“But David strengthened and encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
(1 Samuel 30:6)
David and his men had just received some devastating news. While they had been away from their city of Ziklag, the Amalekites had attacked and burned it with fire. The women and children had been taken captive, the city plundered. David’s two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail were among those taken captive.
David and his men “lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep” (verse 4). The men were so upset over losing their families, they spoke of stoning David to death. Can you imagine the anguish David must have felt?
David had a choice to make.
He could make a run for it and forget the calling on his life.
He could raise his fist to heaven and play the blame-game with God.
Or, he could remember the One in Whom he had believed.
David chose the latter.
David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord.
The Hebrew word used here for strengthen is chazaq (khaw-zak’) which means “to encourage, to fasten upon, to seize, be strong, courageous, fortify, to bind, cleave, fasten, take hold, cling to.”
Can you see the picture? David was actively engaged in holding fast to his faith – clinging to it, if you will.
When my daughter (now 21) was a toddler she did not want me out of her sight. When I took her to the church nursery, not only would she cry her heart out, but she would lay on the floor and CLING to my ankles so I couldn’t leave!! Chazaq! There was no way she was letting go of her momma!
I think this probably illustrates the emotions David was feeling…there was NO WAY he was going to let go of his faith in the One True God! So he encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord.
How do you suppose he did that?
I believe he remembered the power and providence of God in his life. He thought of all the times God had brought him deliverance, joy when faced with great sorrow, peace when his heart raced with fear. I also believe David praised the Lord. Although 1 Samuel 30 doesn’t say this, the pattern in David’s life does. Whenever he was overcome by circumstances he always gave praise to his God.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!”
“I will love You, O Lord, my strength.”
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust.”
As you read these declarations taken from the Psalms, did you feel your faith rising? I KNOW! Praise is a powerful tool when faced with adversity. It takes you straight to the throne of God. Speaking these words of affirmation causes our spirits to soar and leave the fear and disappointment behind.
Matthew Henry sums it up well, “When David was at his wit’s end, he was not at his faith’s end.”
Beloved, neither are you, for the Lord’s love for His children is from everlasting to everlasting. His mercy knows no end.
Father, We love You and we give You praise. Teach us to cling to You when we are overwhelmed, to remember Your goodness and faithfulness when we want to give up. You, Father, are amazing. We offer You a sacrifice of praise.