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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

They Encouraged Themselves in the Lord

Some time ago, the biblical phrase encouraged himself in the LORD his God made me curious if there were any other references to the same concept. To my pleasure, there is one other. Let’s take a look at these inspiring examples.

AbrahamHe staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he (God) had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him (Abraham) for righteousness (Romans 4:20-22). This passage is about God’s promise to make Abraham a father of many nations, even though both he and his wife were very old, and Sarah had never had a child. (Romans 4:17)

The phrase was strong in faith can be translated “he strengthened himself in faith.” From the context, we understand that Abraham’s faith was in God’s promise. What God promised, Abraham believed. It was as simple as that! Look at the phrases above: staggered not and fully persuaded. Abraham had an accurate picture of God. God could do whatever He said He would do.

I wonder how we see God. Do we limit him? Even though circumstances look bleak or even impossible (old age, barren womb), do we doubt that God will do what He’s promised in His Word? If He promised, it will happen. Let’s strengthen ourselves in our faith in God’s Word.

DavidAnd 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 (1 Samuel 30:6). As you can tell, David was in dire straits. His life was in danger. The Amalekites had surrounded Ziklag and burned it to the ground. They took women and children as captives, including two of David’s wives. The people sorrowed, and then they were angry with their king, David. So David encourages himself in the Lord, and the first thing he does is to seek God’s leadership. And David enquired 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 (1 Samuel 30:8).

Notice what David didn’t do:

  • He didn’t sit in lotus position and zone out.
  • He didn’t put on a fake smile and think positive thoughts.
  • He didn’t get in touch with inner self.
  • He didn’t go out on the town and get high/drunk/plastered.
  • He didn’t even call for musicians or play his harp.
  • And, he didn’t eat a Happy Meal.

David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. Then, he found out whether God would prosper him if he went after the enemy. When he knew what to do, he immediately set forth to do it. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 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 (1 Samuel 30:18-19).

What’s our first reaction when threatened? What’s our reaction when people are angry with us? David encouraged himself in the Lord. David asked God what he should do. When David knew God’s will, he did it. And, God prospered him.

Do we ask God what we should do? When we get an answer, do we immediately obey? It’s the only way to have spiritual success. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Joshua 1:8).

Both Abraham and David encouraged and strengthened themselves in faith because they had confidence in God’s Word. They trusted that God could do whatever He said.
  • Do we trust without staggering?
  • Do we act on God’s guidance?
  • Do we know the Bible so well that we understand God’s will?

Encourage yourself in the Lord your God!


  1. I had noticed this phrase with David before and wrote a post about it at At that time, I was concerned about my sons learning to do this as they went out on their own. Later I shared it with our ladies group in a newsletter because a video series our church was going through emphasized "community" almost to the point that it seemed to eliminate the idea of one encouraging himself in the Lord. While community is important and helpful and necessary, it can't take the place of our needing to learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord and His Word. Just recently I was thinking of it in regard to a woman I was talking to who seems to make a crisis out of every little thing and can't hear what others are trying to say to help her because she's so focused on dredging up all the issues (she even interrupted me in mid-sentence to do so). For days I have been pondering what to tell a person like that. One aspect is to "Be still and know that I am God." But another aspect is taking our thoughts captive and encouraging ourselves in Him by focusing on God and His Word and not all the issues and what-ifs.

    1. Excellent thoughts, Barbara! I look forward to reading your post. (Running to church in a couple of minutes!) God bless you!


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