The Bare Soul
May 6, 2012
Psalm 43:5 - Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
I became reacquainted with a famous quote at the finish of a marathon I recently ran. While its author is unknown, it has been stated in various ways, but here is the synopsis: One who lacks courage to start has already finished. How true this is! I would further state that not only beginnings require courage, but often various stages of our respective journeys take fortitude and gumption to see something to its end. Often, things might start off well and then sour later. Look at the initial defense of the British against Hitler's invading blitzkrieg (lightening war). The Allies believed they could resist Germany and the Maginot Line that defended France's border would quell the invaders. However, Hitler merely invaded France through Belgium and bi-passed the multi-million dollar defense the French had installed. The Nazis conquered France with lightening speed and backed the English forces into the small port city of Dunkirk in Northern France. It looked like there was no way out. However, Operation Dynamo (or the Evacuation of Dunkirk) was the miracle they needed as thousands of British and Ally soldiers were evacuated to the British Isles. This setback was not a result of not having the courage to start, but the wisdom and understanding to retreat, regroup, and eventually deal Hitler a crippling blow five years later.
If they would have given up at that point and not tried to escape, Great Britain would have probably fallen into Nazi hands. Through the words of great men such as Winston Churchill, Ally leaders spoke words of confident withdrawal to those in this bleak situation. While we may not always have some one coming along side us in our dire situations, we as Christians have been given all the tools of self-prophecy to either speak success or failure to our souls. God, through His Holy Spirit, allows us the privilege to speak to ourselves when things seem hopeless or insurmountable. There are many examples of great leaders who did such in the Bible, but maybe none so demonstrative of this principle as David when he was estranged from Saul. For sixteen months, David and his renegade band lived in the small town of Ziklag given to him by the Philistine king, Achish. (I Samuel 27:5-7) Toward the end of their sojourn in Ziklag, David and his men returned to their lodgings to find the city still smoldering from its incineration by the Amalekites. Not only had they burned it to the ground, but they had kidnapped their families and taken all their possessions. (Some have suggested that David was out of the will of God, living in compromise with the Philistines.) David's men were so saddened and angered by these turn of events that they threatened their leader's life. However, something extraordinary occurs.
The scripture tells us how David does not allow the grimness of the situation to overwhelm him. In I Samuel 30:6 we become privy to David's dilemma and its solution. The writer states: "Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God." The King James Version uses the word "encourage" rather than "strengthen" but both are appropriate. They both come from the Hebrew word chazaq which means to strengthen or to harden one's resolve. What a glorious picture of David speaking to himself what God was declaring about their situation! Rather than being defeated, he allowed God to prophesy truth through this tough situation by taking God's words and encouraging himself. He allowed the Maker to harden his resolve in order to stir up the courage to take back what was rightfully his own. We are told that David does not defend himself to these men who sought his life, but instead he sought God and his counsel. (I Samuel 30:7-8)
How often do we behave likewise when presented with a situation that seems overwhelming? Or, do we act like David's men, ready to accuse and blame without having a solution of our own? We all have the power to self-prophesy. We can either speak defeat or victory, depending on whether we believe God or not in our respective "dire" circumstances. No one likes to think they talk to themselves, at least not audibly. However, we all converse with ourselves throughout the day, whether in a negative or positive manner. We may pride ourselves that we pray to God in a continual manner, but how many of us speak to our souls regarding what He has shown us? As the psalmist reveals to us in our opening verse, we can literally speak to our inner person and direct the outcome when presented with a challenge. Just as Revelation 19:10 tells us the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, we must continue to testify of Jesus' power to our inner struggles. God will often answer our prayers with the power we need to overcome. However, He wants us to use the power He has given to speak to our problems and prophesy victory over them by the testimony of Jesus. Are we prophesying to our souls, beloved, the words of God which He has spoken over our problems? If not, we might be speaking calamity to ourselves rather than victory. We must continue to align ourselves with His words and give no occasion for the enemy to ensnare us in the defeating words of negativity. May we speak only His words as we self-prophesy His victory over our lives and those lives in which we care.
Heavenly Father, help us to strengthen ourselves through the words You speak to us. Help us to prophesy them to our souls and to be built up in our most glorious faith which You have bestowed upon all who love You. May we not allow the defeatist attitude of our flesh or the devil to make us impotent, but may we speak life to our souls through Your life-giving word. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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