1 Samuel 30:1-6 KJV And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 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: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
Last August (2016) I started a blog category “Don’t Be Discouraged”. In the first post “Don't Become Trapped By Discouragement” I included some of the lyrics to an old gospel song I Won’t ComplaIn. The lyrics that kept running through my mind before I wrote the post were;
I've had some good days
I've had some hills to climb
I've had some weary days
And some lonely nights
But when I look around and I think
Things over...all of my good days,
They outweigh my weary days - I won't complain
David could certainly agreed with these lyrics. He had some good days. As a shepherd he had protected his father’s sheep from lion and bear attacks, he had killed the giant Goliath and become a hero in Israel, he was a very successful military commander, and he married the king’s daughter.
He had also had some very bad days. King Saul, whose army David had “bailed out” when he killed Goliath, whose disposition he settled by playing music when he was “freaking out”, whose army that he led to victory after victory, wanted to kill him. Things got so bad that he had to run for his life for years. After he became the king one of his sons raped his own sister, another of his sons killed the rapist, the rapist son led a rebellion against him. He had an affair with one of his soldier’s wife and then had him killed. The son born as a result of the adulterous affair died. Those were some bad days.
The scripture that I started this post with was a bad day for David. He and his men arrived home after another bad when he was rejected and sent home by another king that he had helped (read 1 Samuel 29) . That’s two bad days in a row actually four bad days. When he got home he found that his wife, children, and all his stuff, along with the wives, children and all the stuff of all his men were gone. That’s cause for great discouragement because not only was his family and all his stuff gone, his men were talking about assassinating him. However David’s discouragement doesn’t appear to have lasted long because the Scripture says that he encouraged himself in God and then went on to recover everything that had been taken. He didn’t become trapped by discouragement he turned it upside down with encouragement and that encouragement in the Lord.
Read this excerpt from God Comes Through On Time one of my quiet time reading plans from YouVersion. The reading plan was provided by Kennetra A. Bryant, Ed.D from GOD COMES THROUGH ON TIME - Bible Plan & Discussion Questions - (The scriptures are my inserts)
In scripture, David experienced a devastating, overwhelming event. David returned home with his men only to find that the Amalekites raided and burned his land with fire and took captive the women and children. David and the people who were with him wept until they were too exhausted to weep any more, and the people with David spoke of stoning him.
Everyone was affected and in distress, but God came through in timely encouragement. Remember David had a relationship with God; David was a worshiper and a man after God’s own heart. So even in the midst of distress, the scripture states that David felt strengthened and encouraged in the LORD His God and sought God’s direction regarding his troubles and David recovered all that the enemy stole from him.
After David encouraged himself in God, I believe he was able to inquire of God’s direction because he had faith and witnessed God’s provision, protection, and promises performed in the past and knew without a doubt that God would come through for him.
Life’s challenging obstacles can cause us to feel overwhelmed with heartache, sadness, and despair. Sometime those challenges are our own fault. At other times it was something done to us by someone else. It may not have been anybody's fault just the result of living in a fallen world, or they may have been direct demonic attacks. No matter the source, during these challenging experiences in our lives, it is vital that we draw close to God so He will draw close to us.
James 4:7-10 NIV Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Although you face troubles, remember that God, our heavenly, all-knowing Father, knew what you would encounter before the foundations of the earth were laid.
That unpleasant, life-changing experience you faced might’ve been a shock to you, but God knew about that before He created you and He already set up an internal encouragement system within you to assist you during difficult times, when you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal LORD and Savior. Despite the setbacks, detours, and pit stops you face, remember that God has a purpose for you that will be fulfilled.
Romans 8:28-30 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
You’ve probably experienced a situation similar to David when your steps were ordered to return to a place and everything was totally out of your control, individuals connected to you were negatively impacted and their actions and words indicated that they wanted to get rid of you! I know that i have, several times. Let this be encouragement to you that no matter the situation you are facing or have faced, allow God’s encouragement system to kick in (The Holy Spirit) and inquire of Him at all times regarding your route of divine recovery. God, in his mercy, comes through on time for you!
Romans 8:31-39 NIV What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is very important to understand. When you blow it as a believer, God doesn’t get mad at you. God doesn’t want to get even with you. God doesn’t start planning to mess up your life. God always acts in mercy toward you. Why? Because you’re covered in the blood of Jesus Christ when you’ve accepted him as Savior. That’s why God responds in mercy every time you mess up.
Titus 3:3-7 NIV At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
And that should give you hope!
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.