Day 82: When you’re at the end of yourself

He was supposed to be living in victory. After all, God had spared him the predicament of choosing between fighting against his people, the Israelites, and being killed by Achish for disloyalty to the Philistines.

David should have felt relieved. He should have went back to his city and breathed a sigh of contentment at having been saved once more.

Instead, he goes home to find that his city has been besieged by the Amalekites and burned to the ground. Scripture tells us all the people who had remained, even women and children, were taken captive.

David left victorious and arrived defeated.

How could he have known that in the absence of he and his men that the city would be the target of attacks? How could he have possibly known this was what they would return to.

To make matters worse all of his men have turned on him. They were so embittered toward David that they had plans to stone him.

Their captain and their friend. They now viewed him as the enemy.

“If it weren’t for David this would never have happened.”

“Look what he’s done to us. It’s all his fault.”

The soldiers blamed David for everything.

1 Samuel 30:6 begins “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.”

The darkness of their thought-lives stemmed from a heart of fear. They had returned home to find their most precious possessions were gone, possibly never to be seen again.

And their fear manifested itself in anger directed towards David. The situation they found themselves a part of was in no way David’s fault. But as their leader, he seemed the most appropriate person to subject to their fury and fear.

Naturally, David was “greatly distressed”. Notice how Scripture doesn’t say David was terrified or enraged. The Bible doesn’t tell us that David resented the men or made plans to reciprocate their mutiny.

Instead, Scripture does tell us that he felt great pain and sorrow. He too had suffered a loss in this circumstance, but he was approaching it from a different vantage point.

The rest of verse 6 reads “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

David, having come to the end of himself, realized his strength just wasn’t sufficient. The pain seemed too great, the sorrow too overbearing. He needed a touch from God.

He needed a touch from God.

So, he strengthened himself in the Lord.

He shed his own futile and sapped strength and donned the armor of God. He refueled himself with the Well that Never Runs Dry.

It may have been a slow process, and David might not have felt immediate boldness, but he knew the Source to draw from if he truly wanted victory.

Today has been one of those days where strength has seemed far away, a distant thought, a hopeful fantasy.

I even found myself walking to the store telling God I couldn’t do it anymore. I had officially reached the end of myself.

I needed Him. I needed Him. Desperately.

You see, sometimes it takes a little taste of defeat to realize victory is unattainable independent of God. It’s impossible to reach in solitude and in the futile strength of man.

David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. He drew on the endless power and might of the Infinite One to face the challenges of the day. Scripture goes on to tell us that David consulted God for wisdom on what the next step should be and God answered him.

God speaks when we unblock our ears and open our hearts. He speaks when we admit we are weak and can no longer feign the capacity to handle the struggles of day to day life without Him.

He waits for us to reach this point, to draw this conclusion so that we will learn who He is, and who are in Him.

Without Him, we are slaves to fear and worry. In Him, we have strength to say to the mountains “Move” and they will.

Choose the strength of the Lord, today. I want to encourage you through these words to strengthen yourself in the Lord! Cease striving and know that He is God and He is a good God.

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