When you’re running out of shows to binge, hang out with us a while. Some people are using this quarantine to do more home cooking and baking, and some of us might be having Wonder bread with whipped cream (just kidding).
To understand overwhelming odds, and what encouragement should be to us, Brother Nobles gave us four examples in the Bible to see how they did it. You met King Asa. Now we’re shuffling pages over to 1 Samuel 30, where King David is so distressed that he weeps until he has no more strength left in him to cry another tear. He is in the middle of an unthinkable situation.
Share this with a friend you’ve been having virtual coffees with. We’re tired of living that Jetson’s life 😐
David Encouraged Himself
It all goes down in 1 Samuel 30. While David and his men are gone, the Amalekites come and burn Ziklag and take the women and children, even David’s wives.
“Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” -1 Samuel 30:4
David is in great distress, and so are the men, and they begin talking about stoning David. Their talk gets to David. Then, this happens:
“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.” -1 Samuel 30:6
Maybe as he talked to God, he went back in his mind and remembered how good God had been to him and how God’s anointing had come upon him. Maybe he remembered victories in his life—fighting the lion and the bear and running into the valley to face Goliath. And those times he was able to pick up his harp and sing to King Saul, soothing him.
What does David do immediately after he encourages himself?
Now We’re Getting to the Good Part.
David gets down to business. He asks God if he should pursue this troop of Amalekites, and God answers him, “What are you waiting for?” David gets to work. He starts out with 600 men (200 of the men are too exhausted to cross the river). The rest of the men continue the mission without them.
They meet an Egyptian along the way, and give him food and drink. When his strength returns, he tells them his story. He was the servant of one of the Amalekite raiders, and when he became sick, his master left him. If David’s men will spare his life, he will show them the location of the raiders. It’s a deal.
So Long Amalekites.
David finds the Amalekites. They’re partying like it’s 1010 BC with all their Philistine spoils. David attacks them and kills a bunch of them (400 manage to escape on some very speedy camels).
David recovers EVERYTHING, and then some. All of the wives and children are accounted for. Nothing is missing. He even captures new flocks and herds. He and his men return to the 200 men who were too exhausted to continue. Some of David’s men become a little possessive and don’t want to give them any of the stuff they won in battle. They only want to return their wives and children to them.
David rules that the men who stayed with the group’s belongings when they were too weary to continue the swift pursuit would get the same share as those who went into battle. David’s decision becomes a statute and an ordinance for Israel.
What if David Had Stayed in That Discouraged State and Moped Around for Two Weeks?
The ending of chapter 30 would look very different. In his distress, David got away by and from himself, and got with God. Then, he got busy with what needed to be done.
If we need encouragement, we can encourage ourselves, but right after that, get back to business, so that when this thing is done, we are going to recover ALL. We’re not going to lose anything through this. We’re going to be on the other side saying, our God has done everything He told us he was going to do and He kept us through this whole condition and we came out stronger, not weaker!
This next man is an Apostle to the Gentiles, not that he’s bragging or anything in Romans 11:13, but he’s well educated and grew up around Gentiles and is good at reaching out to them. Peter was the first to actually convert a Gentile, but this man is the one who really takes the ball and runs with it . . . literally, halfway around the Roman Empire.
But it’s not all globetrotting and miracles. There is a lot of danger along his way, and even God told him he would suffer for His name sake in Acts 9:16. People either love this man and could listen to him talk for hours, or they want to rip him from limb to limb. No in between. People plot to kill him and he’s in and out of jail, but still thinks himself happy. Not a typo. How he does it—dealing with hard conditions and encouraging himself—really sets the example for all of us in how we think.
Two down. We’ll meet you in Part 3 🙂