In Faith, Hope and Perseverance, Pastor Chris