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REFLECTION: The Source of Encouragement

David discovered it – 1 Samuel 30:6…..

 

 

 

For his own safety David had fled from his homeland with 600 of his loyal followers. King Saul, his implacable enemy, posed an ongoing threat. David felt that eventually his life would meet an untimely end. It seemed better to be living outside of Israel among Israel’s ancient enemies, the Philistines (1 Sam.27:1,2).

 

 

 

All seemed well for a time. Achish, king of Gath, fell for David’s ruse and was convinced that David had become obnoxious to his own people (1 Sam.27:12). But circumstances began to change. When Achish led the Philistines out to battle against the Israelites, some of the Philistine princes began to question David’s integrity. Although Achish was convinced that David was reliable, others raised the possibility that in battle against Israel he might change sides and forsake the Philistines. The only option for David was to leave the Philistine army and return to his new home in Ziklag in the land of the Philistines (1 Sam.29:3,4,11).

 

When David reached Ziklag, a fresh problem faced him. In his absence from there the Amalekites had invaded the land and had set Ziklag ablaze. The wives of David and his men, as well as their family members, had been captured and had gone (1 Sam.30:1-3). It was a bitter disappointment! David and the men with him felt utterly drained. They wept until they could weep no more (1 Sam.30:4). As if all of that was not enough, some of the men who had served David faithfully began to blame him for the misfortune and suggested stoning him (1 Sam.30:6). There was a real crisis on hand.

 

What could David do? He had lost his home in Israel, and now he had also lost his exiled family members. His place among the Philistines no longer seemed as desirable as previously. The men he had trusted implicitly were turning against him. He must have felt very isolated. What could he do? To whom could he turn? The answer given is significant: “But David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Sam.30:6). He could turn to no other at such a desperate time of need.

 

 

FOR US

The experiences of men and women in Bible times have been recorded for our benefit, and we are intended to learn from David. There may be times in our lives when everything seems to be against us. Personal problems or family difficulties can overwhelm us. Our health may be causing concern, or there could be matters perplexing us in the workplace. On a wider scale, political and moral turmoil prevail around us. Biblical values have all but disappeared, while secular humanism has taken over. Practices which are abhorrent to a holy God and to His believing people have become established in the land, and our acceptance of such things is demanded. Many professing Christians have “gone with the flow” and are comfortably settled in fashionable worldly churches which are run as secular businesses and where success stories abound. A new form of Christianity has sprung up with its own agenda. Yet God seems strangely absent from the stage, the flashing lights, the convincing leaders, and the bands. What can we do?

 

In such circumstances we must be like David. It is time for us to turn away from all that disappoints and to encourage ourselves in the Lord, as David did. When all else fails, He does not. He is no disappointment to those who put their trust in Him. The Lord over-ruled in David’s circumstances, for the hostages were found. Within a short time too David had been established as king in Israel. Although other trials were encountered, the Lord was with him. If we feel bereft and in despair, let us draw near to the Lord and find our encouragement in Him too.

 

O LORD, Thou never-changing One,

Our hearts delight to think of Thee;

Thy love, eternally the same,

Our theme of endless praise shall be.

From every earthly reed we turn,

Leaning on Thee to find our rest;

And in the knowledge of Thy love

Are fully and for ever blest.

 

G. de Mattos