There were many times in the life of King David that he encountered the depths of despair. One such episode is recorded in 1 Samuel 30. When David and his warriors returned to the city of Ziklag, they discovered that in their absence, the Amalekites had raided and burnt the city. Furthermore, they had taken captive their wives and children. David’s men were so distraught with grief they were ready to stone him. How did David deal with his predicament? He was greatly distressed but David had long ago learned what to do in the depths of despair when all had turned against him. ” He encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6-8). He presented himself to the Lord and enquired what he should do. The Lord gave him direction to pursue the Amelekites and the remainder of chapter 30 records how David and his men pursued the raiders and recovered all their families, plus a great amount of the spoils of war.
There is tremendous benefit from encouraging ourselves in the Lord when people and circumstances are against us. Arthur used to say:-
If you want to be distracted – look around.
If you want to be distressed – look within.
But if you want to be delivered – look above!
1 John 4:19-20 “Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”
Just as David learnt to encourage himself in God, we can “assure our hearts” and have confidence towards God. God knows the frailty of my flesh and it does not disqualify me from becoming a person of strong faith in God. My frailty qualifies me for becoming a potential vessel to display the glory of God, according to 1 Corinthians 1:25-31.
Abraham’s wife Sarah laughed in unbelief when it was prophesied she would bear a child in old age, and even lied about it, (Genesis 18), and yet, the Lord included her name in the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11:11. Sarah exchanged her initial unbelief and “….judged him (the Lord) faithful who had promised.” It is not how we start, but how we finish!
Doubt and unbelief often precede strong faith. When the Lord speaks to me, faith is created in me. God’s word is creative. It fulfills itself. My part is to believe and obey what God has spoken. What a man believes rules him, and he lives his life accordingly.
Isaiah 30:21 “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
Isaiah 30:18 “…blessed are all they that wait for him.”
We all want to hear from the Lord, but we do not like waiting, and yet the above scripture declares those are blessed who wait for Him. The waiting period is important to quiet my heart, to shut out the voices of sense knowledge, to learn to listen and hear, to trust Him even when He is silent. Eventually I find my peace and rest in surrender. Father has everything in His control and in His perfect timing, He speaks. As I receive His word, my spirit is quickened as I witness to His Spirit, and all sense knowledge bows and is silenced. God has spoken and I am forever changed when I allow His word to take root in my heart. In the fullness of His timing His word will surely bear fruit, “…. trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”