Oftentimes, people do not appreciate or value the gift of encouragement. It is such a wonderful tool that can open up a door for hope. All throughout the Bible, there are cases where encouragement acted as the deciding factor for success. If you learn the incredible power of godly encouragement, it will change your life for the good!
Encouragement in the Old Testament
First, let’s define godly encouragement. Godly encouragement is when someone (which can include yourself or God) motivates you and points out that there is hope regardless of the situation because God is with you.
Now, the first instance in which God introduces encouragement into His wonderful Word is in the story of Joshua. When Moses prepares Israel with a lengthy speech, he talks about how he is not to enter the promised land and so, God appointed Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. It is in these moments that God instructs Moses to encourage Joshua for the mission which Joshua has ahead of him.
Deuteronomy 1:38 World English Bible (WEB)
38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
Joshua became responsible for leading a nation. I know you may have some pretty serious stuff going on in your life; but, leading an entire nation is quite the challenge! So, God wanted Moses and everyone to encourage Joshua which goes to show the importance of encouragement from God’s perspective. Now, keep in mind the Hebrew word for, “Encourage,” in this passage is, “Chazaq,” (I’ll be referencing this word later on).
This situation relates to you in that if you are expected to do something that seems nearly impossible, you need godly encouragement.
But, what if there’s no one to encourage you?
When There’s No One to Encourage You
God is so fair and so careful that He makes sure that His Word is sufficient for you. And so, God has provided us with an example of a person who did not need anyone to encourage him.
1 Samuel 30:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
The snippet of scripture above reflects on the time when the Amalekites robbed all of David’s possessions and wives; God knows what they were planning to do with all they had stolen! David’s men turned against him as they became upset that the Amalekites stole all they owned.
So, what do you do when it seems as if the whole world’s against you! You do what David did; you encourage yourself in the Lord your God!
Sometimes, you cannot rely on other people to encourage you. It is a sad but true fact and God knows that. You must learn to encourage yourself. That’s what it takes to be a king. And David was in such a horrible situation.
I mean think about it; his own people were going to kill him and bad guys took all he had. David was in a very, very tough situation during the time of this scripture. But, he still trusted in God and encouraged himself. If you’re in a situation where the stakes are high and you don’t seem to have any hope, encourage yourself in the Lord your God just as David did.
So, in the course of the passage, we read that David sought God’s guidance and God strengthened David along with his army to take back what was stolen from them.
1 Samuel 30:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
When you’re at wits’ end, you cannot encourage yourself in pride or selfish ambition, no, you must encourage yourself to trust the Lord your God just as David did. You must trust in Jesus who is the Lord your God. He is the God of David.
Also, as a side note, the fact that David married more than one person was never God’s ideal picture of marriage. But, God makes it clear in the New Testament that marriage is to be a holy covenant between two people.
Godly Encouragement and the Cross
Psalm 27:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
The above scripture written by David through the inspiration of Holy Spirit says to wait on the Lord and to be of good courage.
Now, when it says to be of good courage, the Hebrew word within the scripture is, “Chazaq,” which is the same word that was used when God told Moses to encourage Joshua.
Thus, this psalm is telling us to simply wait upon the Lord; encourage yourself in what He’s done for you and He will strengthen your heart with the courage to face your situation. That is the key to godly encouragement. It unlocks the courage within yourself to face the Goliath in your life.
If you cannot encourage yourself, ask God to encourage you; ask God to strengthen you. God will answer you; he will not let the situation eat you up. If hell’s against you, then remind it that Jesus already bore hell for you.
Romans 15:5 World English Bible (WEB)
5 Now the God of perseverance and of encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
When you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you so that He could bear your sins, your shame, your loss, your suffering, and every hell centered thing in the planet belonging to you, He transferred His strength, peace, grace, and Holy Spirit to your spiritual account. If you have His loving Holy Spirit living within you, there ask Him as the God of encouragement to encourage you.
Even if you can’t encourage yourself, God will encourage you for Holy Spirit is also called the Comforter. He will strengthen your heart as David wrote in the Psalm.
John 14:26 King James Version (KJV)
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
In your time of distress, He’s there to comfort you because He loves you very dearly. And remember you have even better privileges than those in the Old Testament so enjoy your relationship with God.
Therefore, do not ever lose hope. Remember to ask God to strengthen your heart and so, encourage yourself in Him. Remind yourself that your God is big, that your God is the King of kings and the Lord of lords; remind yourself that He loves you and that He is always with you.
Joshua 1:9 World English Bible (WEB)
9 Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be dismayed, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go.”