1 Sam 30:6 – And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. ESV
The scene is this:
David and his 600 men had gone to fight with and for the Philistines, because he had pledged his group to serve their king. There was an upcoming battle ahead with the Israelites under Saul, and the Philistine leadership complained to the king about David and his men, this was reasonable because they were Israelites themselves, and therefore they may not be trustworthy in the upcoming battle. So David and his men were released from their pledge, and they took off home.
Three days later they got to their home in Ziklag to discover that the Amalekites had raided the town in their absence, burned it to the ground and taken every person they found there captive, with all the material goods they could carry. This included David’s two wives. Everybody slipped into grief, and eventually every one of his men turned against him in bitterness, and started talk of stoning him.
Did David run? No, he engaged in a practice we all ought to take note of:
Our scripture says “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” The Hebrew word used here is “wayitchazeeq” (root word chazaq) which is more often translated as encouraged himself instead of strengthened himself.
In Christian recovery the need for self-encouragement is evident. We are constantly receiving messages of condemnation, negative criticisms and heavy judgments. Some of it comes from inside our own minds. We must all take a lesson from David’s example here and self-encourage by remembering the promises of God, especially this one:
Rom 8:31 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ESV
Later in our story we see that God delivers the Amalekites into the hands of David and his men, restoring all that had been taken, plus the wealth of the enemy.
The take-away from this is that there are times when we need to practice self-encouragement, it is something we can do for ourselves and it is a scriptural activity. David went from feeling that the world was against him, to becoming encouraged and then he went humbly to God to ask Him what to do next. (1 Sam 30:7-8)
When we practice self-encouragement we are engaging in what is described here as “work out”:
Phil 2:12-13 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. ESV
In our recovery there are just some things we have to do ourselves, and self-encouragement is one of them.