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"How to Encourage Yourself in the Lord"


1 Sam. 30:1-7

Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire,
2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small too great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way.

3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive.

4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive.

6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.
But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.


There are some troubles in life that will come to break the child of God. When these type of dangers attack us, the believer needs to know what to do and how to do it.

It’s evident in this text today that David had been caught in one of life’s most trying situations, and he didn't have anyone on his side to encourage him in the Lord.

David in-spite of being alone in one of his darkest times in life, has to learn how to encourage himself, so that he may endure the trial of his life.

The song writer Donald Lawrence wrote the song “speak over yourself” …

Sometimes you have to encourage yourself.
Sometimes you have to speak victory during the test.
And no matter how you feel,
speak the word and you will be healed;
speak over yourself,
encourage yourself in the Lord.

[Verse 2:]
Sometimes you have to speak the word over yourself,
the pressure is all around,
but God is a present help.
The enemy created walls,
but remember giants, they do fall;
speak over yourself,
encourage yourself in the Lord.

As I minister to you, oh I minister to myself,
life can hurt you so,
'til you feel there's nothing left.
(No matter how you feel),
(speak the word and you will be healed).

[Vamp 1:]
Speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the lord. [x4]

Many a Christian has heard this song, and many a Christian has had to encourage themselves in the midst of the storm.

This text today will help us to know what to do when life is not fair, and life is not fun and devastation's come into your family!

David becomes the poster child of hope and faith in God, in the midst of it all, because he learned to encourage himself in the Lord.


In chapter 29, David has been summoned by King Achish to come to war with Him against Israel. Because he lives in the Philistine country, he has to have loyalty to the king of the Philistines.

When he gets to the battle with his 600 men, the Lords of the Philistines spot David and his men in the battle formation, and they go to the King and complain about him being present.

They say to the King that they don't trust David, and that they think he may turn on them in the battle. They urge the king, to release David from their formation, and send him back to where he is from.

David and his men after being dismissed from the formation, head back home to Ziklag! When they arrive back home they discover that every last one of their wives, children, and family members have been taken captive by an invading enemy, and all of their resources have been stolen, and their homes and their City has been burned to the ground!

David and his men are in a crisis! Their livelihood has been threatened, their egos have been stepped on, their families disrespected and mistreated and they believe that it is all David’s fault.

If they had not gone to help the philistines…
This would have never happened…
Their wives and children would be home…
Their businesses would be in tact…
Their property would still be here…
Their community would not be devastated…
Their inheritance would not be lost…
Their reason for living would still be around…

• I believe that they blamed David, and David blamed himself!
• In fact, they began to talk about stoning him, and taking his life for the lives that had been taken!
• The man they once loved, had now become the man they hated!
• Just that quick David their leader became the David the despised!


1. What do you do when life goes from good too bad in a Fresno-minute!
2. What do you do when a good thing becomes a bad thing right before your eyes?
3. What do you do when the crowd who used to love you, now wants to stone you?
4. What do you do when the ones you love become your enemies?
5. What do you do when you don't know what to do?

These are the questions that this text brings to us today! David answers the call in the crisis of a life time.

• He doesn't shrink back, he doesn't ball up and cry.
• He doesn't get high to escape the situation.
• He doesn't blame anyone else for what has happened to him.
• He doesn't try and put the situation off on someone else!
• He steps up and leads as Gods man in the midst of this Terrible situation.

He becomes for us a good picture of a servant leader in a difficult time. If you want to know what to do, and you want to learn how to lead in the crisis take your cues from David in this passage.

1. David Encourages himself
2. David Empowers himself
3. David Employs himself

I. David Encourages Himself
6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.
But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David.

When we arrive at this passage we see something phenomenal happen in the midst of the crisis.

When the loyal men of David, get so grieved in their spirits they turn on their leader.

Their grief over takes them and they suddenly they turn on the one who has been leading them in every battle that they had ever fought!

They forgot that this was David the great, Israel’s most famous warrior.
They forgot that this was David their commander the man who looked out for their families.
They forgot that this was David, the man that they came to follow on their own free will.
This was David who gave them families, homes, security, position, a place to run to when Saul was trying to kill them.

They forgot that David’s family was taken too! He had been violated just like them!
They forgot that just because he was the leader did not mean that he was exempt from the trials and tribulations of life!

I’ve learned from this passage that leadership is a hard thing to do when you are leading Gods people.

Sometimes the love you and sometimes they want you dead.

Sometimes they will turn on you when grief has them arrested, and they know not what they shall do!

I’ve learned that a leader has to stay focused with precision like determination, and never take it personal when the troops start to misbehave!

A leader has to step up and lead in the worst of situations.
A leader has to know where to go when nobody else knows where to go.
David goes to the priest! He asks the priest to bring him the Ephod.

What is the ephod?

The Ephod was a significant piece of clothing ascribed to the high priest to be worn with his uniform. The high priest was to wear this when going on behalf of the people to God.

When he would pray for them, offer sacrifice for them, bless them and handle priestly duties in the temple. He was required of the Lord to wear the Ephod.

When there was trouble in the camp, he was to wear the ephod so that he could seek God and get instruction on behalf of Gods children.

1. David knows where to Go to encourage himself! He goes to the priest.
2. David recognizes that this battle is supernatural, its gonna need supernatural attention if he is going to be victorious.
3. David recognizes that his men can’t help him in this leadership moment!
4. They don't believe in him right now, so he has to do all the believing in himself.

What he does next in this text is the answer to what somebody here today must do. You must get yourself in position to hear from the Lord.


When you find yourself in the fight of your life, take your cues from David, get to the high priest of your soul and do what you know how to do, and that is position yourself for instruction.

The high priest of your soul is Jesus. Get to the place where you know how to hear from him, and then be prepared to listen for what comes next!

• Position yourself to be taught by the Lord.
• Position yourself to be instructed in supernatural matters.
• Position yourself to be fed and led by the only one who can help you through your difficulty.
• Jesus is the high priest of your souls, he has just what you need for the crisis that you are in.

Always remember sometime you have to encourage yourself!

Story of self-encouragement
There is an old fable about a dog that boasted of his ability as a runner. One day he chased a rabbit and failed to catch it. The other dogs ridiculed him on account of his previous boasting. His reply was, “You must remember that the rabbit was running for his life, while I was only running for my dinner.” The incentive is all-important.
The dog had learned to encourage himself in the face of ridicule…

II. David Empowers Himself

8 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?”
And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”


When we arrive at this portion of the text we see David Empower himself in the midst of the crisis. Normally, the priest would pray for the one seeking prayer, but in this case, David’s crisis is personal, pivotal, and preeminent! He can’t wait on second hand information.

David wants to know right now, what he needs to do…His family has been taken captive…his men are in distress…his community has been threatened …he needs a word from the Lord and he needs it now.

Everyone wants him dead…all of the men are discouraged…he has to lead this prayer for himself. He has to go deep with God, and he has to do it now!


The text says that he asked God two questions…

“Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?”
He wants to know am I too late to save my family? He wants to know can I catch up to the one who has done this-evil to me?
For David it’s not a matter of if I should do something, it’s a matter of am I too late to do something!
• David is a warrior, fighting is in his blood!
• David is a shepherd, taking care of the sheep is what he is wired to do! He needs to know if there are any sheep left?
• He needs to know if anyone has survived!
• He is gonna do something, but he needs to know what that something is…


• David is teaching me how to pray in the crisis…. He is teaching me that doing nothing in the crisis is a sign of giving up when there are lives to be saved!
• David is teaching me that you don't ever give up!
• He is teaching me that fighting to the end is what a warrior must do!
• David is teaching me that my family is worth fighting for, even if the enemy has them captive!
• David is teaching me that if I don't fight for them, no man will!
• David is teaching me that I am responsible for pursuing my families wellbeing…
• David is teaching me that the Lord wants to use me to pursue them…

I learn in this passage, that the Lord saw what happened, and he could've stopped it, but he would rather use men to pursue and save men!

• David empowers himself to seek the Lord…David empowered himself to get Gods permission.
• David empowered Himself to talk to the Lord about his troubles …
• David empowered himself to hear the word of instruction for his families wellbeing…

I noticed in this narrative that David didn't do the following things as a leader!

• David didn't roll over and die because of his grief!
• David didn't just let the enemy have his family, because of his grief!
• David didn't become a permanent-victim, because of his grief!
• David didn't make excuses about his trouble, because of his grief!
• David took advantage of his-position in God, his training in war, his mantle of leadership and his life-experiences and he became something that his enemy would come to fear!
• He became a king in the making with a love for his people, and the fear God on his side!

Textual Observation:

When the Lord saw David ask for the Ephod…God was pleased at what he saw….

After David prayed, the Lord said… “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

Because he pursued the Lord, David got his answer from the lord, in the midst of his battle.
Because he pursued the Lord, he got a word from God, to show him what to do.

Because he pursued the lord, he got instruction for his troubles, and he got an answer on how to save his family….


When you get serious about the crisis of your home, and you pursue the Lord in prayer….and follow David’s steps of intercession, you too will get an answer for what you are supposed to do!

When you get serious, about your life threatening situation, you too will hear God tell you what you need to do to save your love ones…

When you learn to empower yourself to seek the lord for yourself, nobody will have to tell you what the lord has said, because you would have heard him for yourself!

• If I were you I would learn how to talk with God for myself!
• If I were you, I would learn how to find him in the midst of the storm!
• If I were you, I would learn how to tell the Lord what I need him to do for me!
• If I were you, I would learn how to ask him to show me how to save my family, my husband, my wife, my kids, my neighbor, my mom, my cousins, my best friends, my co-worker, anybody and anything that I am involved with…
• If I were you, I would become empowered to pray for myself!

III. David Employed Himself

9 So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the Brook Besor, where those stayed who were left behind.

But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor.

When we arrive at this portion of the text we see something that I had never noticed before. David never asked for his men to come along with him.

The text says that David went…I know that the other men had family to be taken also, and I know that they wanted to stone David. I know that they were disgruntled soldiers, but I can’t help but notice that when the leader leads, the men will follow!

David employs himself…because he has gotten a word from the Lord.
The word is that he will pursue and he will overtake them!

It is with this encouragement and empowerment, that David and God are a one-man army!

David employs himself, he believes in himself, he has recovered himself, he has revived himself and so he leads himself.


As a commander he doesn't tell others to do it, but he leads himself!

The bible says that 600 brothers came along also….

However, as they ride out as a band of soldiers on a mission to pursue the enemy, 200 men got weak, and couldn't make it to fight for their families…

200 men got weak, and left their children in the hands of the enemy…
200 men got weak and gave up on the salvation of their homes!
200 men got weak, and refused to travel any further to fight for themselves, their communities, their families, their names and their brothers!200 men got weak, and deserted the army!


But the bible says that David kept going! He left the weak men behind!

“But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor.”


I learn from this passage that everybody who says they are down with you can’t make it with you to the end!
I learn from this passage that everybody who claims that they will fight for their community don't always keep their words.
I learned that some people don't have the stamina in warfare that other people have.

I learn that when you have people like this in the ranks, sometimes you have to leave them behind, because they will slow you down, when you are trying to save your family!

These kind of soldiers require attention, and their need for ministry will take you off of the pursuit of those held captive by the underworld!

David is teaching me in this text;

1. Take only the men that hate the enemy, and that have the stamina to fight! [don’t take weak men can go into the battle]

2. He is teaching me that in every battle you need to have a secret-ally, who can expose the enemies’ strategies, and whereabouts!

He is teaching me that when you find this ally, befriend him, because he will be the resource that leads you in the salvation of your family!

The text Says…

11 Then they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David; and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water.

12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. So when he had eaten, his strength came back to him; for he had eaten no bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights.

13 Then David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from? “And he said, “I am a young man from Egypt, servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind, because three days ago I felt sick.

14 We made an invasion of the southern area of the Cherethites, in the territory which belongs to Judah, and of the southern area of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.”

15 And David said to him, “Can you take me down to this troop?”

So he said, “Swear to me by God that you will neither kill me nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this troop.”


As we come to the close of this narrative, David is smart enough to take care of somebody who has been mistreated by the same enemy!

• He has found himself and ally!
• He has made a new brother in the fight against his enemy!
Because the Egyptian knows the Amelikite whereabouts, traditions, strategies and warfare techniques, David can use his military intelligence for the salvation of his family!


Here we discover that God sends David an informer, who no longer wants to work for the enemy!

He has been betrayed by an evil master and left for dead while working in his service.

When David finds him near dead, he ministers to him, and gives him another chance at life!

What he now gains is a brother! A brother who has the same convictions about the same enemy!

They've got a common goal now, and together they can pursue the one who has done evil to so many people!


Every now and then on this journey God will send you an ally that knows more about your enemy than you do!

That ally is sent to you to aide you in the deliverance of your loved ones from captivity …

Don't despise the ally! Don't kill the ally! Don't misuse the ally! Don't mistreat the ally, let them help you to reach your loved ones…


16 And when he had brought him down, there they were, spread out over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.

17 Then David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled.

18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives.

19 And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all.

20 Then David took all the flocks and herds they had driven before those other livestock, and said, “This is David’s spoil.”

21 Now David came to the two hundred men who had been so weary that they could not follow David, whom they also had made to stay at the Brook Besor. So they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near the people, he greeted them.

22 Then all the wicked and worthless men of those who went with David answered and said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children, that they may lead them away and depart.”

23 But David said, “My brethren, you shall not do so with what the Lord has given us, who has preserved us and delivered into our hand the troop that came against us.

As we close this text…there are two types of men we see in this text…they are wicked men and there are weak men.

David has to stop them from judging each other, and abusing each other!

He reminds them of who it was that gave them the victory!

He says that if it wasn't for the Lord on our side, we would not have any of our families or our stuff back in our possession!

The lesson from this story is …

1. Don't forget who delivers your loved ones
2. Don't forget those who didn't go to the battle with you!
3. Don’t forget to save their families too while you are saving yours!


Sometimes as a church we too can get like this… Just because somebody doesn't serve like we serve, we can get an attitude about what we do and what they don't do!

We can’t lead in this way, we have to be like David, and serve everybody that needs serving.

We have to bless everybody, that needs blessing!

David is the picture of a good King in the making! And they were blessed to have him on the throne!

Oh, but a better king than David was coming, he was gonna rule like no man has ever ruled before.
The new king, would concur all enemies, both foreign and domestic, both human and supernatural!

This King would serve weak men and strong men! He would save poor men and rich men! He would fight for our salvation and save us all from Sin.

King Jesus would die on the cross for our sins, and save us from entering into hell for all of our eternity!

King Jesus would die, be buried in a borrowed tomb, take the sting out of death, and rise again early Sunday morning from the dead!

As the sovereign King of the Universe with all power of heaven and earth in his hand!


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