October 24 11:00 am
“Hope In Your Loss”
1 Samuel 30: 1-6 “Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, 2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
So the first thing we see in the story is David experiencing:
In our text David is reduced to a man completely alone in life.
He’s lost his home, his wives, and the trust of his men.
In one fell swoop, his world has collapsed under him.
Greeting his eyes is the smoke of the burning city.
Greeting his ears is the sound of his men talking of assassinating him.
Greeting his mind is the terrible knowledge that his wives are in the hands of OT terrorists.
To the natural eye his future looks finished; he is toast!
He has no friends, no country, his own king has stalked him for ten long, trying years, and now all that he had left is up in smoke!
It couldn’t look worse than this!
His loss is overwhelming!
We’re living in a time when multiplied thousands of people have suffered difficult losses.
Covid has taken many loved ones, leaving many people alone in life.
And the ripple effect of Covid has been the loss of jobs, loss of security, the loss of homes, and the loss of what we thought our future would look like!
Like Ziklag for David, many of our dreams are up in smoke!
Loss can be a very frightening thing.
We wonder how we’ll go on after some losses.
How will we do life without that person, or that job security, or the context we’re so accustomed to?
In the face of great loss, some wonder if its even worth it to go on.
If anyone was tempted to feel that way, it had to be David at this juncture—the lowest point in his life.
Perhaps today you’ve lost someone or something that has left you feeling crippled, shattered, and hopeless.
I want us to look at how David responded to his overwhelming loss by a:
It says, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
The actual Hebrew word for ‘encouraged’ is ‘strengthened.’
When everything around him had collapsed into overwhelming loss, David found a supernatural source of strength in the Lord his God!
Now, how did he go about doing this?
How did he access God’s strength?
The first thing he did was look up!
He chose a lifesaving focus.
When we are faced with great loss, it can be a true fork in the road that determines which way the rest of your life is going to go.
If you choose to focus on the loss and only the loss, dwelling on it, pondering it, living in it, then you will never get past it!
One great example in Scripture is Lot’s wife.
The angels of God had come to deliver Lot and his family from the fiery judgment about to fall on Sodom.
Lot and his family had lived there for around 20 years.
They built a house there, raised a family there, built a business there, and called Sodom home.
When they were being delivered by the angels, the angel told them, “Flee for your life; do not look back.”—Gen. 19:17 KJV
But Lot’s wife (and Lot himself) didn’t want to lose their home and livelihood.
The angels literally had to take them by the arm..
And we all know the story that, as they were outside the city making their escape, Lot’s wife looked back.
The Bible says she instantly became a pillar of salt!
Lot’s wife couldn’t handle loss…her focus was on Sodom, not God.
She focused on the city, not up on God.
And she became what we might call frozen in life, paralyzed by her wrong focus—she was literally defeated by the focus she chose!
David could have focused on the burning city of Ziklag, or on his angry men, but he chose a lifesaving focus—he looked up!
We can’t always choose what happens to us in life, including our losses.
But we CAN CHOOSE our focus!
Instead of focusing on the things and circumstances that you cannot change, turn your focus onto the God of the impossible!
FOCUS decides whether we succeed or fail, go forward or go down, take our next step or die in our pain.
Listen to these powerful FOCUS passages:
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”—Heb. 11:2 NIV
“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen;”—2 Cor 4:18 NKJV
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”—Col. 3:2 NKJV
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”—Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
“I have set the Lord continually before me;”—Ps 16:8 NKJV
—These and hundreds of other passages show us the importance of focus in the trying times of life.
David looked up and was strengthened, and then he made a third important decision—he sought and received:
III. Life-changing direction
It says, “Then he (David) said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it. 8 Then David asked the Lord, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”—vs.7-8
Rather than listen to the voices of doom and gloom, or allowing fear and doubt to speak over his life, David sought the guidance of God and received a life-changing word of direction!
We note that God said something totally opposite to what David was in front of David.
In the natural it was nothing but loss, heartbreak, and danger.
But God gave David a life-changing word of direction—“Pursue the enemy and you will recover everything!”
Now, I’m not going to tell you that because God told David he would recover everything, so will you.
Because sometimes we lose things we never get back.
But what I CAN tell you is that God brings new things to replace what we’ve lost—new horizons, new relationships, new ministries, new dreams, new fresh direction!
How often we fail to look up and seek God for His counsel.
LISTEN: In your loss and pain, God wants to minister to you, speak to you, counsel you, and help you.
And waiting on His counsel rather than being fear or pain driven can make all the difference!
The Prophet Isaiah said of Jesus the Messiah, “He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”—9:6 NIV
God CALLS us to CALL on Him, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’”—Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
Based on God’s direction, David pursued the Amalekites, rescued his wives, and recovered what they’d stolen.
Now, what he didn’t know was that miles away in another battle, Saul, who had tried to kill him for ten years, was killed making way for David to step into the throne he’d been promised over a decade before by Samuel!
In other words, the darkest hour of his life happened just before the brightest hour of his life!
So church, if you’ve suffered loss, and you’re struggling to stay afloat, and you need fresh strength like you need your next breath, remember:
Because He lives there’s hope in your loss by:
Choosing a life-saving focus.
And receiving God’s life-changing counsel.
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