The Bible tells the story of Israel great king and psalmist David. He faced very difficult times in life. He lived during a very unsettled period of Israel’s history. He was suspected by the Philistines who were protecting him from Saul, plundered by the Amalekites who had taken his family captive, and threatened by his own soldiers. During this period of his life, all hope seemed lost. The Bible reveals that he was greatly distressed because the people were ready to stone him. Yet, “David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30.6). How was he able to do this?
Reduced to great weakness, he had cause for anxiety, fear, and unbelief. Yet three lifelines kept him from drowning in despair:
- The Character of God – David knew well that the LORD God is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. He knew that God forgives iniquity and by no means clears the guilty (see Exodus 34.6-7). Nothing is too hard for God to do or too great for God to give.
- The Closeness of God – David had already faced danger from a lion, a bear, a giant, and a murderous king. These experiences proved God to be close. David had no reason for fear. God raises the dead after all. “He delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1.10).
- The Covenant of God – God promised to David that he would assume the throne and become king over all Israel. He knew that to be king, he would have to continue to live. God never breaks a promise.
The God David served is the God we serve. We can know by experience that God is good. We also may claim the promise that the Lord Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. But we have greater reason for strength and encouragement than even David had. There are three perspectives of God that have greater clarity for us than they had for David:
- The Perspective of Power – we see more clearly the power of God because we see the impact that Jesus had through His earthly ministry.
- The Perspective of Love – we see more clearly the love of God because there is no greater love than the death of His Son for our sins.
- The Perspective of Faithfulness – we see more clearly the faithfulness of God because the promises made are fulfilled in Christ Jesus and attested to through the gift of the indwelling Spirit of God.
If David strengthen himself in the LORD his God in the face of difficulty in trial, how much more are we able to strengthen ourselves in Him! Is this great and powerful God your God? “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1.12). As a child, He will be a Father to you. “And you shall be [His] sons and daughters” (2 Corinthians 6.18).
Strengthen yourself in the LORD. Expect life to bring difficulty and trial. There is no reason or cause for strength in yourself, but in God you will find all you need and desire. Are you discouraged and disillusioned by what’s happening around you? Do you find the inward corruption and penchant to sin defeating? Hope in God! If you call on Him, He will answer you and give you strength!