Be Encouraged in the Lord Your God!

DavidtheShepherdBoyDavid, King of Israel lived a very tumultuous life. From shepherd boy to God’s anointed king as a youth, to personal musician to King Saul, slayer of giants, and then captain over a thousand men; his rise was meteoric. Eventually though, King Saul comes to fear David and that fear leads Saul to try and kill him. He escapes with the help of his very good friend, and ironically, Saul’s son Jonathan.

 

In 1 Samuel 29, we find that Israel and the Philistines have gathered their armies to fight, and David with his men are bringing up the rear of the Philistine army with the King of Achish, whom David has aligned himself with, seemingly as a mercenary. The Philistines notice David and is men and question their loyalty to the Philistine cause, causing Achish to send David’s band back home to Ziklag.

Tragedy occurs at Ziklag while David and his men are gone. The Amalekites came down from the north, burned Ziklag, and took the women and children of the city captive. When David and his men came upon the destruction of Ziklag, the Holy Spirit tells us, they “lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” Among those taken were the two wives of David, Abigail and Ahinoam.

As you can imagine, David was torn up about it. Then, to make matters worse, the people of Ziklag turned on David, blaming his absence as the cause of the calamity, threatening to stone him. It is at this point that we see the true nature of the man David.

If this story was being written about you, how would the Holy Spirit describe your reaction to everything that has happened? If we were reading this story for the first time (and you very well might be, and that is alright…), we might would expect for David to react in the same way we might would react, turning on the accusers with hateful words, screaming, yelling, crying, ready and willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone that dares question our sincerity and determination at such a trying time. David didn’t do this though. If we really placed ourselves in David’s shoes and thought about how mighty a man in war he was, as well as these 600 or so men he had surrounding him, we might would think that this would be a perfect time to place these people that are so far beneath our power and strength in their place, turning our chariots, horses and men on the remnants of the pitiful city, destroying what was left! But David didn’t do this either. In society today, there seems to be two different types of people, when it comes to being falsely accused, or being thrown under the proverbial bus. Those that don’t like the idea of taking it on the chin idly and are willing to tell people off or even get physical, and then those that really don’t have that type of heart and spirit. You might be this second type of personality; that instead of turning on a hateful city with violence and mayhem, you might would instead go off to feel sorry for yourself and withdraw from the world in a fit of depression, moping around and making everyone else around you miserable… Well, David didn’t do that either.

What David does, is found in the last part of 1 Samuel 30:6, where it says, “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” This attitude is a recurring theme of David’s and most assuredly one of the major reasons he was a man after God’s own heart. While being pursued by Saul, David cried out to God for deliverance and protection. When he was a prisoner at Gath, he asked God to be gracious to him and says, “when I am afraid, I put my trust in you,” in Psalms 56:3. While he was hiding in the wilderness of Judah he tells God that he earnestly is seeking him out, to the point of David’s body feeling faint because his soul is so thirsty for him. So yes, David encouraged himself in the Lord his God!

How? This is the question for you and me. Exactly how did David encourage himself in the Lord his God? Notice what David says later in Psalms 56 when he was in prison at Gath. “In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.” The word “praise” here is the Hebrew word hálal. It is a very complex word that is difficult to fully represent in the English language, but is correlated with an outward expression of action. In 1 Chronicles 23:4-5, thousands praised (hálal) God with instruments David made. In Psalms 9:2, there is a singing of praise (hálal). Psalms 149:3 and 150:4 speak of dancing in praise (hálal), and Psalms 145:21 says, “My mouth shall speak the praise (hálal) of the Lord.”

When things seem to be going wrong and our lives get turned upside down. When you can find some time alone, follow the example of David. Sing, dance, talk, turn on some music to inspirational and uplifting, get out your guitar, piano or instrument of choice and express your love for God and his loving kindness to a better frame of mind! Be encouraged in the Lord your God!

“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. So will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; And my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips;” (Psalms 63:3-5 ASV)

May God bless you in all that you do!

Max Gaskins, Oxford, AL


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