Encourage Yourself in the Lord

When’s the last time you got discouraged? Living in this sinful world it can happen pretty quickly ! Maybe your reading this now and you’re struggling with it.  Maybe tomorrow or the next day you might.  Or you know someone right now who is. Well, we’re not alone. Scan the pages of Scripture and many of the saints struggled as well.   What to do, what to do?

David had his share of discouraging times. Remember how for no good reason he was threatened by his own king, jealous old Saul? So David left for the land of the Philistines (the Israelites enemy !). He took up residence in Ziklag but he left on a military mission for a short time only to come back and find Ziklag pillaged by an enemy.  His family was seized, the townspeople’s families were  captured, and the town burned. Seemed like everything he was doing was crumbling around him bit by bit. So easy to be discouraged !

So he did what we all need to do in such low points. He sought to simply reverse the spiral of spiritual and emotional decline by encouraging himself in the Lord ! How?  Well, one, he started to react right unlike previously.  In 1Sam.30:4 he didn’t suffer in silence, “Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept. . .” Sometimes we’ll bottle things up when maybe its not the best play and then we shut ourselves off from what God could do through other’s helping us and encouraging us. Gal.6:2 suggests this that we’re to “bear one another’s burdens and so FULFILL the LAW of CHRIST” !   I’m not saying we should become a cry baby but we shouldn’t be so proud to think we can handle it all at all times either.

1Sam.30:6 also shows us when we get down to not lash out at others, “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”.   David was taking hits from all sides but unlike his neighbors he wasn’t taking it out on them !   So David proceeded to what he knew was beneficial, ” but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (vs6)  The word “encouraged” speaks of resetting a broken bone, to mend or heal.  His reaction was the counterproductive one to his fellow townsmen’s !  He found strength in the truth and Person of God which partly meant to not lash back for he KNEW vengeance was God’s, He would make things right in His time and David would rest in that and just do right. When your down there’s nothing quite as uplifting as the timeless truths of the Word of God to correct and comfort us !

But did he stop there? Nada – he started to react right, now he had a firm resolve to keep doing right so he sought God’s counsel: “And David enquired 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.” (vs8)  The Amalekites had done this vicious act and David was a great military man.  But he still sought God’s permission to mete out justice and rescue the captives of his town and his own family.  Sometimes when we’re down we don’t think very straight, our emotions run amok and of all times its then we need the clear directives of the Word to guide us correctly through troubled waters.

Last, David not only sought God’s counsel but he submitted to it.  We’re prone to go by what we like and what’s convenient rather than hard and frankly, what’s right !  But David didn’t remain sitting and weeping for long he got up and went after the enemy !  Most Christians want to hear what God says to get out of discouragement  until it means hearing what is needed to DO ! Yet if we make the judgment that what God says to do is too hard, we forfeit spiritual maturity, joy, and peace that God could otherwise bring through the down time !    The end result for David was he SUCCEEDED, “And David RECOVERED ALL . . .”  (vs18).  So can YOU when you follow the same formula David did !

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