Be encouraged

When it comes right down to it, in order for God to be for someone, he must be against another. It says in James 4:5 “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”  And in Romans 9:13, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

During the final days of king Saul’s life, he had to face off against his worst enemy, the Philistines. The entire Philistine army gathered together and camped on the border of Israel. “And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled” (1 Samuel 28:5).

In desperation, Saul had a woman with a familiar spirit, or what we would refer to today as a medium, call up Samuel from the dead in order to get his advice about what to do. “Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee and is become thine enemy” (1 Samuel 28:16).

Saul was distressed because when he inquired of the LORD, “the LORD answered him not” (1 Samuel 28:6). Saul’s attempt to get help from Samuel showed that he did not understand that his relationship with the LORD was not based on his effort to communicate with God, but God’s effort to communicate with him. When the LORD had previously given Saul instructions, he chose to disobey and so the LORD stopped talking to Saul and found someone who would follow his commands, David.

Obedience is important in our relationship with the LORD because it establishes the basis for ongoing communication. If the LORD is our Master, then we must obey him. If we do not obey him, then we are making it clear that the LORD is not truly our Master.

While the Philistines were preparing to invade Israel, the Amalekites attacked the city where David and his men were living and took their wives and children captive. “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” (1 Samuel 30:6).

The word translated encouraged, châzaq (khaw – zaq´) means to fasten upon or take hold of. “In the sense of personal strength chazaq is first used in Duet 11:8 in the context of the covenant” (2388). I believe what David did to encourage himself in the LORD was to read the Torah and refresh himself in God’s commandments. David’s recommitment to the LORD included a renewed interest in obedience and seeking God’s counsel in times of trouble.

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. (1 Samuel 30:8)

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