The Happy Wonderer. This is such an encouraging series to help us stay our hearts and minds on God and His Word during these days. I hope that many of us are playing along with this challenge and thinking about Scripture verses containing the letter of the week. Even if we don't all link up with Ellen's blog, we can all open our Bibles and search out verses. Today we are looking for words beginning with the letter E.
There are lots of good Bible words that begin with E. One that I particularly like is the word Encourage, and my very favorite verse containing it is found in 1 Samuel 30:6 -- "But David encouraged himself in the LORD his God."
Look for a minute at the circumstances in David's life at this time. At the time, he and his men, along with their families, were living in the city of Ziklag. If we look at verses 1-5 of 1 Samuel 30, we see that when David and his men returned to Ziklag from meeting with the Philistines, they found the city destroyed. The Amalekites had invaded Ziklag in their absence, had burned it to the ground and had taken all of the women and children captives. Verse 4 shows us the depth of the grief of David and his men: "Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep." David's two wives, Abigail and Ahinoam, were among those taken captive.
The beginning of verse 6 tells us, "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 for his daughters."
With the word "but" in the middle of the verse, though, we see a change of direction. In the midst of his distress, "David encouraged himself in the LORD his God."
How might David have done this? My Bible gives a couple of cross-references:
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance." (Psalm 42:5)
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His Word, in God I have put my trust: I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." (Psalm 56:3-4)
David reminded himself of what he knew about God, and of how God had helped him in the past. He knew that he could trust God completely. Verse 8 of 1 Samuel 30 tells us that he sought wisdom from the Lord as to how to deal with this calamity.
"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."
Reading on to verses 18-19, we see that this is exactly what happened: "David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away; and David rescued his two wives." The story, though terrifying, had a happy ending.
So how about us? We are also in distressing circumstances in our world today, and maybe in our personal lives as well. Let's be sure to encourage ourselves in the Lord and remind ourselves of what we know about Him. How might we do that more effectively?
Last week I mentioned the wonderful book What Do I Know About my God? by Mardi Collier. If you want to be encouraged and get to know your God better, I highly recommend that you get the book and begin making a notebook full of wonderful truth about your God.The Emergency Pack, it is also a huge blessing. But if you purchase What Do I Know About my God?, the emergency pack verses are also included within it. So you won't need both, unless you want to give one away as an encouragement to someone else.
Of course you don't need a book to compile a notebook full of truth about God; you could absolutely do this on your own, thinking of different aspects of God's character and then searching out Scripture verses that correspond to each aspect. However, if you are like me, the book will give you a wonderfully helpful starting point and it's just an encouraging read as well.
In times of trouble in my own life, I have pulled out my notebook and reminded myself of what I know about my God. Invariably, I receive a fresh infusion of courage to carry on.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 reminds us: "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches,
"But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD,"
We can get to know God well! And as we do, we are increasingly encouraged. When we are distressed we will be able to do as David did and encourage ourselves in the Lord our God!