1 Samuel 29-30, 1 Corinthians 10, Ezekiel 8, Psalm 46-47

1 Samuel 30:6-8

"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."

How do you strengthen yourself in the LORD your God?

David did so by seeking God's instruction.  He called for Abiathar to bring the ephod, which held the Urim and Thummim, with which the Israelites sought God's direction.  Moses, speaking of Joshua in Numbers 27:18-21 said, "He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him the judgment of the Urim before the LORD.  At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel."  God provided the ephod as a means to communicate with His people.

The last time David sought God's counsel was in 1 Samuel 23:9-12, shortly after Doeg had killed all the priests of Nob at Saul's command.  Abiathar, the only priest to survive, brought the ephod with him when he escaped.  At that time, David sought God's direction on whether to stay in Keilah or to flee before Saul arrived.  At about this same time, Jonathan came to David and "strengthened his hand in God."  From that time until this, there is no mention of David seeking God's direction or of anyone encouraging him in the LORD.  The possible exception is Abigail's statement in 1 Samuel 25:24-26.  Since David lived in the Philistine country with Achish for 16 months, it had been quite some time since David had sought God's instruction.

When do you strengthen yourself in the LORD?

David did so when he was greatly distressed because his men were discussing stoning him. David's decisions while not seeking God's counsel, had put his men in harm's way.  They were living with the enemy, the Philistines, while annihilating the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites. Now the consequences of David's decisions come not just on his men but their families.

The Hebrew root word for distressed means to restrict, to bind, or confine.  David found himself in a bind with his options restricted, and he was about to be confined by his men.  Of course, he was distressed.  So he turned to the LORD.

Do you only strengthen yourself in the LORD in desperate situations?

Saul faced a similar situation in 1 Samuel 28:15, "Samuel said to Saul, 'Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?'  Saul answered, 'I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams.'"  When the consequences of Saul's decisions left him in a distressful situation, God chose not to answer his query.

We are blessed to see David's maturing faith in God.  The same man who would go months without consulting God or have anyone strengthen him in the LORD would learn to say:

O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice, in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. Psalm 5:3.

Blessed be the LORD who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.  Psalm 68:19

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.  Psalm 34:1

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you.  Psalm 71:5

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.  Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.  Psalm 145:1-2

Oh LORD, forgive me for coming to You only in distress when the consequences of my decisions bear their fruit.  I want my faith to mature as David's. May the words of his psalms be the words of my mouth.

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