I. The back story
A. The philistines gather to attack Israel
1 Samuel 29:4-5 (NLT)
But the Philistine commanders were angry. “Send him back to the town you’ve given him!” they demanded. “He can’t go into the battle with us. What if he turns against us in battle and becomes our adversary? Is there any better way for him to reconcile himself with his master than by handing our heads over to him? 5 Isn’t this the same David about whom the women of Israel sing in their dances, ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”
King Achish has to send him back home to Ziklag
B. When David get’s back
1 Samuel 30:1-6 (NLT)
Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and Ziklag; they had crushed Ziklag and burned it to the ground. 2 They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone. 3 When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, 4 they wept until they could weep no more. 5 David’s two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, were among those captured. 6 David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (Or "encouraged himself in the Lord." (KJV) )
This is a big turnaround. These men who were with David through thick and thin turned on him.
David found himself completely alone. There was no one else on his side. No one but the God he served. So, he encouraged himself in the Lord.
II. David was greatly distressed.
A. There was good reason for David to be distressed.
He had trouble on every side.
His distress didn’t count. He was the leader. He felt abandoned and alone.
Regardless of how well you live your life or try to conduct yourself in front of others, there will always be those around you who will find something to criticize.
C. We cannot say that our situation has ever been as bad as David’s.
We’re not threatened by physical harm and prison like Christians in many parts of the world are. But we face prejudice and bigotry for being Christians on college campuses, where we work, and even from our own relatives. Sometimes it can be very discouraging.
Like David, many of us are distressed over our sons, daughters, family, and friends.
What can we do? We must encourage ourselves in the Lord. David’s situation was awful beyond description. He was greatly distressed. But David did not stay that way. How did he come out of it?
III. David encouraged himself in the Lord.
I Samuel 30:6 (KJV) - “And David was greatly distressed…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”
A. David encouraged himself in God and not man.
Picture David’s situation. His enemy seemed to have conquered him. His family was captured. It appeared he needed help from man. But the men turned against him
Psalm 20:7 (ESV) - Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
David knew that no chariots or horses could help him unless he had God’s blessing. He knew this because he remembered.
HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN GOD
1. He remembered his past.
Here’s what he had said to Goliath so many years ago.
1 Samuel 17:46-48 (NLT) - Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him.
When David remembered the Lord he was absolutely fearless. He said,
Psalm 27:1 (NIV) - The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?
Romans 8:31 - “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
David encouraged himself by remembering God’s past deliverances.
When you feel distressed and discouraged, remember how many times that God has delivered you, and you will be encouraged.
2. He Prayed
David encouraged himself through prayer to God.
The life of David was a life of prayer. He cried out to God. When he didn’t he got in trouble.
He was the Psalmist who was always in prayer or praising God for His goodness.
Psalm 34:4 (NLT) - I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
God does not want you to live in fear. He will hear your cries. He will deliver you from your fears. Pray to our Heavenly Father, and you will be greatly encouraged.
3. He realized God is in control
David encouraged himself by knowing God was in control of his life.
Psalm 31:5 - My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.
David prayed for deliverance but at the same time knew that his “times are in [God’s] hand.”
4. He asked God what to do
1 Samuel 30:7-8 - And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.”
He sought the direction of God
We do that Through His word and prayer/ Some things are cut and dry
Through Godly council
When nothing else will work, encourage yourself in the Lord. Do it with the word of God. “Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.” –George Mueller
Don’t be overwhelmed by the troubles you are going through. Keep everything in perspective. Encourage yourself in the Lord your God. Remember what God has done in your life and in the world. Pray for yourself, it is okay to do that. More importantly pray to establish your connection with Him. Realize that God is in control. Your times are in His hand and you can trust Him and finally, ask God what to do -- "Lord lead me, I will follow."