Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Strengthened By The Lord

1 SAMUEL 30:1–6 – Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 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.

THEME OF THE DAY. STRENGTHENED BY THE LORD. David was in a tough place. Very tough. It’s challenging enough be a leader, but when circumstances surrounding a leader include deep personal hurt and loss, the task can be overwhelming. If I may, allow me to put in a word on behalf of all pastors. It is tough being one. We can never have a “bad day” when it comes to seeking to be encouragers and models for God’s people. But one thing I would like for everyone to remember is that pastors are people too, and sinners too, and have the same temptations other people do, and suffer personal hurt and pain like others do, and then there is the daily burden of caring for God’s people. Now let me qualify all that I said about pastors. This isn’t a defensive posture or a complaint because I am pastor. It is more an encouragement to remember we are no different than you when it comes to slugging out the Christian life and feeling all the pressures of living in a fallen world. However, we must shoulder the burdens of others as well as our own. Just like David is experiencing in today’s scripture. And it was a heavy one.

Enter the scene. David and his men come upon the city where their families lived. Imagine walking over the horizon, dreaming of seeing your wife and kids, but observing a dark cloud rising from the city. It’s smoke. Upon a closer view, you see ruins, devastation, and an empty city. No welcoming party, just desolation. And this brave army of men under the brave leadership of David broke down. The scriptures read, “Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.” Right reaction for sure. Their families have been kidnapped, their homes burnt, and the subsequent pain of both emotionally drained and paralyzed them. Except the men had strength for one thing – attack their leader. Again we read, “for the people spoke of stoning David, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters.”

During deep emotional pain and loss, sometimes people lash out from that position of pain and loss. It doesn’t happen to just leaders or pastors, but to all of us. We each know times of being on the receiving end of someone’s emotional hurt that may include shifting blame to us as the cause. And it can be intense and hard to swallow. It appears that was David’s position. What does he do? He doesn’t respond back in kind to his men. Instead, he runs to the only source of strength and help during difficult times of receiving harsh words and actions from people. He strengthens himself in the Lord.

Friends, human relationships are messy. Always and that because all human relationships consist of two sinners who hurt each other and sin against each other. Oh, human relationships are also wonderful, but they are not perfect. And if we are going to practice a love that “bears all things, endures all things”, we need to be strengthened in and by the Lord. David is a good model to follow when in heated situations with people. Go to the Lord and receive from what only He can give to ensure we don’t “flame up” already heated situations of raw emotions.

PRAYER: “Lord, when I am down and feel all alone, teach me to draw near to You as my all in all.”

QUOTE: “Jesus will never fail to lift up His downcast sheep, but they must come to Him when downcast.”