And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (1 Sam 30:6)
One of the most fascinating and admirable characters in the Old Testament was King David. David was far from perfect and yet he was beloved of God and dear to the hearts of his people.
David was anointed king while still a boy, but it was a long time before he actually became king. First, he distinguished himself as a valiant warrior. This brought him favor with the people and with the king initially. But King Saul’s admiration for David quickly turned to envy when the people praised David more than himself.
Soon David found himself an outlaw, being persecuted by the king and often betrayed by his own people. Saul would have killed him if he’d had the chance.
That was bad enough, but one day while David and his men were away from the town where he lived (Philistine territory), the Amalekites came, raided the town and captured their wives and children together with all the valuable goods of the city. David’s two wives were taken, and the 600 men with David threatened to kill him because of the tragedy. This was very distressing to David. It seemed his troubles were insurmountable. However, David had a way of dealing with such reverses that you and I can also use.
The record says “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam 30:6). David communicated with God. He carried his burdens to the Lord and asked for help. This is the very best thing to do in such a situation, but it is sometimes very hard to do. David might have become resentful and blamed the Lord for not taking better care of him. He might have reasoned that, if God were even looking, He didn’t care. However, David’s attitude toward God was right and his means of dealing with a crisis worked very well. He strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
There is another source of strength when troubles come. Earlier in David’s career, he had saved the city of Keilah from the Philistines. David thought, surely the people of Keilah would have enough gratitude to protect him from his enemy. King Saul had sent out soldiers to capture him. Inquiring of the Lord, David learned that the citizens of Keilah would not protect him and his men but would hand him over to the king. So, David had to flee into the wilderness (see 1 Samuel 23).
It must have been like a cool drink of water on a hot, dry day when David’s friend Jonathan caught up with him at Horesh! Jonathan “strengthened his hand in God” (1 Sam 23:16). He shared David’s faith in God. He troubled himself to go through that hot, barren desert to encourage and support his friend. What a privilege to have such a friend as Jonathan!
Most of us have received such encouragement from some thoughtful brother or sister in Christ. How very much we appreciate that! Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing for all of us to go and do likewise?
Northpark church of Christ bulletin
September 12, 1984