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

This verse has always meant so much to me.  And for some reason, the beginning word signifies a need to command my attention, and I am immediately drawn to what follows the one word “But.”  It almost seems as if there is a trumpet blast, and I must take full notice of each word after the first one.  Yes, these words, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God,” are of monumental importance, for they have become a shining light to me and many others, I’m sure, in understanding one of the reasons why David was a man after God’s own heart.

You see, knowing that Samuel had anointed David to be king years before, we often think that David was a blessed man just because of that, or because David’s faith pleased God, whether he was going through good times or bad times. Still as we go back and read the Word’s account of David’s walk through much pain and adversity at that time, he suffered one blow after another.  One of the crowning blows during this part of his life was Saul’s hunting him down to take his life, and David grieved as he loved and had loved this man so much.  And that was just part of his suffering.  Then another seemingly more tragic situation engulfed him when he and his men were returning to Ziklag, and they found that their wives, families, and possessions had all been taken away by the Amalekites and the small city had been burned to the ground.  The Word says, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.  But David strengthened {encouraged} himself in the Lord his God.”
J. Sidlow Baxter in one of his writings says that this horrible circumstance ended up being a wonderful turning point in David’s life.  The wives, children, and goods were recovered.  And Saul had been slain.  At the appointed time by the Lord, then, David became King of Judah.  The writer also points out that in David’s afflictions he had only two alternatives.  He could give up his faith in God, or he could give up himself TO God, trusting Him for the outcome.  David chose the latter.
When pain or discomfort comes upon us at times, and it happens to all of us, I hope we will remember that David was so wise to encourage himself in the Lord.  You and I can do that too.  We can purposefully remind ourselves of all the good things that the Lord has done for us time after time after time.  Like David, we will find that these trials that could break us will actually shape us and “make us” if we will trust His goodness and faithfulness to lead us.  We will, without question, be encouraged and strengthened by the outcome.

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