"DAVID ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD"
Intro. It was a very discouraging day for David, for when he returned from the battlefield with his men, they discovered that in their absence the city had been sacked by a group of terrorists, their families were missing, and the city had been looted and burned. The men in some sort of convoluted way held David responsible for what had happened, and were suggesting that they should stone him.
I. WE READ THAT DAVID WAS GREATLY DISTRESSED.
A. The distress that David felt was an emotion that was created by a combination of shock and anger.
1. Probably something very akin to the emotions that we felt on September 11th, when we watched in horror as the planes were deliberately were flown into the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon.
a. My first reaction was that of unbelievable shock. It was surrealistic, you could not believe that what your eyes were seeing was actually happening.
b. My second response was that of great anger against people who were so blinded by their religion, that they could deliberately destroy so many innocent lives somehow thinking that their god would handsomely reward them. for their unfeeling cruelty.
c. The next was a more rational response, when I thought that such irrational people must be stopped at any cost, for if they are allowed to continue in their murderous ways the world will be safe for no one.
2. I think that these same emotions were going through the mind of David.
a. At first he did not know who the enemy was.
b. He did not know if his family was dead or alive.
c. All he knew is that the families were gone, and the city was in ashes.
3. David and his men cried until they had no more strength to cry.
a. Our nation in our first response to the disaster was to mourn.
b. Mourn for those brave men who lost their lives seeking to save others.
c. Mourn for those innocent persons who lost their lives in that raging inferno.
d. Mourn for the wives and children who had lost husbands and fathers.
e. Mourn for those who had lost mothers and wives.
f. Mourn for those who had lost their loved ones.
4. It is at this point that we are told that David encouraged himself in the Lord.
a. There was certainly nothing in the situation that could bring David comfort.
b. He had to turn to the Lord for his comfort and encouragement.
5. In like manner today when we are faced with tragedy, we turn to the Lord for encouragement and comfort.
6. It is amazing how much encouragement we can receive from the scriptures in times of disaster.
B. The word terrorist describes exactly what they seek to do, strike terror in the hearts of the people.
1. They have been very successful in this primary goal.
2. Someone has suggested that the reason the Hollywood Emmy show has been cancelled twice was that the host was afraid to ask, "Will you hand me the envelop please."
3. They say that many people are now afraid to fly.
4. Others refuse to go into tall buildings.
5. David in Psalm 118
said, "The Lord is on my side, what can man do unto me?"
6. So what is the worst thing they can do to me? Kill me? Well for me "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
7. When Paul was warned that when he went to Jerusalem, that bonds and imprisonment awaited him, his friends began to weep and sought to dissuade him from going. His response was, " What do you mean by your tears, are you trying to break my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." Paul's attitude was, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
8. When we were kids, we would camp in the summer at a park called Camp Comfort near Ojai California. On weekends some of the companies would have large steak fries for the families of the company. My brother and I would go over and mix with the kids and go up and help ourselves to the company steaks. They just figured that we belonged to one of the families. We used to say, "The worst they can do is kick us out." And we figured that a good steak dinner was worth the chance.
II. HOW DID DAVID ENCOURAGE HIMSELF IN THE LORD?
A. By praying. We read: "And David enquired of the Lord."
1. Through prayer he received directions from the Lord. You are to pursue after them.
2. Through prayer he received the promise of the Lord. You will overtake them and recover everything that was taken.
B. Oh how our hearts are comforted and strengthened through prayer.
1. Jesus said that men ought always to pray and not to faint, but how often we are fainting instead of praying. And the reason we are fainting is because we are not praying.
2. Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.
III. IN THE PSALM THAT WE READ THIS MORNING WE SEE DAVID ENCOURAGING HIMSELF IN THE LORD.
A. He asks himself the question, "Why are you cast down Oh my soul, why are you disquieted within me?, or why are you so upset?"
1. He was worried and upset.
2. Perhaps this was written when Saul was pursuing him and seeking to kill him.
3. Perhaps it was written upon this very occasion.
4. We know that it was in a time when he had been crying day and night and his detractors were asking, "Where is your God now?"
5. Just like some detractors are asking, "Where was God when the twin towers were destroyed?"
B. David then advised himself. "Put your hope in God, for He shall yet deliver you." This is encouraging yourself in the Lord.
C. Why do we become cast down, and disquieted? Because we leave God out of the equation.
1. We weigh the problem with our strength.
2. We measure the difficulty with our ability.
3. We consider the situation with our resources.
4. Yes it is too heavy for me, but not too heavy for God.
5. Yes it is beyond my capacity, but not God's capacity.
6. Of course I do not have enough resources, but God does.
7. Put God into the equation and the problem is solved, the difficulty is removed, and there is more than enough resources to handle any situation.
IV. OUR ENEMY HAS DISPLAYED HIS POWER TO STRIKE US WITH A TELLING BLOW.
A. We are being warned that the threat of biological or chemical attacks are very real.
B. We are even being told of the possibility of limited nuclear attacks.
C. We are seeking to strike back at the enemy to restrict his ability to continue these attacks against our nation.
D. Already our whole standard of living is being altered. Many of our liberties are being curtailed.
1. We had to fly commercially to Phoenix this week. Airports are not the place of free unrestricted movement today as they once were.
2. You cannot say goodbye to your friends at the gate, nor can you meet them at the gate.
3. We had to go through two separate security checks before we could board our plane.
4. Already we are seeing the tragic aftermath of the attacks against America.
a. Many have already have been laid-off or lost their jobs.
b. Our economy has taken a great hit.
5. It is quite possible that we can never go back to where we once were.
E. It is very discouraging to try to contemplate the future. Is there an answer?
1. Yes, as David, encourage yourself in the Lord. He shall yet deliver you and be the light of your countenance.
2. God has given to us so many wonderful promises to be with us and help us in our time of trouble.
3. Here are some things that David said about trouble.
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.
But the salvation of the righteous [is] of the LORD: [he is] their strength in the time of trouble.
God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
For he hath delivered me out of all trouble:
4. If you are in trouble listen to what God says to you.
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
5. Note the conditions
a. "Because he has set his love on Me."
b. "Because he has known My name."
c. "He shall call upon Me."
d. Because I know Him and love Him, I feel freedom to call upon His name.