Seems like everybody has advice to give. When you’re down, they say, “Get up”. When you’re sad and feel blue, they say, “Brighten up”. When you are angry, they say, “Lighten up”. When you feel deserted and lonely, they say, “Get a life, man, get a life”.
It always seems so simple when you are not the one that is down or sad or angry or lonely and deserted. The answers seem easy to anyone who is not walking in your shoes.
It was a dark dismal day in the life of David. The great victories of the past were but a faint faded memory. The slain giant, Goliath, seemed like ghosts that were never real. There was no light on any horizon – no star in David’s sky. Victories were vanishing. The great cities of the Israelites were engulfed by the enemy. His own elite troops were now broken and scattered. Their will to fight had waned. Among the troops, there was open talk of stoning David.
On top of this, David’s wives had been captured and the city wherein David stood had been burned and pillaged. To whom could he turn? Certainly not to his disheartened troops. He was their commander and was reaching the end of his rope. Where could he go? Many of the Israelites were now captives; even his wives were abused and taken away. Any opinions of how to help the poor soul?
“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 his daughters; BUT DAVID ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD HIS GOD” (I Samuel 30:6).
What a remarkable statement. When strength fails, trusted servants rebel, loved ones captured, prime city sacked and burned, battle lost and the will breaks under the strain . . . “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God”. He renewed his strength. When others will to die, to give up, to just break down and cry, David turned to God. That’s pulling yourself up with God’s bootstraps.
The greatest tool of Satan is his unusual power to DISCOURAGE. This is the final blow, the last straw – to beat and bring us into total subjection. Troubles come, Bills pile up, the kids are sick, just got laid off, headaches and heartaches increase – and now the final blow – DISCOURAGEMENT.
“And David enquired of the Lord, saying, shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake the enemy?” (I Samuel 30:8). His failings turned to faith for faith was the lost foundation on which great victories are won. He no longer counsels his fears, but turns his face toward Jehovah. When he fell to his knees, he looked up to heaven. Sometimes this is the last face we seek and the last place we look.
Paul would echo the same sentiment when he writes, “Don’t worry about anything whatever (Be anxious in nothing), but in everything, with prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). The best time to look up is when you are flat on your back.
“And Jehovah God answered David . . . And David went” (I Samuel 30:8). It’s never good enough to ask God unless you are willing to listen. He speaks to us through his word, and promises “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. When you ask and God answers, do what David did . . .”And he went”. There was yet one more battle to fight, one more Goliath to slay, one more victory to win. The recovery was complete, the rescue was successful, and discouragement was defeated.
David would later write his beloved Psalm, “Don’t worry yourself because of evil doers . . . For they shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb . . . Trust in the Lord and do good . . . Delight thyself also in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart . . . Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass. . . Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him . . . cease from anger and forsake wrath . . . a little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked . . . The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord . . . though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. . .(Psalms 37). When writing those words, David must have called to memory that special day of defeat and discouragement.
“And David encouraged himself in the Lord his God“. Go thou and do likewise.