Strength to Strength – Part Two
Guest Author: Lori Boyd David was anxious and afraid. He and his men had returned to the Israelite city of Ziklag and found that it had been raided by the Amalekites and burned to the ground. Even more devastating, the women and children had been taken captive, including his own wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. David and his men were distraught. The Bible says that “they lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep” (1 Samuel 30:4). The people talked about killing David out of resentment over the situation in which they found themselves. He was deeply distressed, but he found the strength he needed to endure. We read in 1 Samuel 30:6, that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
The remainder of that chapter describes how David went to the priest and asked the Lord what should be done. The Lord answered and David obeyed. In the end, the Amalekites were overtaken, many of them were killed, and everything that had been taken was recovered and returned.
David needed strength and he received strength from God. The same is true for us today. We are told time and again throughout Scripture that God is our source for strength.
“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” (Isaiah 40:29)
“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.” (Psalm 28:7a)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
The story of David and his victory over the Amalekites teaches us something important about the strength that comes from God. It shows us that there is a part we play in receiving what God is ready and willing to provide. David was strengthened because he actively sought the Lord. He didn’t sit in the ashes of Ziklag, in anguish, and suddenly become stronger on his own. He found strength in God. He knew he needed God’s help, he pursued it, and he trusted that God would give it.
Like David, we might find ourselves alone at times, worried, and frightened about our circumstances. We may not be sitting in the ashes of a burned down city; but they could be the ashes of a broken relationship, a lost job, an uncertain future, or difficult life changes. Our ashes may be the result of any given trial, but our response can be the same as David’s: find strength in the Lord.
We will be strengthened, as David was, when we actively seek God through His Word (Psalm 119:28). We become stronger when we look for guidance in Scripture. We will receive God’s help when we turn to the Bible for insight and for answers. With God as our source of power, we will find strength when firmly hold onto His Word and use it righteously in fighting our battles.
David was strengthened because he not only sought after the Lord’s instruction, but because he was obedient, as well. We can know the commands of God by reading and studying the Bible and through our obedience we will also be made strong.
In Deuteronomy 11:8, we read how Moses told the children of Israel to keep every commandment that came from God so that they might be strong and go in and take possession of the land of Canaan. In other words, they would be made strong through obedience to God.
The Bible gives us other examples of how we receive strength from God. We are strengthened when we wear the spiritual armor of God (Ephesians 6:11), when we turn to God in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), and when we wait on God to accomplish His Will in our lives (Isaiah 40:31). My favorite verse that describes how we can access God’s strength is found in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
We give our hearts to God when we submit to His Will, when we obey Him, when we humbly ask for His help, when we place Him first in our lives, and when we live everyday to His glory. God is looking for people who have completely given their hearts to Him so that He might strengthen them. I know that I desperately need the strong support of my Heavenly Father and I know that He has promised to give it to me when I place my heart in His hands.