Towards the end of the book of 1 Samuel, we follow David and his army, returning home to their families. They live in a place called Ziklag.
This is Philistine – enemy territory, where David and his men have been hiding from a jealous King Saul, who has been trying to kill him. It had been a questionable decision to live there, because, as some have suggested, it revealed a lack of trust in God to protect him. But right or wrong, that’s what David had decided to do.
As they approached Ziklag, they realised that the unthinkable had happened. The Amalekites had paid them a visit and “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 Sam 30: 3 – 4).
And if that wasn’t bad enough, we are then told “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters” (v 6a).
This is extreme pressure. Even men loyal to David are turning on him.
But look at David’s response: “David found strength in the Lord his God” (v 6b)
Imagine the pressure David would have been under. The fear of harm coming to his loved ones. The guilt of feeling that it was all his fault (“if only I had trusted God and stayed away from Philistine territory”) and the pain of close friends turning on him.
But David found strength in the Lord his God.
How did he do that?
We don’t know for sure, but we do know the sort of things David prayed in the form of his psalms.
For example, Psalm 25: 1 – 7 starts like this:
“In you, Lord my God, I put my trust” (v 1).
David’s first thought is not to stare at the problem, but to declare the sovereignty of God.
He then expresses his trust in God, both here and in the next verse.
So, David declares truth first, faith second and next he asks for what he needs.
“Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me” (v 2).
David doesn’t just face a battle against a physical enemy, but he faces inner battles against fear, guilt, and doubt”.
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (v 4 – 5).
In other words, “Lord, show me what to do”.
In the next verse he asks, “Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old” (v 7)
Here David is expressing faith in God’s character:
God is a God of mercy.
He is a God of love.
And that has always been the case.
Finally, in this part of Psalm 25, he prays:
“Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good”.
David’s faith is not in his own righteousness, he knows he deserves nothing. His faith is in the love of God and the goodness of God.
In summary, David declared the truth of who God is, and then expressed his faith in Him. He then confidently asked for what he needed whilst reminding himself of The Lord’s love and goodness. Perhaps that is how he found strength in the Lord his God: declare truth first, faith second, and then ask Him what you need.