Examples Of God’s People
There will be times when no one seems to be available to encourage you or me. Maybe others are not aware of our needs, or maybe they’re unsympathetic to our problems. Maybe they are submerged in their own problems.
We read in biographies where the missionaries are isolated, where there is no one to provide a ministry to them. How can they encourage themselves? Let’s look at some examples where some of God’s people, at times in their lives, needed some encouragement. David is one example and also Elijah and Moses. We will focus on David.
1 Samuel 30
1And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 2And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. 3So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6And 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. 7And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 8And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. 9So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. 10But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor. 11And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; 12And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. 13And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. 14We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire. 15And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company. 16And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 17And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. 18And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 19And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all. 20And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil. 21And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them. 22Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. 23Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. 25And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day. 26And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD; 27To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir, 28And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa, 29And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites, 30And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach, 31And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.
The Scripture, 1 Samuel 17:40-58, tells the story of David and Goliath, a giant 9 ½ feet tall. God won the battle through the young warrior and after David slew the giant, he came back from his place of victory and the women were singing this song: “Saul has slain his 1,000, but David has slain his 10,000.” Everyone thought it was a good song, but Saul. He was not impressed and from that moment Saul became David’s bitter enemy and he hated him and he hunted him, and it was the total focus of his life to kill him.
1 Samuel 17:40-58 (David and Goliath, the giant)
40And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. 41And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. 42And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. 43And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. 45Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands. 48And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 50So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. 51Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. 52And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. 53And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents. 54And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent. 55And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. 56And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is. 57And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.
1 Samuel 18:6-9 (a different encounter)
6And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8And Saul was very wroth and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
David began to run for his life and life became more complicated for him. David encouraged himself in the Lord; so says Scripture. Who else was there to turn to during his fleeing? David had a Friend. His name was God and David spoke often with Him in prayer.
Have you ever felt the same, needed a friend, a REAL FRIEND? Have you ever been there, felt that need in your own life?
Let’s think about some ways to encourage ourselves. What is our part in this “adventure”? I believe that God has given to all His children everything we need for victory. We can encourage ourselves through “solitude.” It doesn’t have much meaning in today’s world because we live in a noisy, busy world. Silence and solitude are not thought of in this age. Anyone who thinks that his time is so valuable that he cannot find time to keep quiet and be alone will eventually not be valuable to anyone except himself.
We can look through the Bible and find some of God’s choice vessels who were isolated and needed encouragement. God put Elijah in a cave where he could hear the still small voice of God. God often programmed isolation into the lives of people He wanted to use. He put Moses on the back side of the desert for 40 years before He let him be the leader of the Exodus.
I really believe that in our culture today, if we are ever going to learn discipline and self-encouragement, we’re going to have to find the time to be alone with God, our Creator.
Suzanne Wesley was the mother of 19 children. Most have read about two of her sons. The story is told that she was so committed to solitude and that the only way she could be alone with God during the day was that she would pull her apron over her head and have her quiet time. The children all knew that mother was praying and having her quiet time with the Lord.
We don’t have to work that hard, but there is ministry in solitude, being alone and quiet so that you can talk to God and God can talk to you.
Have you noticed that wherever you go in the elevator or in the department store, there is music to shop by? In the airport there’s music; you can dial a business and while you’re waiting for an answer, there’s music piped in. There’s never a place that you can be quiet unless you make it your purpose to find that place or create it. I’m sure David did that. His Psalms are filled with phrases that help us to understand what is was like to get alone with God…in a cave by himself or on a mountainside as he cared for his sheep. In the Psalms he wrote, there are wonderful expressions to remind us that there is strength in solitude.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:1, 2
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
1 Samuel 30:6
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.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
We have many ministry opportunities that we are to do for others. As Christians, encouragement is just one thing, but, when given and received, it’s so important to the recipient. Some of the saddest words in the Old Testament was when someone cried out “No man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4). It shouldn’t be that way. Well, while it may be that way out there in the world, it should never be that way here with God’s people in the community of believers we know as the church.
The Scripture tells us what we’re supposed to do, to
1. admonish one another,
2. build up one another,
3. pray for one another,
4. carry burdens for one another,
5. confess our sins to one another,
6. submit to one another,
7. help one another physically, materially
8. and encourage one another.
These are just a few of the things that God has told us to do for one another.
There is no substitute that can prepare us for these tasks as Christians like
1. being on our knees,
2. talking to God,
3. reading His Word so that we then know His Word and can then
4. obey His instructions.
I love to read. Let’s remember that any book that we might buy, if the author has anything to say that helps us in any way, he/she got it from God’s Word. We’ve gotten to the place in our culture, as Christians, that we will read anything before we read the Bible. Need encouragement? Search for it in God’s Word.
We can encourage ourselves through songs and through music. I believe that apart from the Scriptures, our personal relationship with Jesus, the music that God has given us of the faith, the hymns, and many inspirational songs do offer blessings and encouragement to the soul. I thought of this song recently and found it encouraging.
Through it all, through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus;
I’ve learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.
The place where encouragement ought to be the standard, where it ought to happen, where it ought to be the most normal and natural is in the Body of Christ, in the church of Jesus Christ.
The church where we come on the Lord’s day should be a place where hurting people could come and find strength and nourishment for their souls. The church should be a place where we come and get “built up” and not “beat up.” I believe that’s the blueprint for God’s church.
Five times in Thessalonians and Hebrews we are instructed to have a ministry of encouragement that is involving us in the ministry about Christ and to His people, not a ministry of discouragement, but a ministry of love and understanding and encouragement. The Lord knows, we don’t have to look very far to find it…it being encouragement on the pages of the Bible.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was right on target when he said, when you fall down, you need somebody to pick you up and to help you get back up on your feet.
That’s why the ministry of encouragement in the church is such a high priority with God. He wants us to be encouraged.
There are 15 passages in the New Testament that talk about our “one another ministry” and five of them have to do with encouragement. All five of them are in two New Testament letters, one in the first book of Thessalonians and the other one in the book of Hebrews.
1 Thessalonians 4:18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(What words? 1 Thessalonians 4)
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
1 Thessalonians 5:14
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
How can you comfort yourself and others? Notice these 6 “action verbs” in the above four Scriptures:
(5) Be patient
It’s application time!
Give yourself to others in ministry, as unto Christ, as ministry unto God and for His glory, His glory alone.
That’s HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOURSELF!
Author: Nannie Mae Jordan
(Transcribed by Joyce Carter Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)