“Encouraging Yourself in The Lord”
Psalm 13 / I Samuel 30
Psalm 13:1-6 (NKJV)
1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him"; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. 5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13 is a Psalm of David. David is a very discouraged man as he pens this psalm. Life is falling apart around him and he keeps crying, "How long?" vs. 1-2. Have you ever cried out to God, “How Long”… Does it feel like God takes forever to do something in your life?
In Verse 3, David cries out, "Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten my eyes…" Then in verse 4, we see that David had enemies that desired to prevail against him and see him moved (waver,slip, shake, fall).
From verse 5 we see the Psalm take a turn as if David gets ahold of himself, focuses on truth instead of his feelings, and by the end of the psalm he has encouraged himself in the Lord. vs. 5-6
We don't know for sure when this psalm was written, but it may have been during a time we read about in 1 Samuel 30. Let's turn there and see this.
1 Samuel 30:1-8 (NKJV)
1 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, 2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. 7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, "Please bring the ephod here to me." And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?" And He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail to recover all."
We see here that David lost everything, as did his comrades. What did they do? [I Sam 30:4] (they cried
like babies) - Weeping is fine, but it doesn't solve the problem.
But then comes the great statement in verse 6 "…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." This is what we saw in Psalm 13.
There are times of discouragement in this life, but we can't allow them to swallow us up. We must be able to encourage ourselves in the Lord. How did David do this?
First, David turned around in faith and sought God. Psalm 13:5a; 1 Samuel 30:8
David immediately “enquired” of the Lord. This is the most important principle and it was the first thing David did. He sought God. This is so foreign to many people who do not know the Lord. The world's philosophy is, "You got problems and you're discouraged? Take some medicine, get drunk, go out to the nightclubs, party - you'll forget all about your problems."But when your sin binge is over, your problems are still there and haven't gone anywhere. Christian, remember this - God should not be your last resort; He should be your first resource.You say, "Does God really want to hear about my problems and difficulties?” Of course, he wants to hear us, look at these scriptures….
1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)
7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Sometimes I hear Christians say, "But I don't feel worthy to stand before God and talk to Him." What did David say to God in Psalm 13:5? “I trusted in your mercy” God is a merciful God. If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you stand in the mercy and grace of God Almighty. Not because of what you have done, but because of what Christ has done on your behalf. Only one thing makes us worthy - Jesus Christ! When life knocks you down and you need to encourage yourself, the first step is to turn in faith and seek God. There is no substitute for this.
Second, David believed God's Word and rejoiced in it. [Psalm 13:5b; 1 Samuel 30:9]
David received God's Word in verse 8, and verse 9 begins, "So David went…" God promised David salvation (deliverance) from the situation he was in, and David rejoiced in this and acted on it. Psalm 13:5b.
When we are discouraged, there comes a point where we have to move our eyes off of the problem and choose to focus on and believe God's Word. David could have allowed his grief and sorrow to destroy him, but he said, "I've got God's Word - I'm going to believe it, trust it, and act on it." He said, "My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation."
I was reading a little note about Martin Luther and how he studied the Bible. He said, "I study my Bible like I gather apples. I shake the whole tree first that the ripest might fall. Then I shake each limb and when I have shaken each limb I shake each branch. And then I shake every twig. And then I look under every leaf. I search the Bible as a whole, like shaking the whole tree. Then I shake every limb, I study book after book. Then I shake every branch, I give attention to the chapters. Then I shake every twig or a careful study of the paragraphs and sentences and words and meanings.
"The Word is such a unique book. When I am tired, the Bible is my bed. Or in the dark, the Bible is my light. When I am hungry, it is living bread, or fearful it is armor for the fight. When I am sick it is healing medicine or lonely throngs of friends I find therein. If I would work the Bible is my tool. Or play, it is the harp of tuneful sound. If I am ignorant, it is my school. If I am sinking, it is solid ground. If I am cold, the Bible is my fire and it gives wings if boldly I aspire. Does gloom oppress? The Bible is a sun. Midst ugliness it is a garden fair. Am I athirst, how cool its waters run or stifled what a vivifying air? Since thus thou givest of Thyself to me, how should I give myself, great Book, to thee.
Third, David sang unto the Lord. Psalm 13:6a
This is a constant theme throughout the book of Psalms because many of the psalms were songs that Israel used in worship. Many were songs that David wrote at various times in his life. Let's read Psalm 40:1-4 (NKJV)
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined to me And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth-- Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear And will trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
I truly believe that after a person is saved and becomes a child of God, God puts a new song in his mouth.When you are discouraged, there is nothing like Christ-honoring music to lift your spirits and get you focused on the right things. Here is another powerful encouragement from the Apostle Paul,
Ephesians 5:18-21 (NKJV)
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Do you sing unto the Lord? If Jesus were riding in your car, would you turn the radio station? This should tell you something. The Christian is no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit after salvation, therefore our music should reflect our new identity. Our music should not glorify the things of the flesh, but the things of the Spirit of God. Do you want to encourage yourself? Sing unto the Lord!
Fourth, David focused on God's goodness. Psalm 13:6b
When David pursued the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 30, he had 600 men with him, but 200 were so tired they could not go on. God gave David a great victory and they recovered their families and all their possessions plus a great spoil from the enemy. When they came back and met the 200 who were faint, some of the 400 did not want to give the 200 anything but their families. They wanted to send them away empty-handed. David would have no part in this kind of thinking. 30:23-24
David was too focused on God's goodness to be angry, bitter, and stingy. Notice he said, "The Lord hath given us…" He had been through a tragic and terrible trial, yet he remained focused on God's goodness.
The same is true in Psalm 13:6 when David recognized that the "Lord…hath dealt bountifully with me." In this psalm, David goes from total perplexity and depression to rejoicing and singing unto the Lord. Why is this? He began to focus on God's goodness.
The Apostle Paul was in prison for preaching the gospel, yet he proclaimed, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." Paul's prison epistles are filled with Paul praising the Lord for all the blessings he had been given in Christ. We read in
Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
When you are discouraged, have you ever just knelt down to thank God for the bountiful blessings He has provided for you in Christ? It will change your entire perspective on whatever is going on in your life.
One of Satan's greatest weapons that he uses against us is discouragement. We all go through times of discouragement. This is normal. But the question becomes, "What will you do about it?" Are you going to allow it to swallow you up or will you overcome it?