FINDING OUR COURAGE & STRENGTH IN GOD

All of us, at one time or another, get bad news. Bad things happen. Troubles and trials come our way. We suffer setbacks and defeat. The doctor’s news is not always a good one. And our worst fears sometimes come to pass.

When bad news comes, we have a choice as to how we’re going to respond. We can get mad at God and turn away from Him, which is what Satan wants us to do. Or we can let our troubles and tears drive us to God and draw us closer to Him. Friends, don’t give up on God and turn away from Him when bad news comes.

I’d like to tell you a story that actually happened. King Saul and his army are canvassing the country, looking for David. The King’s bent on killing him. So David’s a fugitive. He’s on the run. He’s got six hundred men with him. And he’s tired of running. So he decides to leave Israel and get King Saul off his tail and trail. He goes to Philistia with his army and they take their families along. David befriends one of the Philistine Kings by the name of Achish. And, in an unprecedented act of kindness, King Achish gives David and his men one of his cities to live in. So David and his army live in exile in the city of Ziklag.

Well, there came a time when the Philistines decided to go to war against Israel. King Achish loves and trusts David so much that he takes his Philistine army, along with David and his men, and they go to the main encampment where the other Philistine kings and their armies were camped.

When the other kings saw these Israelite fighters they immediately objected and told King Achish to send them back home. They were afraid that David would turn against them in battle and help King Saul and the Israelites defeat them. Well, King Achish didn’t believe that would happen. But he nevertheless gave in to his royal compatriots and sent David and his men back home to Ziklag.

On the third day, as they neared Ziklag, smoke and fire appeared on the horizon. “O, God! Not Ziklag! Tell me that Ziklag hasn’t been invaded and destroyed. Tell me that my family’s alright.” They picked up the pace and ran. And as they entered the city, their worst fears were realized. 1 Samuel 30:3, So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.

While they were away, the city had been invaded, plundered,  and set ablaze. All the animals were gone. No bodies were found. All the women and children were taken captive. At the sight, and in unison, David and his men wept. And wept. And wept. Until there was no more strength to weep. I Samuel 30:4, Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

You know, it’s alright to cry and mourn for your loss. We’re all human. God doesn’t hold it against us when we suffer pain or loss—especially when the pain’s insufferable and the loss unbearable. Don’t forget that God Himself suffered pain and loss for a short time when His Son was humiliated, tortured, crucified, and killed. So He knows what we’re going through. He knows what it’s like. That’s why He’s promised that those of us who mourn will be blest with His comfort. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

Crying and feeling sorry for your loss or troubles isn’t wrong. It’s what you’re going to do after you cry that counts. 1 Samuel 30:6, And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters.

With David’s warriors, weeping turned to anger and the blame game started. In hushed tones, the men blamed David for this catastrophe. “Whatever possessed him to leave Ziklag anyway? Did he seriously think the Philistines would let us help them fight against our fellow countrymen? Some of us tried to stop him. But, nooo. He insisted on going with the Philistines to war. You know, I doubt that he even prayed about this. We should have never left Ziklag. We should have been here to defend the city and protect our wives and children. Now look. Look at what’s happened. Look at everything we’ve lost. David’s to blame. Hey, guys, let’s stone him!”

David was human just like any one of us. He could have gotten mad at God. But what good does that do? He could have asked God why? But he doesn’t. David’s a warrior. It’s a time of war. And bad things happen in war. You get attacked. You get hurt. Maybe even killed. The enemy isn’t nice. He hates you. He’s doing everything he can to destroy you. He’s trying to take everything away from you—especially your health, your joy, and your faith—so  that you’ll be demoralized and lose any interest in fighting him. Troubles are a reminder that the Devil’s still alive. He’s still our enemy. He still hates us. And he’s still doing everything he can to kill us, rob us, demoralize us.

I Samuel 30:6b, But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. David’s suffered his loss. He’s cried his tears. But instead of the bad news driving him away from God, his troubles drive him, they draw him, to God.  The invasion and destruction of Ziklag have reminded him that it’s a time of war and the enemy’s bent on our destruction and defeat. But, for David, THE TROUBLES AND BAD NEWS OF LIFE ARE ALSO A REMINDER THAT GOD, TOO, IS STILL ALIVE. GOD, TOO, IS STILL AT WORK. AND ONE THING’S FOR SURE: HE ISN’T GOING TO LEAVE OR FORSAKE US IN OUR DARKEST NIGHT. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

David goes to his God and it’s in God’s presence where his spirit is revived. He receives comfort and encouragement from his God. Literally, in the Hebrew, he gets his strength back. Weakened by his loss, he finds strength in his God.

Brethren, the Devil wants you to be all wrapped up in your troubles because he wants you to stay sorrowful. He’s hoping that if you stay focused on your troubles long enough you’ll lose faith and hope. You’ll be demoralized so that you can’t fight him, chase him, and recover everything he’s taken from you. He’s hoping you’ll remain in the dumps and be depressed because he knows that the joy of the Lord is your strength, Nehemiah 8:10.

The apostle Paul prays in Romans 15:13 that the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Devil knows that if you go to God, God’s going to meet with you and give you His comfort, His peace, His strength. He’ll give you your hope back, revive your weakened faith, and cause you to be revived and encouraged so that you get off your knees, go after the Devil, and get everything back that he’s taken from you. The Devil doesn’t want you to go in your prayer closet and meet with the Lord. He knows what will happen to you if you meet up with God. And he’s going to do everything he can to make sure that you don’t feel like praying. Don’t feel like fighting.

So are you going to give in? Give up? Wave the white flag of surrender? Throw in the towel? Call it quits? Are you going to lay down and let the Devil have his way with you?

David doesn’t know what to do next. But he doesn’t sit on his duff and throw in the towel. In his younger days when he was a shepherd boy, he wasn’t content to let the lion and bear run off with one of his lambs. He went after the critter and rescued his lamb. David and his men have lost their wives, their children, their flocks, their possessions. Should David go after the lion and bear one more time and rescue what he’s lost? He doesn’t know.

But he makes an attempt to find out. I Samuel 30:7, And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. He calls for the priest to appear before him with the ephod. Now if you read the chronicle of David’s life in the Books of Samuel you’ll see that David hadn’t done a whole of praying lately. He hadn’t prayed about leaving Israel. He hadn’t prayed about going to Philistia. He hadn’t prayed about joining the Philistines in their war against Israel. He hadn’t prayed about leaving Ziklag. He hadn’t prayed a whole lot. Do you wonder why God sometimes allows troubles to come our way? GOD SOMETIMES USES TROUBLE TO DRAW US BACK TO HIMSELF. TO GET US PRAYING AGAIN. TO GET GOD BACK INTO OUR LIVES AGAIN.

David calls for the ephod. Now the ephod was part of the High Priestly garment. It was a multicolored, elaborately woven linen cloth and over this cloth was the breastplate with twelve precious stones, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Behind the breastplate were the Urim and Thummim. No one knows exactly what the Urim and Thummim looked like or what they were made of because they are not described in Scripture. Anyways, the Urim and Thummim gave guidance. It was one of the ways God spoke to the Israelites. The High Priest was trained from his predecessors how to use the Urim and Thummim and how to interpret what God’s answer was.

I Samuel 30:7b-8, And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. {8} And David enquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

When the Priest shows up with the ephod, David asks God what he should do. Do you want to know what you should do? Maybe you know what you want to do. But do you know what God wants you to do? God promises in James 1:5 that if you need wisdom and ask Him for it, God will tell you what He wants you to know. And that’s exactly what He did for David. God told him to pursue the enemy. And He promised that if David did this, he would recover everything that was lost in the invasion.

To make a long story short, David obeyed God. He followed the Amalekites’ trail, caught up with them, and spent an entire day decimating the Amalekite army. 1 Samuel 30:18-19,  And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.  (19)  And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.

What began as a tragedy became a triumph. Mourning was turned to mirth. BAD NEWS WASN’T THE END, BUT MERELY THE PRELUDE TO GOOD NEWS. All because David didn’t sit in the dumps and despair about what he’d been dealt or given. He could have chosen to let his men stone him and die. A lot of times, it’s a whole lot easier to just throw in the towel and die. But David was a fighter. Just like we all are fighters in this spiritual war that we’re in. Fighters fight. But before the fight, comes prayer. David was grieved and weakened. He was in no position to fight. He went to God in prayer when he got his bad news. And God met him, gave him comfort, courage, and strength. And God gave him a promise of what the future would be if he did what God was telling him to do.

Brethren, when bad news comes, don’t let your bad news end with bad news. Go to God in prayer. You’ll find the comfort, courage, and strength you need. Let God speak to you. Let His words fill you with hope, peace, and rejoicing. May your bad news end with good news from the Lord! That’s my prayer for you. May God bless you.

2 Comments

  1. Nancy Ludden said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    The devil’s trying to take everything away from you—especially your health, your joy, and your faith—so that you’ll be demoralized and lose any interest in fighting him

    David got his strength back. Weakened by his loss, he found strength in his God.

    Fighters fight back

    I liked the above statements, Gaylord.

    How did you know that I was going through such a circumstance as early as a few days again. My battle has to do with loss of relationship, lonliness, and being left out of the group – or inner circle of activity. So I have been encouraging myself with Paul’s statement in II Tim 4 . . . . when all men forsook him and he found his strength in the Lord.

    Yes, God has miraculously taken away my loss. It is not that I “can’t feel”, but the loss does not hurt beyond measure! : ))

    Thanks for posting.

    • gaylorddiaz said,

      February 1, 2011 at 4:05 PM

      I’m glad the post was able to help you. Hurts in a relationship, I think, hurt the most. So I’m sorry for your pain, but I know God has a reason and He’s in control. As I’m so fond of saying, God isn’t done yet. I especially like what the Lord specifically said to me, Bad news is the prelude to good news. I believe it. I hope yours will turn to good news. Romans 8:28 would ditto and amen my prayer for you. May God continue to comfort you with His love, acceptance, and peace.


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