HOW TO DEFEAT THE SPIRIT OF DISCOURAGEMENT 1 Sam 30:1-6 30:1 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; 2 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. 3 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. 4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 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. Over 17 million people are clinically depressed and it costs America over $40 billion annually (due to treatment and lack of production in the work force, not to mention earnings losses from depression induced suicides). Many of God's children are either already in, or trying to go into, hibernation in the den of discouragement. They are licking their wounds of disappointment, disillusionment, and despair in the silence of withdrawal. Heartbreak has resulted in a massive leak of one of life's key ingredients - encouragement. They feel like David who cried, Ps 142:4 4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. To be discouraged means to lose heart, to lose courage, to lose strength. All of us periodically experience the dark night of the soul. And unfortunately for the flesh, the more anointing you walk in, the more opportunity for potential discouragement you will have. Paul said, 2 Cor 4:16 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. The phrase "lose heart" means to 'unstring a bow for lack of seeing game.' Many times on the path of life we get discouraged and lose heart because we aren't seeing any fruit. But the test of God is simple: Will you remain faithful to him even when he seems unfaithful to you? ***Joseph received a vision from God that one day he would rule. But he was thrown in a pit, and from there became a slave in the house of Potiphar, and then was placed in prison. Did he become discouraged? He could have...and justified it easily. But he stayed faithful to God even when God didn't seem faithful to him. And in due time, because he didn't lose heart, God took him from the prison to the palace where he ruled and reigned and fulfilled God's promises. Paul said, 2 Cor 4:17 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; Many Christians are like the blind man in Mark 8. When Jesus touched him and asked if he could see the man said he saw men as trees walking. Mark 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees , walking. Was he now blind or could he see? Neither/both. He had received a touch from the Lord, but there was no edge to his vision. There was no focus. He was a seeing blind man...a contradiction in terms. Many of us are joyless Christians...a contradiction in terms. We aren't living up to our name. *** There was a sign that hung on the door to the store which read, "Danger, Beware of Dog." A man came in and noticed a harmless, half-dead, old hound dog asleep on the floor by the cash register. He asked the store manager, "Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?" The manager said, "Yep, that's him." The man said, "That certainly doesn't look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?" "Because the owner replied, "before I posted the sign, people kept tripping and falling over him." He didn't quite live up to his name. Do we have any idea who we are? Christians - the name means anointed ones; empowered ones. Our lives are the signs we hang out...do the signs match the names. We put signs in front of our churches but can we truly deliver the goods. We cannot afford to walk around in a constant state of discouragement and depression. David had been in stress and distress for many years because of the anointing that was upon his life. Many times his life had been in imminent danger, but he always had friends who were willing to walk and war beside him. But this time everyone turned against him so that he stood alone. The Amalekites had attacked Ziklag and carried away captives which included the wives and concubines of David and his men. This precipitated a general discontent so that even David's closest friends spoke of stoning him. The enemy had taken their wives and their children. These represent their comfort, stability, and future. We get discouraged when something messes up our place of comfort and threatens the stability of our future. 1 Sam 30:5 And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. Specifically David lost Ahinoam and Abigail: - Ahinoam means agreeable, favorable. She represents the favor of God. - Abigail means source of joy. She represents the joy of the Lord. David's favor was stolen, and with it was his source of joy. This led to discouragement. David was in covenant relationship with favor and joy. They lived in the same house together. They bore fruit together. Now they were gone. Many of us don't realize that the enemy wants to rob us of our favor with God. When the favor is gone, the joy goes with it. And the joy of the Lord is our strength...thus we are left without defense. David's only hope was to encourage himself in the Lord. How do you encourage yourself in the Lord? 1. You remember yesterday's promises - I Sam. 23:16-17 1 Sam 23:16 And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. Jonathan encouraged David in the promise of God. We are responsible to encourage one another continually. Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. We must enter into covenant relationship with one another so that we can speak into one another's lives. It is our responsibility to know the promises of God concerning one another's lives so that we can continually encourage one another. We can't do this if we are ignoring one another. One woman said her husband paid so little attention to her that if she died he wouldn't be able to identify the body. Prov 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. 2. You Rehearse God's Covenant Vows - 30:6 1 Sam 30:6 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. The word "Lord" is all capitals, which means it was the word Yahweh or Jehovah in English. He identified himself as the "I AM." This was the covenant cutting, covenant keeping God of Israel. David was reflecting on the God who is faithful to his vows, that what he promised he will perform. Mic 7:7 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. 8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. God will not allow the righteous to be forsaken; he won't let you fall to the extent that you can't be recovered; He won't allow you to be stressed to the point of breaking. (II Cor. 4) "Encouraged" - chazaq - means to seize or take hold of, and is used 364 times in Scripture. The first time is Genesis 19:16 concerning Lot as he left Sodom - Gen 19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, Gen. 48:2 - "Jacob strengthened himself and sat up on his bed." 1 Chron. 9:13 - "Be of good courage and let us behave ourselves valiantly." When David encouraged himself in a covenant God he said: In spite of my circumstances I fasten upon; seize, strengthen, take help, confirm, behave myself valiantly, establish myself and thus find encouragement in the Lord. 3. You Request the Mind of God - 30:8 1 Sam 30:7-8 7 And 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. 8 And David inquired 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. David requested the Ephod. The ephod represents wrapping yourself in prayer. ** Describe ephod - seamless linen which represents ceaseless prayer. When discouraged we must be committed to hearing God's voice. Held twelve stones for twelve tribes which means God's answer will be for the benefit of all, not just you. 4. You Recover all the enemy has stolen - I Sam. 30:18-19 1 Sam 30:18-19 18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 19 And 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. How much territory has the devil taken from you. Irrespective of how much it's time to take it back. *** Brook Besor - the key to getting back is crossing this river. Besor means glad tidings, fulness of cheer, message of joy. You've got to take a dip in the river of joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength. 1 Sam 30:9 So 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. Some of you are tired of fighting. You say "I just don't have any fight left inme." What if Jesus had said that? **** Elijah and Jezebel - he had burned the candle at both ends and when the enemy said "Boo" he fell apart. It's time to fight in the power of God until victory comes. 5. You Re-enforce the victory in praise to God The psalms are David encouraging himself in the Lord.