1 Samuel 30:6 “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.”
There are few Bible characters more accessible and more well-known than David.
Many characteristics make him a great study as a leader, and as a Christian. David was known as a man after God’s own heart.
Acts 13:22 “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”
He was a man of integrity. There were many opportunities as he ran from Saul, that he could have taken Saul’s life, but did not. He lived by principle. He executed judgment according to what God set forth. Even when he desired to follow his passion, he inquired of the Lord.
Psalm 139:19-22 “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
Though he believed he hated whom God hated, he still checked his thought patterns with God as to whether or not they were right.
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
As I read the passage in 1 Samuel today, there is a little known character trait that David displays during a time when most would give in and commiserate his situation and circumstance.
Here, he finds himself leading men who now, are experiencing loss and grief and projecting the blame onto David. They have traveled with him for many miles; fought many battles, and know well of his character and yet, blame him for the calamity befallen them. Then we see this little nugget of David’s character rise to the surface.
“…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
The art and ability to encourage one’s self is what makes or breaks those who lead. Situation and circumstance come into everyone’s life. How we handle it displays our maturity or the lack thereof. Everyone, in their lifetime, will be dealt a blow that seemingly sucks the wind right out of us.
What we do in those following moments are critical to those of us who lead others.
What did David do? How did he ‘encourage’ himself?
First of all, I believe he reminded himself that God is still in control. Believing in the sovereignty of Almighty God fixes our faith solidly to know that whatever happens, does not occur without the knowledge and approval of God.
Secondly, he reminded himself of past victories. When facing the giant, Goliath, David told those doubters around him how God had delivered him from a bear and a lion, and God would provide him in battle with this Philistine.
Thirdly, he inquired of God as to the path and direction he should go. Often, when extreme situations and circumstances come into our lives, our emotions run high. Our passions rise to meet the challenge. As we read previously, David believed he had ‘perfect hatred’ for his enemies – yet, he checked with God before he ever acted on them.
It was as if David sat himself down in a chair and began to preach to himself. He told himself the hard things; the things we don’t dare say out loud, or those things we need a trusted individual to say to us.
At times, the burden can be unbearable.
Sometimes I make sinful choices.
Others around me can become irrational and sometimes, they fail me.
And then there are times when help is unavailable.
We phone a close friend, and it goes to voicemail. We call the Preacher and leave a message, and the call isn’t returned. We seek out all the remedies we can conjure, and nothing seems to help.
We feel alone and as if no one cares. It is then, we need to take those steps to remember who God is and who we are to Him. We need to think on those times when God came through for us. And, lastly, we need to revive our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Not necessarily because we’ve strayed – but because being close to Him brings peace, comfort, focus, a beautiful calm and confidence needed to go on.
No child of God should ever ‘lose it.’ In those situations, the thing we should never lose is our connection with our Heavenly Father. He has made every provision for every situation and circumstance – yes, even the impossible ones as well.
Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
And when God says “all”, He means “all”!
Practice will not make us perfect. But what practice will do, is make permanent that which we practice. Doing those things we know that bring us back from extreme circumstances should be in our repertoire. It should be what we rehearse when people fail us; when we fail others or ourselves; when sorrow or death come in like a flood, or when the burden seems unbearable.
All of my sins; past, present, and future, are forgiven – under the blood of Jesus Christ; never to remembered by my Father. I cannot let the devil bring back into view that which my God chooses to remove from Himself.
Satan has many ways to try to derail us from finding our way back from trouble. But, when we practice the presence of God, I make permanent that path to where I know I am loved, secure, and accepted!