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The Work of Encouraging Others • Part 1


Hi, I'm Kathleen Diaz, and it is a pleasure to be with you today. How was your day? Are you feeling excited for the holidays, or are you feeling discouraged? I'm not sure what your answer is, but I'm blessed to be here another day. Even though I feel blessed every day, sometimes I also feel discouraged—discouraged for the unknown future. So many changes happening at the same time changes that drain our body and our mind.

So I wonder, is there a time in the Bible where someone was discouraged? And how did they overcome the situation? My mind traveled to the book of Samuel. In 1 Samuel 17:8-10, we find a story of a struggle that the people of Israel were going through. In verses 8-10, we read: "Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.  9  If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” What a great challenge. That is a strong statement. Anyone who heard those words would be discouraged.

Immediately, we can feel the atmosphere the Israelites were going through when they heard the following words, and we can read into verse 11: "On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified."

Dismayed and terrified—of course! I would feel the same. It was the end. How could the Israelites overcome this difficult task? How could they fight? No one was even equivalent in height of the opponent. He had a height advantage over them.

In this story, we will separate it in two parts. We will not always be the person encouraging others. The first perspective is sometimes we will provide encouragement to others. We will be the ones providing words of wisdom and hope, hope that we can logically think through. But sometimes we can only hope that God will help us through.

And this is what we can see in this verse. David has the courage and he knows who he believes in. He knows that he can trust in God, but the people around him were not very sure he was fit for the job. So as we see in verse 25, we read the following: “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”

That was the the Israelites perspective. Now this was a close person to David, Eliab, who came. He was the older brother of David. Verse 28 says, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

At this part, after hearing this scenario, I'm a little bit worried about David's faith. I'm a little bit worried that David might feel discouraged and not know where to go. But that was not the situation of David. He knew who he had trusted in now. If we remember the story, we remember what was at stake, if they had lost the battle, the Israelites were going to be servants of the Philistines.

Sometimes we need to encourage others entrusting the mission God has given each one of us. Sometimes we're not going to be able to see through. As David was seen through his call, David knew exactly that. He was called for this moment, but no one around him could see that. It's interesting that, in the last verse, verse 37, that Saul gives to David, it says the following: "Go, and the LORD be with you." Saul knew what was at stake. Saul knew that they could be servants for the following years. Who knows what would have happened to the people of Israel? At that moment, Saul became an encourager.

He became the person who could see the call God had given to someone else, and he acknowledged that Saul wasn't sure how the purpose of God could be fulfilled, but he trusted in the faith that David had put in the Lord.

Is there someone that you can spread this words of encouragement to? Is there someone that needs to hear a promise of God?

I did say that this was a two part, and today we're going to be studying the first part of encouraging others, even though we cannot see the full picture of hope. The second part is going to have to wait until the following year so we can continue reviewing this amazing story. Most of the time, we focus only on the part where David defeats Goliath, how David gets only five stones and defeats the giant. But we also need to make a pause and acknowledge that our part is to encourage others in what they had trusted. God has made a calling to them.

I hope the Lord blesses you. I hope that this year brings great things for you and that we can finish a year praising God for all the different blessings He gave us during the year. I hope to see you next year, and have a great holiday time.