“David’s Strengthening” (Series: Guest Preacher)
Scripture: 1 Samuel 30:1-6
This passage reminds us of this central gospel truth: You can be assured God draws near in your suffering.
David and his men are sent back home from the war between the Philistines and Israel. Home for them is Ziklag but when they arrive, their city is in smoke and ashes. They lost everything and their families are taken captive. This is when the people turn against David and he is utterly alone. They want him dead. But this suffering isn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened. It’s only the worst thing if God wasn’t sovereign over it. It’s only the worst thing if this suffering was random. But suffering is never random. For those who are in Christ, there is much grace in suffering. David could no longer say my possessions, my home, my family, my friends, but he could still say, “My God.” In times of suffering we need far more than an explanation to get us through it. We need a solid relationship and that’s precisely what we have and what David has.
We read in verse 6 that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” What David needed most wasn’t to understand suffering but it was to stand under God in his suffering. His strengthening came from seeking God’s nearness because God is covenantal and draws close to us. In the end, we can’t let our suffering define us but to let our relationship with God define our suffering. A life without God is far worse than a life without suffering. We can trust God in the midst of our suffering knowing that another greater David stood in our place and took on our sins so that we could belong to God. And because we belong to God we know that our suffering is never retributive but always restorative.
Suggested Group Discussion Questions
- Does a text like 1 Samuel 30 scare you? In other words, are you scared of God’s sovereignty? Do you ever fear that God will allow terrible suffering to come your way? How should we counsel ourselves (and others) when we fear God’s sovereignty?
- What was one of your most difficult trials? How did you respond to your suffering? Were you able to experience grace in your suffering? (How did God break you to heal you?)
- If suffering is guaranteed to be experience in this fallen, sinful world what practical steps can Christians take to suffer well? Have you seen an example of a fellow Christian who suffered well? What did that look like in their life?
- Doxology: Express how this sermon helps you understand, appreciate and worship Jesus more. In what ways has the gospel become more alive to you having read this passage and heard this sermon?
- Response: Formulate a one sentence prayer that’s informed by the passage and the sermon. This prayer should articulate what you desire to walk away and how you want God to apply it in your life. Have a few people share what they came up with.