Study 7 WHAT TO DO WHEN TROUBLE COMES
Key Verse: “David was greatly distressed…But David found strength in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30 :6)
In this study, which is based on 1 Samuel 30:1-6, we are to consider a period in David’s life when he was plunged into great distress and trouble, and we shall see what he did in his time of trouble and how wonderfully the Lord undertook for him. Trouble is no respecter of persons (Job 5:7; 14:1). Maybe you are passing through a time of trouble now? If so, there is help in this study for you; and if you are not in the midst of trouble today, here is ministry in advance which will prepare you for some future day, for trouble comes to us all, and it is a good thing when we know what to do in a time of trouble. Notice, from 1 Samuel 30:1-6, that:-
1. David’s trouble was very real.
There was nothing imaginary about it, as we learn from these verses. How does your trouble compare with his? Does yours have to do with some great loss in your life (verse 1); is it connected with your loved ones (verse 3); is it so great that you have wept until you have had no more power to weep (verse 4)? How real our troubles are! There is nothing imaginary about them, and it is not wrong to weep and to find relief in this way when we are overwhelmed (John 11:35).
2. David was in trouble although he was a child of God.
It is very important for us to notice this. The Lord loved David – look up Acts 13:22; yet David found himself in the midst of these very distressing circumstances. Because we are Christians we must not expect immunity from trouble. Think how much the Lord suffered (Hebrews 13:12), and how much the apostle Paul endured (2 Corinthians 11:23-30)! Indeed, can you think of one true child of God who has not experienced something of the bitterness of trial and testing? We are not to think that God does not love us when trouble comes across our path – look up 1 Peter 4:12.
3. The Lord permitted David’s trouble.
He allowed it to happen. He permitted distress to come into the life of His child, just as He did with Joseph (Genesis 39:20); Jeremiah (Jeremiah 37:15); Peter (Acts 12:5-6); and John Bunyan – and just as He has with many of His servants today. When Job was overwhelmed with distress, his faith was so firmly established in the Lord and in the fact that God is sovereign, and that nothing had happened in his life, or would happen, without God’s gracious permission, that he was able to say – Job 13:15. The Lord could have prevented Job’s trouble, and He could prevent all our troubles; but He does not do so, and the biggest lesson that He wants us to learn is to trust Him where we cannot understand the “whys” and the “wherefores” of His dealings with us. Romans 8:28 is true, and it always will be true.
4. David’s trouble was in a very real sense his own fault.
This is very solemn, for David had backslidden, and no child of God can do that and escape God’s chastening. It seems clear that the Lord allowed trouble to come into David’s life in order that he might be corrected – look up Psalm 55:19, and compare Deuteronomy 8:2-3 and Hebrews 12:6. Saul, whose story is told in this same First Book of Samuel, threw off the authority of God, as David did, “but in the two cases we see the difference between judgment and chastening. In the case of Saul, his life and career were terminated as the punishment for his offences; in the case of David, however, the rod was lifted to correct – not to destroy; to bring him back, not to drive him away for ever; to fit him for service, not to cut him asunder.” It may be that your trouble is your own fault? – look up Genesis 42:21, and notice the words “that’s why this distress has come upon us”. God only permits the testings and trials of life for His glory and always for our good.
5. David’s trouble was really a blessing in disguise.
You say, “How can this be, with wife, home and friends gone?” It was a blessing in disguise because in verse 8 we are told that David enquired of the Lord; and any experience which drives us to the Lord is worth while – look up Psalm 119:67 and Hebrews 12:11. The one thing that God is seeking in your life and mine is a complete surrender of ourselves to Him. He wants us to love Him and His will, and to trust Him completely.
What did David do in his time of trouble? Verse 6 tells us he “found strength in the Lord his God.” It is good to find strength in the Lord personally, but sometimes we need to help others to find this strength. How can we do this?
- Remind yourself that you belong to Him. “David found strength in the Lord his God.” Rest upon the assurance of this personal relationship.
- Recall His past mercies – the wonderful way in which he has undertaken for you, led you, blessed you, provided for you and used you in the past (1 Samuel 7:12)
- Turn to Him – in confession (1 John 1:9), and in petition (Psalm 34:6); humble yourself before Him and look to Him alone for deliverance (Psalm 69:17).
- Enquire of Him (verse 8). Ask Him what you should do in your trying situation.
- Obey Him (verses 9 and 10). David obeyed, he “continued the pursuit”.
- Trust Him. At the end of verse 8 we read that the Lord promised David complete victory, and when he went forth (verse 9), he trusted the Lord to fulfil His word. All God’s promises are made to us in order that we may take Him at His word and trust Him to fulfil in us and for us that which He has promised – look up Psalm 37:5; Proverbs 3:5-6; Matthew 11:28; Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:19.
- Acknowledge His goodness (verse 23) – look up Psalm 9:9; 27:5; 46:1; 143:11; and Nahum 1:7.