Things were so bad at home David thought he would leave the country for a spell. In fact, David felt safer with his enemies than with the people in his own country. After sparing King Saul’s life a second time, David said to himself, “I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines . . . so shall I escape out of his hand.”

David’s plan was so brilliant it almost worked. David befriended Achish, the son of the Philistines’ king, and he allowed David and his 600 men to stay at Ziklag, one of the cities on the outer limits of the Philistines’ territory. For the next 16 months, they lived peacefully with the Philistines. But then the Philistines decided to attack Israel. Before David and his men could fight on the side of the Philistines against Israel (which they wanted to do), they were dismissed from the battle by the Philistine captains.

When David and his men returned to Ziklag, the city had been looted and burned by another enemy nation, the Amalekites. Their wives, children, and possessions had all been taken away. Now David’s men were angry. They even talked about stoning him to death. It looked like things couldn’t get any worse. Should David surrender to despair and give up all hope?

At a time when David stood all alone facing the consequences of his bad decision, he made one of his best decisions. He chose to encourage himself in God. God became a Source of strength, comfort, and security for him when he needed help the most. This same God can also give us happiness and peace of mind anywhere and anytime we need it. He is always there for us.

If things go from bad to worse in your life this week, don’t forget where you can turn for encouragement. Trying to sort through the details on our own can get very complicated until we get a right perspective of our circumstances from God. Encourage yourself in Him today.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder