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by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, October 22, 2011

“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” (I Samuel 30:6).

David found himself in a terrible situation. His wife and children were taken as prisoners! Many of his men were killed. Some wanted to revolt against him. Many others wanted to stone him. David was greatly distressed, but he encouraged himself in the Lord.

I. First, David was greatly distressed.

“And David was greatly distressed; for people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters” (I Samuel 30:6a).

There was good reason for David to be distressed. He had trouble on every side. All the people were against him. The people were depressed and very upset, because their loves ones were gone. No one helped David. No one supported him. He felt abandoned and alone.

We cannot say that our situation has ever been as bad as David’s. But we have felt some of his distress.

Like David, many of us are distressed by threats from the world. We’re not threatened by stoning as David was. And we’re not threatened by physical harm and prison like Christians in many parts of the world are. Christians in the underground churches in China and in Muslim lands do suffer under these threats. But we face prejudice and bigotry for being zealous Christians on college campuses, where we work, and even from our own relatives. Sometimes it can be very distressing and discouraging.

Like David, many of us are distressed over our sons, daughters, family, and friends. Most of us have been saddened by the loss of someone leaving the church. This can bring us great distress and grief. It may be a friend who looked promising, and you had great hope for him. But now he is gone. Now you may fear being close to others, thinking they, too, may leave.

Some of you have children or other family members that have left the church. You have prayed for them. You have loved them. You had great hopes for them. Your great desire was that they remain and serve Christ in our church. But they left. Others of you fear that your children will not be converted and that they, too, will leave. Brothers and sisters, I know how you feel. It’s distressing and discouraging.

Such distress can bring discouragement to you and take your mind off of serving Christ. Then you go through the motions of Bible reading and prayers. But then you have no zeal in evangelism and do little if any personal evangelism. Then you are less interested in the prospects that come in. You are filled with fear that they will not stay and become converted.

II. Second, David encouraged himself in the Lord.

“And David was greatly distressed…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” (I Samuel 30:6).

David’s situation was awful beyond description. He was greatly distressed. But David did not stay that way. How did he come out of it?

“David encouraged himself in the Lord his God”
       (I Samuel 30:6).

David encouraged himself in God and not man. Picture David’s situation. His enemy seemed to have conquered him. Many of his men were killed. He was greatly outnumbered. His family was captured. It appeared he needed help from man. But that is not what David thought. In Psalm 20, David said,

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).

David was a soldier and would soon be king over all of Israel. He needed many chariots and horses to do battle. Others trusted in chariots and horses to win battles. But David knew that no chariots or horses could help him unless he had God’s blessing. He knew that ultimately “the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s.” The Lord God was his strength. David knew that man could not help him. He was convinced that only God could provide real help.

When David remembered the Lord he was absolutely fearless. He said,

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).

Let us also remember that God is our light and our salvation. What an encouragement that is! We only need to be concerned that we are right with God, and all will be well. It doesn’t matter how strong our enemies are if God is on our side.

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

David encouraged himself by remembering God’s past deliverances. God had saved David from many dangerous situations and troubles. David was greatly encouraged by remembering these times when God delivered him. He was confident that he could defeat the giant Philistine, Goliath, in battle. This confidence came from remembering God’s past deliverances.

“David said, moreover, 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” (I Samuel 17:37).

When you feel distressed and discouraged, remember how many times that God has delivered you, and you will be encouraged.

David encouraged himself through prayer to God. As we read the life of David, it seems that he was often in communication with God. He was the Psalmist who was always in prayer or praising God for His goodness. Prayer was a great source of encouragement to him, especially in times of trouble. The book of Psalms has recorded many of the prayers that David offered to God. In Psalm 34, David said,

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

God does not want you to fret and fear. He will hear your cries. He will deliver you from your fears. Pray to our Heavenly Father, and you will be greatly encouraged.

David encouraged himself by knowing God was in control of his life. David learned to trust God and had peace regardless of the outcome. He did not blame God for putting him in a bad situation. He said,

“My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me” (Psalm 31:15).

David prayed for deliverance but at the same time knew that his “times are in [God’s] hand.” Uncertainty in life can bring much distress and discouragement. It is when life is most chaotic and full of trouble that we most need hope and assurance from God.

David said in Psalm forty-two,

“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).

Be like David! Don’t be overwhelmed by the troubles you are going through. Keep everything in perspective. Always keep your emotions under control. You should know if you are becoming depressed or are losing hope. You should remind yourself that there is no reason to despair, because God is still on His throne! God is sovereign and omnipotent. He is in control of your life, and He will not abandon you. Then, “Hope thou in God.” He will cause you to triumph through Christ!

I speak now to the young people who are hopefully converted. You have great stalwarts in the faith as your models. I am referring to the good people in our church. These are the “Thirty-nine” who have learned the secret of David’s steadfastness in the midst of trouble. You should copy them. When they were distressed by many problems, they encouraged themselves in the Lord. They continued strong in the work of the Lord. It is our prayer that many of you young people in our church will do the same. May God help you to encourage yourself in the Lord!

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by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

“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.” (I Samuel 30:6).

I.   First, David was greatly distressed, I Samuel 30:6a.

II.  Second, David encouraged himself in the Lord, I Samuel 30:6b;
Psalm 20:7; Psalm 27:1; Romans 8:31; I Samuel 17:37;
Psalm 34:4; Psalm 31:15; Psalm 42:5.