Taking Joy in the Journey

 

How to be Better, Not Bitter in the Midst of a Crisis!

 

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: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

 

2012 was a challenging year for many Christians and 2013 looks to be the same.  We see many circumstances and situations taking place in our nation that just don’t seem to make sense.  From school shootings to natural disasters and political battles, it could have been a pretty disappointing year depending on your outlook.

 

If you aren’t struggling right now, praise God!  My prayer would be that the Lord continues to bless and keep you and prepare you for the time when suffering comes.  I say that because the Word of God is very clear that His people WILL have to deal with difficult circumstances and situations, so we all need to be prepared.

 

A Crisis Can Make Us Better or Bitter

Before we discuss how to do this we better understand what we mean by a crisis.

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines crisis as:

an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life . . .

an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome

 

Everybody experiences times of crisis.  So how do we use a crisis in a way that brings glory to God?

 

Step 1 -  Be prepared!  Realize that these times will come and they should not catch us by surprise.  Our Lord has promised  that you will suffer (John 16:33), so be watchful.

Step 2 – Have an example to follow!  Today, let’s use David as our example and see what we can learn from a man after God’s own heart  (Acts 13:22).

 

David’s Example

“. . . David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6b

 

Let’s set the stage.  The book of 1 Samuel records that David was being chased by King Saul who wanted to kill him.  David sought refuge with the Philistines, an archenemy of Israel.

 

In 1 Samuel 29 we read that the Philistines are about to attack the Israelites and the princes of the Philistines tells Achish that David cannot fight in the battle because they are afraid that he would turn against them.  As a consequence David and his men are sent back to the land of the Philistines.

 

After traveling 3 days David discovered that while they were gone the Amalekites had attacked the Israelite town of Ziklag, and taken all the women and children into captivity and burned the city.  Among those taken were David’s two wives (1 Samuel 30:5).

 

Are you getting the picture?  This is a really tough time in David’s life.  I can’t imagine returning home from one of my trips to find my entire community destroyed and my family taken captive.  That had to be devastating.  In verse 4 we are told that they wept so strongly that they no longer had strength to weep.  And, 1 Samuel 30:6a tells…

 

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved,”

 

David was grieved!  Ya think???  This would have been one of the lowest points in his life.  His king and former friend was trying to kill him, his two wives were taken captive and the people wanted to stone him.   No wonder he was “greatly distressed.”

 

How did David “encourage himself” in the face of such a crisis?  He didn’t have family or friends to encourage him.  But he did have the Lord.  So let’s learn from the Scripture how he accomplished this.

 

1.    Put worship before warfare!  . . . David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6b

 

Before you run into battle, seek the Lord first!  David was a warrior, whose courage came from the Lord.  Remember, when David was young he was sent to battle against a giant, Goliath.  And he said:

….The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. (1 Samuel 17:37)

 

Remember, David killed Goliath with just one stone.   He was able to do that because he trusted in his Lord to deliver him.

 

In this crisis recorded in 1 Samuel, when David finds his whole world in chaos, he again turns to the Lord and seeks His will before proceeding.

 

2.    Go to God for Guidance!  1 Samuel 30:7-8

 1 Samuel 30:7-8

 And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David inquired 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.

 

David inquired of the Lord for direction before rushing off into battle.  That is definitely the example we should imitate.  Instead of running to friends for wisdom, we need to seek God’s wisdom!

Proverbs 2:6

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

 

Think about this, in 1 Samuel 28 we have another account of someone getting ready to go into battle.  King Saul!  He was facing a crisis because the one man he had counted on, Samuel, had passed away.  So, how did he respond? He went to a witch!  Talk about a contrast.

 

This makes sense though and is the perfect picture of the world that we live in.  There are two types of advice in this world:

 

1) Ungodly advice that bring worldly wisdom:

1 Corinthians 3:19

 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

2) Godly advice that brings wisdom in the Lord.

Psalm 1:1-2

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

 

A while back my friend Mark pointed something out to me that is very interesting.  Notice the progression in Psalm 1.  Walking with the ungodly – leads to standing with the ungodly – leads to sitting in the seat of . . . . .!  Be careful where you spend your time!

Make sure you’re seeking the right counsel when entering a crisis.

 

3)    Treat Others Graciously –

David and 400 of his soldiers, 2/3rd of his army, went after the Amalekites and recovered everything that had been taken from them.  When they returned, and the spoils were being divided up, those that went with David to fight didn’t want to share with those that had stayed back and taken care of the city and supplies.  David was smart enough to give to each of them, knowing that they had all served, each in their own way.

 

4)    Remember to give God glory!

1 Samuel 30:23

“Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.”

 

Did you notice what David just did?  David gave God the glory!  “the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us”.  He recognized Who truly did the work.  How many times do we lose sight of Who is truly doing the work.

 

 

Two Promises from God. 

When a crisis comes, hang on to these and become better, not bitter..

 

1. No crisis is more than what youcan handle because God will provide:

 1 Corinthians 10:13

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

 

2. No crisis is totally bad.  God promises to use it for your good:

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

 Amen!

 

Stay bold,

Carl & the rforh Team

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