My brothers & sisters, there are times in our lives when the circumstances in which we find ourselves will not produce any joy or happiness. There are times when we find ourselves in dark places. We look around, and the situation looks hopeless. What should we do? To whom do we go? Where shall we go to get the help we so desperately need? We can’t help being discouraged? We feel like giving up? We reach the point where we might even say, “That’s it, I’ve had it – I can’t carry on any more!
If that is where you find yourself this morning – if you are in the toughest time you have ever experienced. If the challenges you facing are so huge, and the trials enormous, then God has a word for you. Please turn to:
Scripture: 1 Samuel 30:1-25 Text v.6…. reads
And David was greatly distressed;… but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
The Hebrew word for distressed means that he felt cramped – in dire straits – between the devil & the deep blue sea. BUT, in his distress – in this cramped space of soul, he took a definite decision, i.e. to encourage himself in the Lord His God!
Title: In the form of a question. When things get tough where do you go – who do you look to?
I agree with the late Dr Vernon McGee that I Samuel 30:6 ‘This is one of the most wonderful statements ever made’.
It appears this one time in scripture, & it is one of the most telling, & heartening verses to anyone in a tight corner.
1 Sam 30:6 and the verses that follow not only shows us how to deal with life’s tough stuff, but it also gives the believer a much needed insight into how to utilize our faith in God when it is needed the most!
In Proverbs 23:7 we read For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he. This is so very true in the context of God’s message to us this morning. Because, when we face the trials & testings of life, we either flee from God (we consult Him last, or maybe never), or the Lord is our very 1st port of call.
This portion of the Word of God wants to teach us why the latter is always the better option – the most beneficial and the ONLY one guaranteed to succeed.
Notice when David was in a bad place, up to then, & among these men, probably the worse place he had ever been – they blamed him for the dilemma (even though he too had suffered the same fate as they), he didn’t defend himself. He didn’t justify the fact that he had made a serious blunder by not leaving their camp protected.
He didn’t apologise, or beg for their mercy, or plead for understanding, he did what any leader, or for that matter any person who knows & has a relationship with the living God does.
In his plight – in His heartache and pain, the Bible tells us;
1. that David followed the right course!
In 1 Peter 4:12, the apostle Peter writing to the believers commanded them, Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; the sense is that the tests and the trials are par for the course. We mustn’t think it’s a novel thing & be surprised when we are called by God to go through one or other difficulty. It will happen. We read of this certainty in James 1 (& other places).
My dear brothers & sisters, the thing I often struggle with is that when the hassles come – God knows they come more than I’d like them to, I invariably look for help in the wrong place.
David teaches us that we should follow his example, & go to God.
When he was ‘greatly distressed’. Literally, when he was in a tight place (the Heb word is şar), & it is the same word used when Saul was also in a tight place and he consulted the witch of Endor and called up Samuel, & the deceased prophet told the renegade king that he was ‘greatly distressed’, with him.
Both these men were in the same place – in deep leadership crisis – both were deeply at risk and the Bible tells us of the response of both. Saul sought refuge in a medium, because he had nowhere else to go – he had no other resource.
While David’s response is the complete opposite – read v.6…
Scripture portrays David as a powerful mix of health & faith.
Walter Brueggemann puts it like this. He is unambiguous about the source of his strength & need take recourse in no secondary religious pursuit. David is indeed Yahweh’s man!
The psalmist wrote when things go wrong I will lift up my eyes to the hills – That’s what I’ll do. He goes on next to ask himself that famous rhetorical question, From whence comes my help? His answer to himself [because] My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
When we have to go, we absolutely MUST know WHO to go to! WE need to follow David’s example & follow the right – the only course for the Lord’s people, we must seek our refuge with & in God. Amen?
David followed the right course, and
2. David consulted the right person!
We read in vv. 7 & 8, Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, "Please bring the ephod here to me." And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?" And He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all."
We learn something priceless from David. Something that still works today. In the words of Psalm 91:15, the Lord’s promise is, He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
You see David was made it a habit of asking God for guidance.. It was part & parcel of David’s life to check in with God first – at least at this point in his life.
I’ll tell you what makes me so sure of myself. From the time Samuel anointed this youngest of Jesse’s sons, to the time he fought Goliath, to the time he was driven into the desert by Saul’s madness, David’s pressured circumstances had schooled him, In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me (Psa 86:7).
I don’t know about you but I want a relationship with God like David had. He brought his problems to the Lord & he got guidance in what to do - AND a guarantee of success.
Corrie Ten Boom got it right when she said, If all things are possible with God, then all things are possible to him who believes in him.
David knew that if he asked God what to do, God would tell him!
Jack Hayford says, When I was nine years old, our family lived where my dad was pastoring a small church in Akron, Ohio. I remember that time most, because that’s when and where I experienced saving faith in Jesus Christ.
We were coming home from attending a meeting at another church. As we drove, I remember sitting in the front seat between Mom and Dad, and asking them the question, “Would you pray with me tonight to receive the Lord Jesus?”
They weren’t expecting the question—not right then. I remember being surprised at how long it took Dad to respond. Finally, I heard him reply that they would pray with me just before going to bed. I vaguely remember brushing my teeth and putting my pajamas on as quickly as possible. But what I remember with absolute clarity is kneeling beside the bunk beds my younger brother Jim and I slept in. For some reason, I remember Jim peering down from the top bunk, probably wanting to see if something special would happen to his brother!
Mom sat on the bed and Dad knelt beside me, and putting his arm around me, Dad led me in a simple prayer as I asked Jesus to become my Savior and the Lord of my life.
I don’t remember feeling a thing, but the moment is forever etched in my memory banks. Later, I would be glad that there was no rush of emotions. I don’t remember anything of fear or guilt, no thoughts of heaven or hell. I honestly can’t even remember what might have been said at the church service that would have prompted my request. But somehow, I realized it was time (I knew that I should!), and that it was possible for me to do so (I knew I could!).
That’s what saving faith is. It’s the moment someone knows they ought to receive Jesus, and that they can believe and receive Jesus.
One’s faith in God is a dynamic thing, it’s always growing as one’s relationship with God grows & intensifies.
I must have spent at least half an hour searching for a simple, understandable definition for believing. I came across something DL Moody once said, Real true faith is man's weakness leaning on God's strength.
If you’ve come into this building today feeling that you no more strength – as al jou kragte verdwyn het. Dis nou die tyd om jou geloof as’tware aan te skakel, en in jou swakheid krag by God te vind!
In the midst of a very tense situation David in his weakness sought God’s strength & God came through for David just like He has come through for you and me in the past & will come through for us in the future.
Remember these words of the Lord Jesus found in Matthew 21:22? "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
In Acts 13:22 we find one those rare statements of God about a man, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'
Unlike Saul who got to a place in his life where he did His own thing & followed his own sinful, disobedient & rebellious heart, David was one of the great petitioners of scripture. Someone who God was pleased to answer because his heart was inclined to God’s will.
Can God say that about us this morning, that we are people after His own heart who will do His will all the time?
We need to be those people folks!
Finally, & in closing: God was true to His Word!
We read in vv.18 & 19 - So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. 19 And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all.
Once the Lord had told David it was okay to pursue the Amalekites, & that everything that had been taken by them would be recovered – not a single person, animal or possession would be lost, David set out with confidence & determination.
When the British pop singer Cliff Richard became a Xtn, he confessed, The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find he is.
May God help us, you & me to be the people we ought to be; the people can be, and the people we must be for His glory.
Amen. Let us pray.
Sermon text with italics and bold and John 3:16 and v. 20.
Text with an outline.
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