Thursday, March 23, 2017

Encouragement in The Lord


“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 himself in the Lord his God.” I Samuel 30:6

Dear Congregation,
            The above verse describes the situation after which the Amalekites destroy Ziklag and take all the women captive including David’s wives. We can imagine that the situation is by nature a hard blow to David and that he feels somewhat responsible for not being able to do more to help in the situation. However, the situation is made even more oppressive in that the population also blames David and wants to stone him. Here we see a circumstance that demonstrates why David was a man after God’s own heart. Much is said of David’s weakness and sin but this highlights his God given strength and devotion.
            Many who are faced with difficulty from within and from without, retreat from it. When circumstances are outside our control, the temptation is to block out reality in some way either by distraction, or substance, or escape. Inward blame or outward blame handicap us to real help and growth. Some become severely depressed, some cannot live with the pressures put upon them. The Christian who is rooted in genuine faith and in knowledge of the Word of God knows that there is a power that is above and beyond all difficulty. Though all the world be against him or her, there remains the fact that God will never leave or forsake. David strengthened himself in the Lord His God. That was the cure, that was the safety, and that was the absolute sure way to cope. Our problems are small when compared to the power and greatness of God. David seeks the means of Grace and worships. He prays, he remembers God’s words, and he communes with his heavenly father. How many of our difficulties and stresses would be so much lighter if we let go of our ownership of them and gave them over to God.
            In like manner the people of Ziklag show us another side of grief to avoid. They are looking to blame someone for the catastrophe and their blame falls upon David. The Amalekites have gone and cannot be punished. Someone should pay, why not David? Such is the habit of people who do not bring their grief to the Lord. God gave, God took away, blessed be His name. Who have we to blame? Who else can provide any answer or comfort but the controller of all circumstances? We hate to be reminded that life is not about us and rather than strengthening ourselves in God we turn to bitterness and vengeance where that accomplishes nothing.
            May we always be like David in this circumstance, may we turn to the Lord and strengthen ourselves in him through worship, prayer, and Scripture. David does this when faced with the death of his son as well. Despite his faults, his ultimate priorities were often in the right place. We are not our own and we are here to glorify God and enjoy Him. Rather than retreat, mope, rage, or fear may we turn to our best friend and only advocate and strengthen ourselves in Him. His ways our not our ways, but we know that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
In Christ,
Pastor Basile