God Gives Strength

Jim Cymbala

I want to read about one of those crucial moments of life when men and women are made or broken. Those moments of awesome consequences which determine the future years, whether good or bad. I would like to suggest to you, this is the real drama of life.

TEXT: 1 Sam. 29:1-2

Now the Philistines gathered together all of their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel. And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands; but David
and his men passed on in the reward with Achish.

You might wonder what in the world is David doing with the Philistines. The Bible says God anointed young David as a lad. Samuel anointed him and said “You’re God’s” man. You’re going to be King.” Saul was King when David killed Goliath. King Saul was so madly and insanely jealous of David because God was with David. This is a sign of someone who is about to destroy himself. David was driven away from his house and his people. David ended up living with the enemies of Gods’ people. Even though David had killed Goliath, God was with him. The Philistines accepted him because they knew Saul was after him. The Philistines are going to fight Gods’ people. Guess which side David is on? He’s on the wrong side. He’s with the Philistines!

1 Samuel 29:3-4

The said the princes of the Philistines. What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days,
or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day? and the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow
return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his
masters? Should it not be with the heads of those men.”

In other words, we can’t fight with David. In the middle of the battle, he will turn and start to kill us.

I Samuel 29:5-11

Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands? Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the Lord liveth, thou has been
upright and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight; for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day; nevertheless the lords favor thee not.
Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines. And David said unto Achish, But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not fight against the enemies of my lord the king? And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God; notwithstanding the princes of the
Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants that are come with thee; and as soon as ye be up early in the morning,
and have light, depart. So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

I Samuel 30:1-6

And 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; And 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. So 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. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives,
Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged (STRENGTHENED) himself in the Lord his God.

David is a man after Gods” own heart. He’s Gods’ anointed and future King of Israel.

In the very battle that’s about to happen, God is going to have Saul and his sons killed. God’s going to trace and bring David back to his wives and children. All of his men are going to find them. They are going to
slay the Amalekite. After Saul has proclaimed him king God is going to take David, who was living with the Philistines, and have him sit on the throne as King of Israel. When Jesus Christ is born, he is not going to be called the son of Moses, or the son of Elisha or the son of Abraham. Jesus is going to be called the son of David.

There’s a great future coming for David. God’s going to find those wives. God’s going to make sure he can find those Amalekites who burned his house down to the ground. God is going to punish Saul for all his
wickedness. David is going to become King. We all know the glorious moments of victory when God helped David kill the bear and the lion and when Goliath ranted and raved at David. God had David slay Goliath with the stones and sling. Now everything was recovered, plus more; how God brought Saul down in the battle, David was raised up to the throne, David Wrote all those Psalms. God established David as king, warrior and psalmist. The bible says David was a man after Gods’ own heart.

How often in the midst of all those glorious moments, we forget the realities of life. We overlook the silent anguish and the incredible temptation, the bewilderment of those moments of intense stress.

In other words, David, who is the symbol of all believers, was twisted, tried, and shapen by God. If most of us went through what David did, you would wonder how we could have even breathed

Do you think that David was made a man of God when he killed Goliath? HE WAS NOT! Do you think that only when David was Writing Psalms that Gods’ hand was upon him? NO! Do you think that because Gods’ hand was on David that everything worked out in life? NEVER! In fact when you put your hand in the hand of Gods” and you say “God, have your way in my life.” I want you to know, even if You’re especially anointed of God (and especially if that is e), you WILL go through some incredible times. If You’re a follower of David, of testing and trials, and forget your friends understanding them, then you don’t even understand them.

Out in the Midwest, in the farming part of this country, they have a club in the high schools called the 4-H club. The 4-H club has lots of horticultural things, having bazaars and fairs. They try to see who can raise the biggest cow or Pig, grow the best crop, or bake the best cake.

God has David, his anointed enter a very unique 4-H club. This anointed, man of God, separated as a young man, finds himself homeless. Here he is, walking with Gods” anointing on him, and then he is chased out of his own country. Now put yourself in David’s’ shoes. He had friends with whom he grew up, he had a family, and yet he was driven from them like a mad dog. He was driven away from his family for no other reason than this insane egomaniac. Saul said

“Why do I have the people singing about David when God put me on the throne? This man, David troubles me.” David is driven away and he ends up with the Philistines.

Now David is with the Philistines and they’re going to battle with the Israelites. He’s ready to go fight for the Philistines. God is not with the Israelites because of Saul. When He’s all ready to go to battle the
princes say, “No! No! Get David out of here.” The Kingdoms and Philistines say, “What do you mean “Get him out of here”. “He has lived with us for years. You guys tell me one thing that he has ever done wrong. We don’t care about his past record. We don’t trust him. He is the one who killed Goliath! He has been with us for years. He has defected to us because of that insane, Saul. NO! NO! This is what he is going to do. In the heat of the battle, He’s going to turn and fight against us.”

The King has to tell David, “David, you can’t fight with Israel, but you Can’t fight with us either.” David was homeless; a man without a country. Not only that, but right away he runs into intense heartache. He hears the news that he doesn’t belong to anyone, so he goes back to his house. He finds that he is homeless and now he has heartache because when he goes back to Ziklag, there is no more Ziklag. The children that
he left are not there. He has no idea where they are. The city has been burned down to the ground. He’s Gods’ anointed and he can’t even find his wives. Imagine the heartache and the anguish that Gods” anointed is going through. Talk about serving God and having everything work out! I can’t find one thing working out for him!

The bible says that they lifted their voices with the men who had lost everything. They wept until they had no more power to weep. They ran out of tears. The tear ducts in their eyes ran dry. There was no more they
could cry. Not only heartache, but feelings of helplessness. They don’t even know where their wives are located. They have no more property, they’ve lost their cattle, they’ve lost everything. There is no more
Ziklag. The only remains are smoldering ashes. No one knows where they went. Which way did they go? There is nobody left to ask because there is nobody left!

Not only was David homeless, and full of heartache and feelings of helpless and so overcome by frustration and a sense of powerlessness, but now on top of all of that, He’s facing hostility.

The men fighting with him are so frustrated because their wives are also gone. Their houses are gone and David doesn’t know where to start looking for their wives. “Why have we been following this guy, David, anyway? He says that he is Gods” anointed. We should stone him.” they said.

When someone turns against you, that’s tough. When your enemies are against you, you can understand that. When the people who are fighting with you, turn against you, you’re in trouble!

Homeless, heartache, helpless, and now hostility; This is the pressure of the moment. This is going to bring out the bravest of David’s’ soul. This is the turning point of his life. This is met with the greatest
testimony. I want you to take home with you these 9 little words, “But David strengthened (encouraged) himself in the Lord his God.”

This would be one of those crucial moments when anybody could have broke down and said “What the sense?”. If you ever wanted to let the flesh come out and give into the lust and the cravings of the flesh, don’t you think it would have been then? This would be your way of justifying yourself. David could have justified himself by saying:

“What’s the sense of living for God?”
“What the sense of living a holy life?”
“What’s the sense of reading my bible?”
“What the sense of trying to live for God everyday?”
“Look at what I get for trying to live for God; heartache, homeless, hostility and feeling so helpless.”

The pressure that was on him that moment was intense. He had no one but God. But praise God for God! David strengthened himself in the Lord his God! He didn’t go and get outside help. He got his strength from the Lord his God.

Those nine words overcame the greatest temptations of him, and testing and trials imaginable. David takes his frustrations and instead of bitterness and loss of equilibrium, he strengthened himself. It didn’t
break David.

There are moments in life, saints, when the bottom falls out and you are tempted to give in to the flesh and get bitter. This can be manifested by anger, getting drunk, doing drugs, or even giving in to the lower
impulses of the flesh. David couldn’t handle what happened to him, but instead of going wild, he grabbed hold of God until God lifted him up and gave him the strength to hold on tight.

Sometimes the greatest thing in life is just to “hold”. If we lose, we lose but, we’re going to fight. We’re not going to quit. We’re not going to give up! The real moments of life are when God permits us to go
into the furnace and nothing seems to be working out for us. Do you blow up and give in? Do you do like David? David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

The Bible says in Psalms 29:11 “The Lord will give strength to his people.” Hear me friend! The Lord gives strength to his people.

There are moments in life when you just have to tell God, “My heart is broken, I’ve been disappointed, and the people who are closest to me, are against me. I don’t know what to do and I’ve lost all my strength!”
God gives strength to his people. It’s more important than any kind of strength you have in your arm muscle. It’s strength in your soul! Hold steady and do not run. Hang in there and say as Job did, “Though He slay me, I’m going to trust Him.”. You don’t have the faintest idea what going on and You’re hurting inside, but God’s going to give you strength. You’re going to live for him no matter what demons laugh at
you. Only the Lord can give you that kind of strength. You’ve got to go to a higher up. You’ve got to go to Jesus Christ! He gives strength to His people. There is an spiritual operation called the infusion of
strength. There is an operating table that God has for you when you come to him helpless, heartbroken, homeless, and with hostility. Wait in Gods’ presence. Those tears are real. God gives strength to His people.

The Bible says that he found strength. To be strong means from the roots, to fasten upon, to cleave to, to lay a hold on, to seize, to be strong from. David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. David’s’
spirit reached out and got ahold of God although the winds were blowing and he had no idea what was going on. He somehow, in his spirit, latched on to God. The winds couldn’t move him because he was attached to God.

It’s no wonder that he wrote in Psalms 84:5 “Blessed is the man whose strength is in him”. So be strong in the Lord. I know whenever the devil comes against me, you (Jesus) are My strength. I sing to you (Jesus)
with all my strength. Let’s rejoice today because we are the people who say that we don’t have any strength but when the storm arises, we know who is our strength. My strength is in the Lord, Jesus Christ. I don’t
have any strength, I have His strength. He is my strength. How in the world are we going to help people and encourage them unless God has put us through the test. In the time of storm, you can hang onto Him and He won’t let you move.

Do you find one complaint in this whole story from David? No! He praised the name of the Lord. He strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Even if nobody ever sees you do it, It’s the most important moment of your life. Devil, You’re defeated because I’m going to strengthen myself in the Lord. The Lord gives strength to His people.

This is what God said: “My grace is sufficient, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” The bigger your problems, that’s when His strength really shines. The bigger the problem, or Mountain, the bigger the
bulldozer he sends in to clean up the mess!

When you have the 4-h’s: Helplessness, homeless, heartaches, and hostility, don’t panic or run! Strengthen yourself in the Lord your God. You have no excuse for his grace is sufficient. Let God pour His strength over you.