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May 28, 2017

Disappointed But Not Discouraged

Disappointed But Not Discouraged

Preacher: Eric Stapleton

Series: Disappointed But Not Discouraged

Category: Encouragement

Keywords: david, disappointment, discouragement, victory, encourage in the lord

Detail:

1 Samuel 30:1–6 (NASB95)

David’s Victory over the Amalekites

1 Then it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire;

2 and they took captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great, without killing anyone, and carried them off and went their way.

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

4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep.

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

6 Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

In the King James version it says or reads:

but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

I’ve titled this message “disappointed, but not discouraged.” Another way of phrasing that is “being sad, but not giving up.” And while we’re talking about discouragement or giving up, I don’t want to equate that with sin. I’m not saying that discouragement equals sin. Discouragement is something that happens. Discouragement can take the form of sin but we’ll get to that in a bit. But there are times when we are called upon to not be discouraged to not give up. It is that time that we need to lean on God for more strength to keep on going. And that’s for talking about today is how we do that.

Reading this passage independently without any context what could we glean from it? Well, we could glean that this guy David is a leader of men. We could gather that David and his men suffered a great loss of their women and children by kidnapping. We can gather that David was blamed for this incident by the people whom he led. We can also gather that David, in spite of all that, was strengthened by the Lord. If I didn’t know the context of this passage my big question would be, “why are they blaming it on him?” Another question, even knowing the context is,” how did David strengthen himself in the Lord?”

I hope to answer some of those questions in the sermon today. But three things I’d like you to be able to say by the end of our time today are:

  1. I can identify three sources of God’s word for encouragement.
  2. I can be a source of encouragement to others through my testimony.
  3. I can explain the importance of regular scripture reading.

We’ll get to those in a bit. I want talk about David for a bit and the context of the scene that we just introduced.  So the David in this passage is King David who wrote most of the book of Psalms in the Bible and was one of the descendants or a key descendent of Jesus Christ in his human family line. He is referred to as a man after God’s own heart. If you’ve ever heard the story of David and Goliath it’s that David. If you ever heard the story of David and Bathsheba, the woman he committed adultery with and covered it up with murder, that same David but that’s later when he will be King. David is a man who would be King of Israel, the second King of Israel but in this scene he is not the King of Israel. In fact, he is being sought after by the current King of Israel, King Saul who wants to kill him. So it’s Saul and the armies of Israel against King David and his 600 men.

But really, it’s a bit more complicated than that. See, David is supposed to be the king, God told him he was going to be King. But That isn’t Natural. In most economies even back then, the King’s chosen by the people, becomes King by overthrowing the current King, or inherits the throne from their parents. By these three criteria, it’s not looking very favorable King David — the men who serve under him are the outcasts of society, the current King’s army outnumbers him, and he is not related to King Saul. He was for a while, as the King’s son-in-law but that’s no longer true at this point. King Saul took his daughter back. All that should be pretty distressing to David. To top it off though his own men want to kill him, stone him to death. Why? Why kick a man when he’s down? Why are they blaming them for this?

Because in their minds, the issue should be settled. This shouldn’t have gone on for as long as it has. There were several opportunities to take shortcuts but David refused to take them. For David discouragement what it meant was taking the shortcuts. David was disappointed that he was on the run from Saul after serving Saul faithfully for years as a military leader. But he had opportunities to take shortcuts along the way. Instead of doing that David kept being is best and trying to live the righteous life God called him to. Some of the more obvious opportunities to take shortcuts were when Saul was out chasing David, David had clear opportunities to take Saul’s life.

1 Samuel 24:1–8 (NASB95)

David Spares Saul’s Life

1 Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.”

2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.

3 He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave.

4 The men of David said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly.

5 It came about afterward that David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe.

6 So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

7 David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul arose, left the cave, and went on his way.

8 Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself.

So in this particular instance Saul “repents” in turns away from pursuing David but then the incident happens again were David has the opportunity to take Saul’s life. Saul marches out with 3,000 men looking for David and:

1 Samuel 26:5 (NASB95)

5 David then arose and came to the place where Saul had camped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was lying in the circle of the camp, and the people were camped around him.

1 Samuel 26:8–10 (NASB95)

8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.”

9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be without guilt?”

10 David also said, “As the Lord lives, surely the Lord will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish.

1 Samuel 26:12 (NASB95)

12 So David took the spear and the jug of water from beside Saul’s head, and they went away, but no one saw or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because a sound sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.

David had other opportunities to compromise. They came upon a rich landowner whose workers were shearing their sheep. They were tired, they were on the run. They could’ve taken provisions for themselves by force but instead they left the workers alone. They asked for hospitality and the landowner refused and insulted them. David was tempted to lash out but God intervened through a faithful woman and so David restrained his men, again. In each of these cases David’s men witnesses David being faithful and the consequent reward which and there’s case is survival, provision, and temporal vindication while there on the run from a wicked king. That is, until now Zicklag when their wives and children have been kidnapped and the city burned.

Why is he so confident? What keeps him from being discouraged? He is confident because he knows the kingdom, the crown has to come to him. Why does he know this? Why is he leaving this up to God? To understand this, the source of David’s confidence and also what must be a very intense internal struggle with his own faith, we need a bigger picture of David’s life.  We’re going to leave David in Ziklag there with that nagging question of how he encouraged himself in the Lord. Going back in time several chapters of Samuel and years when King Saul disobeys God as king and…

1 Samuel 15:24–28 (NASB95)

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.

25 “Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.”

26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.

28 So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.

Who would that be? Well, the Lord directs Samuel to go to a certain man, Jesse to anoint one of his eight sons to be king. He doesn’t choose the first seven and in fact the eighth one, David isn’t there… He’s doing his chores tending the sheep. Nevertheless, he is the one that is chosen.

1 Samuel 16:13 (NIV84)

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

So what is David making of all this? I’m wondering if he truly knows that he is going to be king someday based on this anointing by the known prophet Samuel. Let’s say that he does. Later on their clues in the narrative that indicate what Samuel does doesn’t stay a secret. But, What does that do to a teenage boy’s mind? Is there a timetable that a teenage boy has in mind for such a thing to happen or to come to fulfillment? We can’t really know that for sure but if you’ve ever been a teenager or you raised them I think it’s fair to imagine that it’s a “sooner rather than later” mindset. And this is something that as typical with all teenagers will be tempered over time. But the next thing we read i in David’s narrative is this:

1 Samuel 16:14–23 (NIV84)

David in Saul’s Service

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.

15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better.”

17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.

21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”

23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

So, one day he’s tending sheep in a field uninvited to the BBQ for the prophet Samuel and then he’s told he’s to be the king of Israel and then he’s invited to the palace. What is he thinking now? “Holy Glass Slippers, this is really happening!” It’s get better:

The next thing we read in the scriptures is that Israel is at war with the Philistines and the Philistines have a champion named Goliath. He’s a giant of a man and he continually taunts Israel to challenge him. They don’t. David isn’t part of the equation but is sent to give his brothers a some lunch because they are soldiers in the war. He overhears what is going on:

1 Samuel 17:26 (NIV84)

26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

1 Samuel 17:32–37 (NIV84)

32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

1 Samuel 17:45–46 (NIV84)

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.

1 Samuel 17:48–50 (NIV84)

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.

I guess collecting body parts is a guy thing.

So, King Saul is all like, “This kid!” By the way who are you?

David, in his mind, is probably all like, “Dude, I’m that guy that plays the music for you. Remember?”

I guess having an evil spirit causes memory loss. I’m half joking. There are some textual difficulties that I’m not going to go into today because it detracts from the message.

My point is that David is anointed and quickly starts rising in prominence. After the Goliath incident he becomes besties with King Saul’s son, Jonathan.

And of course the years are going by. I wonder what David is thinking. It’s happening, slowly but surely he’s advancing. But how is it going to happen? I mean, he’s not related to the King and as we find out later, not prone to a military takeover.

So, he’s moving up, closer to the title but then this happens:

1 Samuel 18:6–11 (NIV84)

6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. 7 As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,

and David his tens of thousands.”

Saul gets envious about this and hurls a spear at David while he’s playing the lyre. I’m not making this up, I’m not telling an untruth. It doesn’t work but I’m wondering what is David thinking? “Maybe I need to cut down on the Hillsong United.”

Saul hatches another plan. He decides he’ll offer his daughters as David as a bride if David continues to beat the Philistines, the reasoning being that eventually his luck will run out. David doesn’t go for it…at first.

But it backfires…Saul sets before David an “obscene “ bride price of 100 Philistine foreskins. David goes off and gets double that.

Again with the collecting of body parts.

Now David is kind of pressured into this. But I’m also wondering if David might be thinking that this must be the way that he will be King one day…King’s son in law to King? I wonder about it in part because the marriage doesn’t really work out. They’re not really a good match. Read the story and you’ll see. [JOKE] This really isn’t about the merits of David’s marital relationship, relationships. That would probably be a very short sermon. More of a ‘what not to do’ manual or a ‘stuff that just shouldn’t happen in your life’ compendium.

So Saul resorts to chasing David down with an army of men. David has his own men who are loyal to him. But not just them, their wives and children are on the run with them as well. This is not merely a road gig. They need a safe place to stay and David fears Saul isn’t going to stop so he does the logical thing…he flees to the Philistines, [PAUSE] Saul’s enemies, [PAUSE] Israel’s enemies and [PAUSE] oh yeah, HIS enemies! How is that going to play out? What is he picturing? That he’s going to walk up to the king of the Philistines with a bag of 200 Philistine body parts, “I just thought I’d bring these back. No harm intended. Just doing me job.” I mean he’d have to be insane. David is given this reality check and pretends he’s insane.

The Philistines buy it. They believe he’s insane and eventually David realizes after sparing Saul’s life twice…he develops a working relationship with the Philistines. They’re fighting against Israel and believe he is as well. They give David and his men the town of Ziklag. David claims that his men are raiding against Saul but in reality they are raiding other enemies of Israel, leaving no survivors. Some might view this as him taking a shortcut by being deceitful but these are the people he’s actually at war with and in essence he is playing the parts of the spy as well as seeking protection. He’s actually using this to destroy the enemies of Israel and you are allies of the Philistines.

But there is something else really wrong here. Is David getting closer or further from fulfilling his role as King of Israel? He spends just about a year and half living there in the land of the Philistines

And it does come to that point where the Philistines mass their armies of hundreds of thousands and David’s men with them and march against Israel. Is this it? Is this how David will become King? Technically, it would be at the hands of the Philistines but he’s with them…can that be OK in God’s eyes? Would this be a shortcut? I’d believe that his men are hoping for that as well. They believe in him but maybe that is getting strained. And I do think God often takes us to that point of discouragement where we are going to give up and compromise, take that shortcut. And I think God often intervenes at that point and provides a way out.

They go back to Ziklag to the scene we opened with…city burned, wives and children carried off maybe dead or worse. This is the context in which David encourages himself in the Lord. How can he not feel that this is a punishment of some sort? What was he thinking, marching with the Philistines? “Mocking Saul” under the guise of sparing his life? Playing the coward in front of the Philistines. I don’t necessarily believe that David was wrong in his actions but we all know it goes when things aren’t going our way, we blame others or we blame ourselves or we blame God. But right now everybody is blaming him.

So, how did David encourage or ‘strengthen himself’ in the Lord? It doesn’t say in this passage but we have evidence elsewhere. The short answer is worship. But let’s break that down a little bit. David was musician and he wrote most of the book of Psalms. We can look there for clues.

in the Psalms I see a pattern of not merely crying out to God for strength but acknowledging the truth, the truth of who God is and in some cases the truth of sin that needs to be confessed. Also very often we see the concept of recalling what God has done in the past as evidence of the truth we are acknowledging. Does that make sense? I think the three work together Crying out, Acknowledging the truth or declaring the truth, and Recalling what God has done, listing the evidence of things he’s done. And in these particular Psalms of supplication we don’t always see all three elements but they are prevalent throughout the book of Psalms and we do get a glimpse of what David’s process might’ve been like

What I’m trying to do is give glimpse of David’s heart and HOW he might’ve strengthened or encouraged himself in the Lord.

Psalm 143:1–6 (NASB95)

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord,

Give ear to my supplications!

Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!

2 And do not enter into judgment with Your servant,

For in Your sight no man living is righteous.

[In these two verses, which are the crying out statements and which are the acknowledging the truth statements?]

3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul;

He has crushed my life to the ground;

He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead.

4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;

My heart is appalled within me.

5 I remember the days of old;

I meditate on all Your doings;

I muse on the work of Your hands.

6 I stretch out my hands to You;

My soul longs for You, as a parched land.

What components do we see here?

And I really want to focus on this last component. This component of recalling. Because this is what gives us the real evidence in order to acknowledge the truth or declare the truth. It’s not just the statement that we believe he is the reasons why we believe it and that is what is usually going to actually strengthen you is remembering oh yes this is God and this is why I know is God.

Meditating on God’s acts of the past. Meditating on God’s Words is useful but doesn’t mean unless there was evidence that God’s Word was backed up by God’s actions.  I’m thinking that David didn’t have a miniature Bible with him. But he did know the story of the Passover, the deliverance from Egypt. He did understand God’s Work. The primary source of the knowledge of God’s work in the past is what? Right, scriptures. I would like to label that as the “Primary Text.”

There are many verses in the Bible that we can use to encourage ourselves with…we could do an exhaustive study of that with topics and categories…here are three classics:

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV 1900)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Philippians 1:6 (KJV 1900)

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Psalm 103:12 (KJV 1900)

12  As far as the east is from the west,

So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

BUT what I want to emphasize here is other ways to experience the truth of these passages my “other sources of God’s Word”

I bet many of you are wondering where I might be going with other ‘sources of God’s Word’ and you should be. David had more than his memory of what we call Old Testament history. He had his own Old Testament history. He had his own story. God was writing His Word on David’s life. The story of David and Goliath that is God’s Word written on David’s life and many other battles.

I challenge you that God is writing His Word on your life as well. Your testimony, your history of God’s faithfulness and truth. Now, I want to qualify that. How do you discern that as God’s Word? Well, by comparing to the primary text—the Scriptures. Using David as an example. The prophet Samuel declares that David is going to be king and anointing with oil. We can assume that David knew what was going on. And it seems to be going David’s way for a time but then Saul turns against him and is chasing him down. David gets the opportunity via circumstance to take Saul’s life. Now the story is that God is writing on David’s life is that he’s going to be king but does that justify David taking Saul’s life at an opportune moment? No. David compares his circumstances to God’s word which says thou shalt not murder.

Knowing our own story can be a source of encouragement to us if we can see God’s word written on it. But if you aren’t familiar with the truth of the Scriptures it’s going to be very difficult to discern God’s Work and Word in your life.

Here’s a personal example of what I’m talking about. About 10 years ago or maybe a little more I was really questioning God about my circumstances and wondering what on earth was going on with my life, why was I at where I was at and where was I headed and things just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. And as I was thinking about this I saw butterfly flying in the air not really close to me was actually far off toward some telephone lines. And I saw a bird trying to catch the butterfly and it couldn’t catch the butterfly because the flight pattern of the butterfly was so erratic. I wondered is that intentional? Is the butterfly being erratic intentionally or is it even capable of that type of flight pattern? God designed it that way. And of course it occurred to me my life is like that butterfly, it’s not necessarily a straight line. Seemingly erratic. I’m in Spokane and in Japan and back in Spokane, what is my purpose? That’s a neat analogy but what does that have to do with the primary text. Where can I find a verse that compares with something like that. At the time I didn’t know which is resonated in my spirit. But it resonates in my spirit as God’s word to me about the question I have for him it shouldn’t contradict God’s word.

John 3:8 (NASB95)

8 “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Proverbs 20:24 (NIV84)

24 A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.

How then can anyone understand his own way?

Now, a more sober minded person probably makes the connection right away to the  butterfly. I don’t. I’ve never been one for memorizing addresses in the Bible. I think it’s a good practice, this is not something I do. But I do read the word every day I read Psalms and Proverbs every day in particular. How many times had I run across that verse or meditated on it? That is how it resonates in my soul because of expose myself to God’s word and I recognize it instinctively as God speaking to me because it matches up with the primary text. So I think a key in using your testimony is recognizing God’s word in your testimony, recognizing the truth of His primary text, the actual scriptures. The assumption is that you’re in his word, his primary text on a regular basis.

In the neat thing is, every time I see a butterfly I’m reminded of God’s order in the chaos in my life. However, I still struggle and I need those reminders. It sometimes, I get so discouraged that I’m stumped, that even though I have the Scriptures and I have my own testimony, I question God’s faithfulness and I can’t remember it in my own life and when I look at the Scriptures I look at them as far far away like a fiction that applies to somebody else but me. So what you do then? I’ll give you some context. So people who know me have seen this picture recently on Facebook. I’m graduating this year from Whitworth with my Masters of education. Yay. But what I don’t post on Facebook is this… And this… And this… which results in… This

so all of a sudden I can’t remember God’s faithfulness in my life. All that comes to mind is all the disappointments I had in pursuing what I believe was God’s leading. And it isn’t that I haven’t had God’s faithfulness in my life it’s just that I can’t remember it all of a sudden. So I need to tap into source #3: God’s word written on the lives of other believers around me.

So in this case it was my wife Brenda. And she tells me a story. She had been at the end of her rope. It turns out when she got her Masters degree an undisclosed number of years ago, she sent out 200 letters nationwide and only got five responses and only three of those ended up being interviews and none of those three directly led to a job. She was about to go back to school and maybe change careers. But then six months later, one of  those interviews did lead indirectly to another job that she didn’t have to interview for, the job she still has today.  Listening to that I was reminded of very similar circumstances where God came through but at the last minute, right when I was about ready to give up. I had applied to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and  I was rejected…they told me that I needed to go back to school and prove myself academically since I didn’t have SAT scores or even a halfway decent GPA in high school. So they wanted me to go to school and earn credits that I wouldn’t able to transfer in just to get the grades to prove I was worth it or something. Really.  So, I was going to take that track. It seemed like a waste of time to and in the meantime, I was offered a paid position in Orange County as kind of a youth pastor for three Lutheran churches and the night that I was interviewed with the board of directors, I got letter or a phone call from Moody Northwest which is now just called Moody Bible Institute—Spokane. It turns out that I didn’t need to be accepted in a degree program to attend, I just needed to fill out a letter of intent. So, just when I was about to give up, God provided another way. I took the classes for the degree program, got the grades, reapplied, was accepted into the degree program, was able to transfer those credits in and I graduated in three years.

My point is that God has for each of us, walked us through various struggles in life and we all have a story to encourage one another with. I imagine that there are some people in this room going through a divorce that may be their choice or not their choice. But I also imagine that there are people in this room that have gone through that and have experienced healing for that. I’m sure there is a testimony to be sure there. I imagine that there are people in here who have struggled with addiction and I also imagine that their people in here who have overcome addiction and know what it’s like to be struggling in the midst of it. I imagine that there people in here who are aware that they are about to lose someone close to illness but I also know that there people in this room who have gone through that. I imagine that there people who are struggling with cancer I also know that there are people who have gone through that and overcome that and people who’ve lost that battle. There are sources of God’s word all around you and the reason why I point to sources other than the primary text is because God’s word written on your own life and the lives of those around you can be much more specific than many of the circumstances described in Scripture. But here’s the key:  If you aren’t familiar with the truth of the Scriptures it’s going to be very difficult to discern God’s Work and Word in your life or the life of others. Therefore, studying God’s the scriptures regularly is the key to properly discerning God’s Word written on your life and the lives of others

2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NIV84)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What then? What do we do after we’ve encouraged ourselves in the Lord. That is going to depend on the circumstances. David took the next step in front of them, sought God’s direction and then pursued the Amalekites. For some it might be steps of repentance and for others it may be continuing to wait on the Lord.

So what does happen to David? He and his men catch the Amalekites and get their wives and children back. The Philistines defeat Israel. Saul and His three sons are mortally wounded and the people ask David to be their king and for some reason, the Philistines become twice as mad at David and you can read about that later. The point is: God was faithful.

David was disappointed but not discouraged. He kept being his best. With that I would like to close with the story that actually inspired this sermon: Job Wanted by Teresa Bateman