“David was greatly distressed.” — 1 Samuel 30:6a

David’s city of Ziklag was in ruins after the Amalekites had raided, attacked and burned it down. The women and children, young and old, of David and his fellow men had been taken captive (1 Samuel 30:2). All were wrought with profound grief and David heard his fellow men contemplate stoning him.

“…for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters.”

David was confronted with heart rendering circumstances that would reflect, if not rival, what many endure today. Yet,

“…David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” — 1 Samuel 30:6b

“We ought to be deeply grateful to God for the inspired history of the life of His servant, David. It was a great life, a vigorous life, a life spent in many positions and conditions. I almost rejoice that it was not a faultless life, for its failings and errors are instructive. It is the life of a man after God’s own heart but still, the life of one who went astray, like a lost sheep and was recovered by the great Shepherd’s divine grace. By this fact he comes all the nearer to us poor, faulty men and women.”

Charles Spurgeon

He strengthened himself. Other versions use the word, ‘encouraged’. In Hebrew the word is ‘châzaq’ and it means to ‘to fasten upon; to bind bonds strongly’. Biblical strength builds.

“David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. His men fretted at their loss, the soul of the people was bitter; their own discontent and impatience added to the affliction and misery. But David bore it better, though he had more reason than any of them to lament it. They gave liberty to their passions, but he set his graces to work; and while they dispirited each other, he, by encouraging himself in God, kept his spirit calm. Those who have taken the Lord for their God, may take encouragement from him in the worst times.” Matthew Henry, commentary on 1 Samuel 30:6

David didn’t strengthen himself in his own power, but rather, in the Lord his God.

“I must and will pray. What else can I do? What better can I do? Betrayed, forsaken, grieved, baffled, Lord, I will call upon You. I encourage my heart in the Lord, who will bear me through this trial as He has borne me through so many others. The Lord alone shall save me. I desire no other helper. I will cry to Him evening, morning, and noon, and I will cry to no one else, for He is all-sufficient. How He will save me I cannot guess, but He will do it. He will do it in the best and surest way. Out of this trouble and all future troubles, the great I AM will bring me as surely as He lives. This shall be my song all through today. Is it not as a ripe apple from the tree of life? I will feed upon it. How sweet it is to my taste!” — C.H. Spurgeon

We may draw a measure of encouragement from one another and we are exhorted in Scripture to do so, yet, the Lord bids us time and again to come to Him.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” — Romans 15:4

His Word does not change, His promises do not change, and He does not change. Though all else may crush our strength, He is faithful.

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…” — Hebrews 6:19-20

What our Lord did for David, He will do for you.

“I pray you, dear friends, if you are, at this time, very low and greatly distressed, encourage yourselves in the abundant faithfulness of the God who hides Himself! Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of His grace! Love letters from Heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy! We may not ask for trouble, but if we were wise we would look upon it as the shadow of an unusually great blessing! Dread the calm—it is often treacherous—and beneath its wings the pestilence is lurking. Fear not the storm—it brings healing in its wings and when Jesus is with you in the vessel—the tempest only hastens the ship to its desired haven. Blessed be the Lord, whose way is in the whirlwind and who makes the clouds to be the dust of His feet. May some such thoughts as these help you to encourage yourself in God as David did.”

Charles Spurgeon

For further study and consideration:

  • Psalm 73:26
  • Proverbs 18:10
  • Isaiah 40:31
  • Ephesians 3:16-19
  • Ephesians 6:10-18

“Finally, my brethren…. This is the conclusion of the apostle’s exhortations, in which he addresses the saints as his brethren; which appellation he uses, not merely as a familiar way of speaking among the Jews, but in regard to them as regenerate persons, and of the same family and household of God with himself; and he calls them so, to show his humility, and as a proof of his affection to them, and with a design to encourage them to their duty, as follows:

be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; which is directed to, partly on account of the things before exhorted to, which could not be performed in their own strength; and partly with respect to their many and potent enemies hereafter mentioned, against whom they had no might nor power of their own; and therefore the apostle points out the Lord Jesus Christ unto them, in whom are strength, power, and might, even everlasting strength, to enable them to perform their duty, and to fight against every enemy, sin, Satan, and the world; for though they are weak, and strength in themselves, and can do nothing of themselves, and without Christ; yet since there is strength in him, which is communicable to them, they may expect it from him, and depend upon it; and they may come at, or strengthen themselves in it, and by it, by meditation on it, by prayer for it, by waiting on Christ in his own ways, by exercising faith upon him, and through the Spirit, who strengthens them from him with might in the inward man.” — John Gill, commentary on Ephesians 6:10.