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 KJV)
Amid great distress, scripture says David encouraged himself. What does this mean, and how did he do this?
Several events defined the precarious context in which David found himself. First, he was on the run from king Saul who had made it a kingdom goal to apprehend and kill David. Second, the Lords of the Philistines had just rejected David and his men who had been in hiding amongst them. Third, the Amalekites had attacked and captured the wives and children of David and his men. Finally, as though the preceding problems were not enough, David’s own followers wanted to stone him because of their anguish of heart for their families.
Despite these distressful events, David encouraged himself in the Lord. Evidently, there was no one, even amongst his own followers, who could encourage him. Encouraging himself means David rebuilt strength, courage, motivation, and possibly his will to will and trust in God. The cataclysmic events had, without question, shattered his inner strength. However, he responded differently. Rather than mourn over his tragic external circumstances or internal crushed heart, he began stirring up courage again—he encouraged himself. But how did he do this?
Though we are not told what David did in this verse, we can infer what he probably did from the Psalms he wrote. In Ps. 42:11, David said: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God… (Psalm 42:11 KJV). Here, we find David telling himself to hope in God when he was cast down or crushed inside. This was David’s secret to encouraging himself when he was cast down.
He encouraged himself in the Lord, not in himself. This self-rejuvenation was not mere positive thinking or having an optimistic outlook on life. David’s anchor was God—he encouraged himself in the Lord. He remembered God’s faithfulness and promises to him. He probably remembered how God saved him from the animals and Goliath. He remembered, perhaps, that Samuel had anointed him, and God spoke to him through the prophet that he would be the king of Israel. As he remembered and thought on these and many related things, strength stirred up, courage built up, and hope sprang up from within him!
Encourage yourself in the Lord amid that distressing situation!
What does it mean to encourage yourself in the Lord?
Apply the Word
David would have lost that battle of life had he lost the inner struggle. If the enemy wins that internal battle, he will win the battle in our health, ministry, spiritual life, family, finances, relationships, etc. Learn to rejuvenate strength and encourage yourself in the Lord like David.
Ask the Spirit to help you encourage yourself in distressful moments.