If you’ve ever run out of tears, you’ve come close to running out of hope. It could be you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship, you know what it’s like to run out of tears. If you don’t know what that means, pay attention because in this world you will have trouble.

Watch now as Trevor Lund shares the how the story of David and Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30 gives us a bit of road map to continue to hope when we get news that drops us to our knees.

Kingdom Way is our Church in Edmonton Alberta Canada. We love God, Love People and Make Disciples. http://KingdomWay.ca #kingdomway

Message Notes:

If you’ve ever run out of tears, you’ve come close to running out of hope. It could be you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship, you know what it’s like to run out of tears. If you don’t know what that means, pay attention because in this world you will have trouble. 

Let’s start with a reminder – You have a God who loves you. Paul says this to the church in Rome:

May the God of hope fill you will all peace and joy as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

And let’s remember how Peterson transliterates what Jesus says in Matthew 5:3

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

There’s a story in the Hebrew Scripture that show us how to hope when you run out of tears. 

Background to David’s story…

Even though David was already anointed by Samuel to be king, he fled from Saul because Saul was trying to kill him and he wouldn’t raise his hand against Saul. He hid in the caves and “all those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader.” (1 Samuel 22:2)

Twice David could have killed Saul, but he wouldn’t touch the Lord’s anointed. So to keep Saul from chasing him and his men, they fled to Philistine and the King of Gath gave him the town of Ziklag to settle in. 

David and his men would raid the towns of the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites – all groups that God told Joshua to completely destroy – and he wouldn’t leave anyone alive. 

He told his overlord he was raiding in the Negev the towns of Judah and it’s allies. Achish was convinced David was making himself abhorrent to Saul. 

There came a time when the Philistines were going to attack Israel and David was going to fight with Achish in the battle. The other Philistine kings weren’t so sure. They heard the songs “Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands and they suspected if he’d turn on them in the thick of battle, he could earn favour back with Saul. So Achish reluctantly sent him back. 

I’m sure they were relived to not have to fight their fellow Israelites, but when they returned to Ziklag they saw the smoke on the horizon.

That gets us to 1 Samuel chapter 30

1 Samuel 30

1. Allow yourself to mourn

“David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.”

1 Samuel 30:1-4 NIV

When you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship you need to know it’s good to weep until you have no strength left to weep. 

Some of us will always have tears – move on when you can and don’t be afraid to go back to it. 

Faith doesn’t deny the existence of problems. Faith denies the problem a place of influence.
– Bill Johnson

Give yourself permission to pour your heart out to God. Use the Psalms that feel the same way you do. Don’t be afraid to show God your emotions. 

Allow yourself to mourn

“David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.”1 Samuel 30:5-6 NIV

2. Strengthen yourself in the Lord 

How do you strengthen yourself in the Lord?

When I was in seminary, I’d tell Pentecostal jokes. There were all kinds of different denominations in the school and I consciously only made fun of the one I was most associated with. 

What’s a Pentecostal joke? What did the dinosaur do when he ate a Pentecostal preacher? He threw up His hands. 

I guess people thought I was making fun of Pentecostals because I disagreed with them. This was the only time I experienced anything like this at the school. One day during coffee break the ones who came from The Pentecostal school were surrounded by a few who went to another school. I was friends with all of them, so I went up to see what was going on. 

“Can you believe these guys thinks tongues are for today?”

“Awesome! “ I responded   “I pray them everyday. How do you strengthen yourself in the Lord?”

The discussion ended. 

I came. I saw. I made it awkward. 

How do you strengthen yourself in the Lord?

The Bible tells us at least a dozen ways we can be strengthen in the Lord

  1. Choosing praise – Psalm 34:1-7
  2. Choosing joy – Nehemiah 8:10 
  3. Meditating on the Word –  Psalm 119:27-28 
  4. Waiting expectantly on God – Isaiah 40:27-31
  5. Meeting with encouraging people – 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 2 Corinthians 12:19 
  6. Being strengthened by an individual – 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3
  7. Choosing to think about good things  – Philippians 4:8-9
  8. Refreshing others – Proverbs 11:25
  9. Praying in the Holy Spirit – Jude 1:20; 1 Corinthians 14:4
  10. Hearing a prophetic message – 1 Corinthians 14:3
  11. Experiencing the gifts operated in love – 1 Corinthians 14:26
  12. Receiving grace – Hebrews 13:9

If you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship you need to be strengthen in the Lord.  You need to strengthen yourself in the Lord. 

All of us. All of us always need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and be strengthened in the Lord. 

Work it into the rhythms of your life. Join a home Group, Structure your day with praise, find encouraging people to hang around and be an encouraging person yourself.

Strengthen yourself in the Lord

“Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”” 1 Samuel 30:7-8 NIV

3. Seek the Lord

How do you seek the Lord? 

One of the ways is through prayer. Jesus seems to almost contradict himself in the sermon on the mount.  He says:

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.  Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!  Matthew 6:7-8

And then in the same sermon, in the next chapter He says:

 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8

He tells us not to babble, then tells us keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking. What’s going on? 

Earlier in His sermon, He’s talking about praying for what we need. Since we have a good Father who wants good for us, we don’t need to convince Him to give us good things that we need. So we don’t need to babble. 

In Chapter 7 He’s telling us to not judge others and He knows this isn’t easy. Whatever we need to grow in, we should keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. We’re relying on Him to finish the good work He’s started in us (Philippians 1:6). It’s too easy to try to finish in the flesh what was started in the Spirit. 

When you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship you need to 

  1. ask and expect God to take care of your needs and 
  2. ask and keep asking him to grow in you what He needs to grow. 

What are you seeking the Lord for? Ask and keep asking.

Seeking the Lord isn’t just about praying. Here are 

7 ways the Bible says we can seek the Lord

  1. Call upon God and pray to him – Jeremiah 29:12-14 
  2. Serve God with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind – 1 Chronicles 28:9 
  3. Cast your cares upon the Lord – Psalm 55:22 
  4. Keep your tongue from evil, turn from evil, do good, seek peace and pursue it – Psalm 34:12-16 
  5. Forsake evil ways and thoughts Isaiah 55:6-7 
  6. Have clean hands, pure heart, don’t lift your soul to idols, don’t swear by what is false  – Psalm 24:4-6 
  7. Do what’s right and live humbly – Zephaniah 2:3 

When we seek the Lord, we are aligning our actions with our call on God. 

When you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship you need to seek the Lord. It could be an unnatural thing to do – especially if you’re living offended at God.

Give up your right to understand and don’t live offended at God. 

Seek the Lord

 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit. 1 Samuel 30:9-10 NIV

4. Do what you can

One third of David’s men were too tired to continue on. Does that mean they didn’t have hope? No. They did what they could.

So did the two-thirds of the men who went with David. They did what they could as well. 

When you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap. 

Be at peace with that. 

But you need to know the difference between withdrawing and escaping. 

Jesus withdrew before the start of His ministry (Matthew 4).

Jesus withdrew before almost every major decision (Luke 5:16).

Jesus withdrew after times of great ministry (Mark 6:44-52).

Jesus even took a nap in a storm (Mark 4:35-41).

Jesus took naps. Be like Jesus. 

Listen, when you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship you need to take care of your body. If it’s chronic illness, listen to your doctors. If it’s a loss anywhere else in your identity, take care of your body. 

Withdrawing is not the same as escaping. 

Escape means shirking our responsibility. 

Escape means shrinking into ourselves.

Escape means giving the problem too much influence in our lives. 

Remember: 

Faith doesn’t deny the existence of problems. Faith denies the problem a place of influence.
– Bill Johnson

When we’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for our next job, or walking though a loss of relationship we need to be people of faith. 

Collins in his book “Good to Great” tells the story of Vice Admiral James Stockdale who was the highest ranking prisoner of war in Vietnam for eight years. 

When Stockdale was asked how he survived for so long in a prisoner-of-war camp he answered, “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.” 

He went on to say:

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

This has become known as “The Stockdale Paradox”

This is a completely biblical approach to hope. 

Faith you will prevail in the end…

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Disciple to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality…

 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Hebrews 12:7

Listen. I will never give God credit for the works of the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. I’m not saying God is discipling me with whatever I go through.  But when I’m going through the grinder, it doesn’t matter if it’s from the enemy or from other people or from my own bad choices, or from God disciplining me, I want to endure hardship AS discipline.  

It might not BE disciple, but it WILL BE LIKE discipline, when I treat it AS discipline. 

Treat it as if something good is going to come from it. Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. 

What about those who went on?

Don’t forget… two-thirds of the men went on with David. 

These guys were exhausted from crying. These guys where the ones who talked about stoning David. These guys still did what they could. 

Sometimes you run becomes a walk and your walk becomes a crawl. But you still need forward momentum. 

If you strengthen yourself and seek the Lord, you have forward momentum. 

It might not be at the pace you want. It might not be at the speed you expect. 

Do what you can

Allow yourself to mourn

Strengthen yourself in the Lord

Seek the Lord

Do what you can

5. Steward well

David and 400 of his men pursued. They were able to overtake the Amalekites and got back everything and everyone they lost PLUS everything else the Amalekites took.  

David recovered all… and how he managed what he went through set him up to become king in Saul’s place. 

Out of his share of the spoils he sent gifts to the elders of Judah. They were the ones who would declare him king after Saul died. 

Your battle for hope is your battle for identity.

When you’re going through a chronic illness, or waiting for your next job, or walking though a loss of relationship your identity is under attack.

 Learn to steward well what you’ve been entrusted with. 

This battle is something God trusts you with.

This pain is something God is using for your good. 

This struggle is something that will make you stronger. 

God has told me that the next tens years will be my most effective and I needed this part of the story to connect with people He wants me influence. 

It’s how I steward this that will determine what influence I have going forward. 

How you steward whatever you’re going through – chronic illness, waiting for the next job or walking through the loss of a relationship – what you do with what you get will determine what doors open for you. 

Can we end the way we started?  This is my prayer for you:

May the God of hope fill you will all peace and joy as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Lord I trust you…

revtrev

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