In 1 Samuel 30v6 we are told "David strengthened himself in the Lord his God." Given the circumstances, this was amazing. This chapter of scripture tells us of David returning with his men to Ziklag with his men to find that the Amalekites had attacked and taken everything, including their wives and children. The devastation of the men was so great that they spoke of stoning David.
I wonder what we would do in such a position. The temptation would be to panic, to run, or perhaps to start complaining to the Lord. But "David strengthened himself in the Lord his God." He drew strength from His relationship with God. We are told in Isaiah 40v31 that strength comes from waiting on the Lord. Not even asking at this stage, but adoring Him and looking upon His beauty -"One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple" (Psalm 27v4 - note the theme of this psalm is rest in the midst of conflict).
Having strengthened himself, David then sought God's guidance (1 Sam 30v7-8), and the Lord brought revelation. Why is it that we so often fail to hear God's voice in the midst of pressure? Often fear, panic, or discouragement set in and we do not strengthen ourselves in the Lord our God. David strengthened himself and was then ready to hear the voice of God.
I find this passage a great personal challenge, but I am encouraged to learn how David was able to get to this point. 1 Samuel 23v16 says "Then Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God" (italics mine). David learned some years prior to 1 Samuel 30, through fellowship with Jonathan, how to gain strength in the Lord.
This is the power of fellowship. This is the power that keeps me going as a pastor and helps me in times of trouble to strengthen myself in the Lord my God. I was stirred to make this post because of precious fellowship enjoyed over the last two days. Firstly, with my great friend Dan who I saw yesterday (Dan has been kind enough to mention this blog on his site!!). We have both had battles during 2006 and so we waiting on the Lord, we worshipped, we confessed our need, and the Lord graciously spoke to us.
This morning I had fellowship with my closest friend locally, Pastor Dennis Greenidge . We shared with each other from the Word of God and the Lord brought fresh revelation, and we prayed into 2007 as pastors for our churches.
Then a little later I shared fellowship with one of my fellow church leaders and again we built each other up through worship and prayer.
On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I was going through a very difficult season. And now today, Friday, the Lord has graciously enabled me to strengthen myself in Him again. How - by means of sweet fellowship with these three dear brothers in Christ. There have been further battles this afternoon, but I can strengthen myself in the Lord my God - the fruit of the fellowship of the last 24 hours.
So my encouragement to anyone who reads this - make quality fellowship a priority. Through Christ-centred fellowship we can learn to strengthen ourselves in the Lord our God. Then, when the battles come, we can stand ourselves and instead of fear, panic, frustration, etc, we are strong and ready to hear the Lord's voice into our situation.