Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, November eighteenth. If you've ever felt like everything was against you, today's podcast teaches the important skill of encouraging ourselves. What do you do when you hit one of those times and whatever's going on in your life you can't tell anybody about?
Or you don't have a friend that's confidential enough to share it with, so it's just you. What do you do with those heavy, heavy weighty heartaches, depressions? They come into your life and there's nobody to turn to. Well, listen to see what David did here, and I want to show you how he did it.
Listen to what he says. Moreover, in verse six, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him. For all the people were embittered.
Listen, they turned bitter, each one because of his sons, they'd lost their families and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord. Now, strengthen himself means he encouraged himself. How do you encourage yourself? What do you do?
How do you go about that? So, I want you to listen carefully and I want you to think about this. There are times when you have situations you can't tell anybody about, what do you do?
Do you get depressed, stay depressed, get so distressed you don't know what to do next, and you do something that's foolish probably? Or do you do what he did? So, here's what he did, and that is he paused and got quiet before God. That's all he could do.
In other words, he couldn't run. He paused. Now, the reason he paused was this, because oftentimes when we get in a situation that's very difficult and hard to handle, people want to make a snap decision.
And they're motivated by, get me out of this right now, I don't deserve this, I don't want this, whatever it might be. And oftentimes he can't get out of it. He didn't do that. He paused and thought.
He didn't run. He didn't make a decision. He paused and thought about where he was and what the situation was. What do you do when you get in that kind of a situation? Do you stop and think, Lord, what shall I do? Or do you just make a decision? And oftentimes the decision we make is motivated by on the basis of what we think.
I can handle this and sometimes you can't. And my way will be as good as anybody else. No, a godly person is going to stop and think, pause and think, what shall I do?
How shall I handle this? And I want you to turn to the forty-sixth Psalm. And you remember David wrote so many Psalms. And I want you to look at this forty-sixth Psalm and listen to what it says. Verse one, God is our refuge and strength.
They were exhausted to the end of their rope. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. That word, presence, is very important. A very present help in trouble. Therefore, because He is, we will not fear, though the earth should change, the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and though the mountains quake at its swelling, that is, everything is clouded, nothing's clear.
What shall we do? And he writes this Psalm and come down to the tenth verse, if you will, and here's what he says, See, striving, and know that I am God. Wouldn't you agree that oftentimes we strive with God? Lord, what about this?
What about that? In other words, see, God will show you something. I don't believe that's it, God. We strive with Him. That is, we argue with Him. We have difficulty in just accepting what He wants to say to us. And the wonderful thing about pausing and being quiet, it gives you an opportunity to let the furor in your heart, the anger in your heart, or the greed of the bitterness or resentment or hostility or whatever it might be, it gives it an opportunity to just settle a moment. What shall I do, Lord?
Not move too fast, not move in some foolish direction. For example, where would He go? He didn't know where His family was. He didn't know where the enemy was. And besides that, He had six hundred soldiers who wanted to stone Him to death. What alternative did He have? The wisest thing He could do to encourage Himself was, first of all, get quiet before God.
And many people don't know how to do that. They just think, I got to act. No, you don't have to act. Listen, if you're in a position that is difficult, you don't know what to do next, whatever the situation may be, you just stop and think, Lord, you said stop, don't strive with you, just wait upon You. And I think you and I need to stop and think, if I'm facing one of these things, what do I do? First of all, I stop and ask myself the question, Lord, what would You have me to do at this point? You don't act first. We're to ask for guidance, God.
What would You have me to do? And the Scripture gives us illustration after illustration, verse after verse, about asking God. Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto you. For the Lord wants us to ask Him. He wants us to stop and seek His wisdom and His guidance.
Listen, think about this. You can't get in any kind of predicament that God doesn't have the right answer for. In fact, He knew all about that you were going to get into it. He knew all about how to get you out of it. He knew exactly what it was going to take to encourage your heart into a situation so you wouldn't give up and you wouldn't make a decision that you would regret later on.
And many people make decisions when they come to those tough times that they regret for the rest of their life. And so, by encouraging Himself, He got real quiet. And then He made the wise decision, and now, Lord, what would You have me to do? And think about this, God doesn't have to come up with a plan because He's omniscient. He's already seen all the message you're going to get into in the very beginning. He already has the right plan to bring you through them, difficulties, hardships that other people bring on you, difficulties and hardships we bring upon ourselves, things that we can't control. He already has the answer. He doesn't have to say, all right, now let's figure this out.
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, let's get together. No, He already knows because, you see, He has a will for your life. When you're out of His will, something's going to happen. In His will, something's going to happen. Anytime we're willing to acknowledge our inadequacy and ask Him to give us guidance and direction for our life, He will.
And that's exactly what He did. So, in stopping and asking the Lord what to do, here's what He did. The Scripture says He went to Abiotha, who was the priest, and seeking a decision. Now, the priest had this vest.
It was sort of in a square, and there were twelve stones in that, and each one represented one of the tribes of Israel. And we don't know anything else about that effort except a few references to it, and nobody has an answer to that except, David knew and felt responsible for getting to the priest. He asked God what he should do. And if you'll turn to verse seven of the thirtieth chapter, then David said to Abiotha the priest, the son of Ahimelech, Please bring me the ephod. So Abiotha brought the ephod to David. David inquired of the Lord, so he's talking to God now, saying, Shall I pursue the band, this band?
Shall I overtake them? And he said to him, Pursue, for you will surely overtake them, and you will surely rescue all. So, he sought the Lord, and God made it clear to him what he should do. Now, think about this. When you're asking God about something and you don't quite get it clear and you're saying, Lord, could that possibly be true?
Here's what you do. You open the Word of God. You ask Him to show you how to read. You may read something you've never read before in your life.
It's been there the whole time, but you just hadn't read it. You'd be amazed at the times God will speak to you clearly through His Word, very, very clearly. God is committed to showing you and me what to do and where to go no matter what.
And sometimes we don't have anybody else to ask. And notice what He said, that David strengthened himself. That is, he encouraged himself. He encouraged himself to do what? To seek the Lord. He encouraged himself to be obedient to God, whatever God told him. He encouraged himself. There are times when you and I have to encourage ourselves.
We don't have anybody else. As we said, there's some things you don't want to share with anybody else, some things you can't tell anybody else. And so, you're discouraged, you're depressed, you're down, you're out. We say, well, how can I encourage myself?
Well, you stop and pause and think, okay, here's where I am. What does the Word of God tell me? Am I going to listen to God or am I not? And you see, many times, God will tell us what to do and we won't do it. You say, well, that couldn't be right. That's not right. Well, He told them, well, you head out in this direction.
That's what He did. Listen, God will never tell you chapter one if chapter two's not going to be there. He's going to show us what to do and when to do it. I may not understand it. I may not understand it at all.
That's not the issue. The issue is I'm to do whatever He says do. I'm to obey Him. Now, He says He encouraged Himself. So, stopping and pausing and listening and getting a message from God. But one other thing that's very important, that is, to encourage myself, which I'm sure He did, He recalled. Listen, He recalled God's help in previous times. And I want you to think about something.
Watch this carefully. You are making history in your life. Look back over your life, how God has worked. Times when you thought you had to give up and quit and just walk away. Or when you just want to give up and quit anyway.
You're making history in your life. That is, God has come through in the past. He's helped you in this situation, that situation, this situation.
You say, but never anything like that. Well, let's just add to history. There is not anything God can't do to help you through whatever you may be going through.
And sometimes we just forget how good He's been in the past and what He's done. And so, when I see what happened here, think back. Think back how I rescued you. And He had to think back how you rescued Him from Saul and the difficulties and heartaches and Goliath and all the other things He went through. And this is a powerful, powerful means of getting us through discouragement. And that is, what has God done in the past in my life?
And so, this is exactly what He did. He began to recall how God had worked in His life before. Think about when you had been in a tough spot, really discouraged. What could you have thought about that happened before?
If you'd have thought about that. Well, God helped me through that. And somebody says, but I'm not sure He's going to help me this time. Well, let me tell you, God doesn't change. Now, you know, we sing all about Almighty God and we believe that He's the same yesterday, today, forever. And He loves us. His love doesn't change. And so, whatever situation we're in, He is going to be there to give us direction and guidance and encourage our hearts. And when I look how God worked in David's life, He said He encouraged Himself.
How did He encourage Himself? Same way you and I are too. We're to pause when something happens.
Don't make a fast decision. We're to ask for God's guidance. We're to get in His Word.
We're to recall what He's done for us in the past. God, You brought me through that, You'll bring me through this. You took me through this situation, You'll take me through this. You were faithful then, You'll be faithful today.
I'm going to trust You. Then, of course, we are to obey Him. He said, Here's what I want you to do, pursue them. Suppose He'd have said, Well, you know, I don't know how many there are.
And we're only six hundred. I don't know where, in other words, when He said pursue, that's exactly what He meant. Now, watch this. If I'm going to encourage myself, I've got to be willing to do what He says, even though I may be fearful like the very thought of it. So, what encouraged David in an impossible situation? Lost all his family. They grieved until they couldn't grieve anymore. Getting ready to get stoned to death and all of a sudden God says, Challenge your men to follow you and I will show you what to do.
And that is exactly what he did. They found this one Egyptian soldier that the Philistines had cast him aside because he got sick and he couldn't fight in battle, so they just told him to get out there and die. And hadn't had any water or food in three days. So, when David found him, looked like one of the enemy. He asked him where he'd been, what happened. So, he told him all about that, for example. And as a result, what happened? His six hundred men, they headed in that direction.
But watch this. God wants to be in control and get all the glory. When they got to a certain river, two hundred of them said, I'm too tired, I can't go any longer. So, that's one third of His army has checked out. We just can't fight anymore. They were dead tired and worn out and morally destroyed because of their families and so forth and said, We can't go anymore. So, what did David do? Watch this.
You listen carefully. Because God said, pursue them. He believed exactly what God said, knowing that God knew that two hundred, one third of His army won't even be able to fight. And the Amalekites, there were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. In fact, the Scripture says when they found them, they were scattered out everywhere, camping. There was so many of them, they were just everywhere.
He only has four hundred men. So, what happens? They attack and kill them. Got all their wives back, all their children back because they didn't kill anybody, they just took them. Got their wives back, got their children back and got all their belongings.
They got everything back. Look how God operated. David got quiet. He listened to God. He did exactly what God told him to do. Now, he went from absolute total discouragement facing the loss of his family and death, facing all of that, and now God has led him to be victorious over his enemy. When I read this, I think, Lord, and here's what it says, David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening.
They fought all day long. David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day. And not a man of them escaped except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled.
So the guys who didn't stay to fight, they took off. So David recovered all the Amalekites had taken and rescued his two wives. But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves, David brought it all back. So David had captured all the sheep, cattle, which the people drove ahead of the livestock, and they said, This is David's spoil.
Look what David did. When he came to the two hundred men back here, he said, Well, I don't think we, we just can't handle it. We can't fight. And so the men who fought said, They don't get anything. They didn't fight. David said, Yes, they do. We're going to give them as much as we gave the fighters because somebody had to stay by the stuff back here.
And so I value them. And he knew that those two hundred back here had done their best. They were worn out. They couldn't do anything else. If you've got soldiers who can't fight, they're not a help. They're a hindrance. So when he got back, he gave them everything that they lost.
And so David experienced an awesome deliverance by Almighty God. Now, when you think about situations that you face in life, honestly, what do you do when you get real disturbed about something or depressed about something and you're just stressed out? I wouldn't dare have you raise your hand. But if I were you to say, How many of you, your first response is call the doctor? First response, go to the medicine cabinet. I've got to take something. First response, I've got to talk to somebody.
You know what? God is the great physician. And He's the one who heals our hurt hearts. I don't think any doctor has got anything in a bottle or in something that they want to give you a shot with that can do what God Almighty can do. I'm not opposed to medicine.
I'm just simply saying many times we resort to man rather than Almighty God. Listen to Him. Be quiet. Don't jump.
Just wait. And whatever He says do, do it. And listen, when somebody says, If I were you, here's what I would do.
Let this be your first thought. You are not me and you do not know what you would do. I want to know what God wants me to do, not what somebody else wants me to do. Now that doesn't mean you should never ask for advice or counsel. But we're talking about when you've got things that you don't want to share with anybody else. We've talked about helping each other and encouraging each other. What about when it's just you and you have nowhere to go but to God? Can you trust Him?
Yes, you can. Thank you for listening to Encouraging Ourselves. If you'd like to listen to more encouraging messages like these, visit our 24-7 web radio station at InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-18 06:03:50 / 2022-11-18 06:12:13 / 8