Encourage Yourself In The Lord!

1 Samuel 30: 6 "But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God."

All of us have had those days when everything seems to go wrong.
We have days when it looks as if we come to the end of the road, and there is no future ahead.
In 1 Samuel 30, we see David experiencing the same kind of days.

He had just returned from battle to discover that the enemy had attacked his camp.
They had taken all his goods, and even worse, they had kidnapped all the wives and children.
This situation was so serious that his own men talked about stoning him.

First Samuel 30: 6 tells us how David handled this crisis.
"But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God."

A crisis does not make a man; a crisis reveals what the man is made of.
Character is not built in the crisis experiences of life.
Character is built in the day-by-day experiences in all the little decisions and actions
that never attract attention.
But what we really are is revealed for everyone to see when a crisis comes upon us.

Notice, how David's men reacted when they discovered their terrible loss.
Some sat and wept until they had no more tears to shed.
Others complained and blamed David, and some even suggested that they stone him.
People do the same thing today in trying to solve a crisis problem -- they blame somebody else.

Look at what David did!

He did shed tears like the rest of the soldiers because he also loved his family.
But after that, he stopped feeling sorry for himself, and he turned to the Lord for help.
"But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God."

Here is how we can get the encouragement we need in the crisis times of our lives.
The Lord is able to carry us through.
Nothing is impossible with God.
There is no problem of life too difficult for Him to solve.
So, what should we do to receive God's gracious encouragement?
I'm going to suggest some simple steps that we can take, and they were the very steps that David took.

First, we must surrender to the will of the Lord.

David asked the priest to bring him the ephod which was that special priestly device
for determining the will of God.
David asked the Lord if he should pursue the enemy, and God said, "Yes!"
Then David asked if he and his men would recover their loved ones and their possessions,
and again, God answered, "Yes!"
Notice, before David made any move, he first determined the will of God concerning this.

There are no accidents in life; there are only appointments.
The crises hours of life never come as a surprise to God.
God knows the end from the beginning, and He knew long ago that you would need His help today.

So when the crisis invades our lives, the first thing we should do is to surrender to the will of God.
God has a purpose to fulfill; and if we surrender to Him, it will all work out for our good and His glory.
To fight God's will by complaining and blaming others will cause us to miss the blessing
that God has for us in these experiences.
David encouraged himself in the Lord his God by surrendering to God's will.

But David didn't stop there.
The next thing he did was to ask God for the strength to do what needed to be done.

David and his men were tired from battle, and the emotional strain of the crisis had weakened them.
But in obedience to God they rode off in pursuit of the enemy.
So, where did David and his men get the strength they needed?

The answer is simple.
God gave it to them.
When God tells us to do something, He always gives us the strength to do it, and we need to obey.

David and his men could have argued with God.
They could have said, "God, we just came back from the war.
We are tired and hungry, and our hearts are broken because our dear loved ones had been kidnapped.
So, why not let us spend the night here, and get some rest
."
But they did not say that.

David commanded them to secure their weapons, and mount up on their horses,
and they went off to conquer the enemy.
God gave them the strength they needed, and God will give you the strength you need
in your hour of crisis.

It's wonderful how God has equipped the human body to experience a crisis.
When a crisis arises, our glands start pouring out extra energy into the bloodstream.
And, it is amazing what we can do when we really have to do it.

No man is so brave or so strong as the man who sees his loved ones in danger and goes to rescue them.
In a similar way, God has equipped us to have extra spiritual strength just when we need it.
The Christian who walks with God, and who prays and reads God's Word discovers unusual strength
from God when the crisis comes.
David depended on God's strength, not his own.
You and I can never make it through the crisis if we depend on our own strength and power.

But we have a wonderful promise in Isaiah 40:31 that is so practical:
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint
."

The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that we have a strength that is not ours.
Paul wrote, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
This is a second step in facing the crisis.
First, we surrender to God's will; then, we depend on God's strength, and the strength of God never fails.

Then, there is a third step.
David trusted God to do the rest.

How would David ever find where his enemies were hiding?
And if he did find them, suppose they were stronger than his army?
Was there are enough time left?
Perhaps, the enemy had already killed the wives and little children.

So many questions and thoughts went through David's mind, but then David turned it all over to God
and trusted Him to do the work.
And, God did work in a wonderful way for He led David and his army right to the enemy camp.
They caught the enemy by surprise, and recovered all of their wealth and their loved ones.
They also had the loot that the enemy left behind.
It was a great victory.
It was like all spiritual victories.
It was a victory of faith.
"And this is the victory that overcomes… even our faith."

Four times in the Bible we read: "The just shall live by faith."
We are saved by faith, but that's only the beginning; we are also supposed to live by faith.
When the hours of crisis come upon us, there are some things we can do,
but there are many things we cannot do.
And this is where faith comes in.
"Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." (Psalm 37: 5)

Like David, we must do what God tells us to do.
But also like David, we must trust God to do those things we cannot do for ourselves.
Faith is a practical thing; it controls the actions of our lives.
The way we believe, determines how we behave.

David set out in pursuit of the enemy, trusting that God would direct him and give him the victory;
and God honored his faith.
When the child of God is doing the will of God, he can expect the hand of God to work for him.

Right now, you may not see how your particular problem is going to be solved;
but God's sees how, and that's all that matters.
If you look at yourself, you'll get discouraged.
If you look at the circumstances around you, you will get discouraged.
But if, by faith, you look to Jesus Christ, then, like David, you will "encourage yourself in the Lord your God."

As you read His Word and rest on His promises, your faith will grow;
and God will lead you a step at a time out of your crises into His victory.
In these difficult days, learn the secret of encouraging yourself in the Lord your God.
Surrender to God's will, depend on God's strength, and rest on God's promises by faith.
As you do, your discouragement will eventually fade, and God will give you a wonderful victory.

Look To Jesus

"Are you looking at your sins and failures?
Look to Jesus.
Are you seeking to be saved by trying?
Look to Jesus.
One sight of Him is worth a thousand tears,
One word from Him will vanish all your fears,
One smile from Him, oh, how it helps and cheers,
Look away to Jesus.

Are you looking at your grief and sorrow?
Look to Jesus.
Are you anxious for the coming morrow?
Look to Jesus.
One sight of Him will melt your clouds away,
One word from him will turn your night to day,
One smile from him illumine all your way.
Look away to Jesus.

Are you looking at your heart for feeling?
Look to Jesus.
Are you looking for some sign of healing?
Look to Jesus.
Look out, not in, and stop your vain repining,
Look past the cloud and see the silver lining,
He is your Sun and He is ever shining,
Look away to Jesus.

Are you looking at the people around you?
Do the things that sometimes come astound you?
Look to Jesus.
Look unto Him, for none but He can guide,
Look unto Him, no matter what the betide,
Look away to Jesus
."

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace
."

Sermon adapted by Dr. Harold L. White