The devil comes to steal the gifts God has given us, but like David, we must set out to recover it all, says Pastor Wu Yuzhuang.
In the sequel to his message, Rejected By Men, Chosen By God, Wu Yuzhuang, a pastor with City Harvest Church, encouraged the church that God wants His people to recover all that they have lost.
At CHC’s online service on the weekend of Oct 24 and 25, Pastor Zhuang began by reading out 1 Samuel 30:18, “So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives.”
Drawing the congregation to the city of Ziklag, which the Amalekites had plundered, the pastor explained that Ziklag was a city gifted to David by the king of the Philistines, Achish, when David was running away from King Saul (1 Sam 27:5-6).
“That means, David didn’t buy this place. He didn’t work for it,” Pastor Zhuang pointed out. “And now, David was attacked in this same place that was gifted to him. Sometimes the devil doesn’t attack us directly; he attacks what has been given to us in life.” These gifts include one’s children, one’s marriage, one’s faith, among other things.
The danger of receiving something that one has not earned is that he takes it for granted, said the pastor, adding that often, whatever a person takes for granted, he loses. The pastor warned that if a person were to take for granted the things that God has given him, the devil will grab the opportunity to take it away.
“So if God has given us something, we have to defend it and protect it with our lives,” Pastor Zhuang stressed. He gave the example of a person’s walk with God or their worship towards God. It may have started well, but along the way the Christian starts to take it for granted. He urged the church not to be complacent in their worship but to participate in the online service as if they were there in person, allowing God’s presence to work in their hearts.
Pastor Zhuang shared four steps David took to recover all that he had lost.
ONE: DAVID ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD
1 Samuel 30:6 reads, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
“Have you ever come to a point where you need to encourage yourself?” the pastor asked. He imagined David saying to himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” (Ps 42:11)
Not only did David encouraged himself, but he encouraged himself in Jehovah God. “Now this is the surest way of encouraging yourself,” the pastor said, explaining that the Hebrew word for “encourage” means to grow firm or strong, like becoming a rock. It also refers to binding.
“David was binding to negative circumstances at first and became distressed, but then he started to bind himself to God and His promises,” the pastor postulated.
Reading Psalms 30:4-5, Pastor Zhuang focused on the word “remembrance”. David would probably have remembered that God had chosen and anointed him as king and even though he met with many adversaries, God would not forget His promises. David would have remembered the time God gave him victory over the lions and bears, and later on Goliath. David encouraged himself to recount God’s goodness in his life.
“Maybe some of you think, ‘I’m so sinful, I deserve it’,” the pastor added. “But if His love is dependent on our works or merits, it would have never reached you. His love for you is free, sovereign, gracious, and unconditional. Today we can encourage ourselves—not in ourselves, not in others, not in the circumstances—but in the Lord.”
TWO: DAVID PURSUED WHAT WAS LOST
In 1 Samuel 30:8, David asked God if he should go after the Amalekites and God said, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”
Some people never recover what they have lost because they are not willing to pursue it, to go after it. Some might even be going in the opposite direction of where they should be heading. “If you want your family back, you’ve got to do things to rebuild your family,” the pastor encouraged. “If you want your finances back, you have to do things the right way; you don’t go in opposite direction, don’t go back to gambling or borrow money from loan sharks.”
If a person wants to lose weight, he needs to watch what he eats, and not indulge in seven meals a day of sweet, fatty foods, the pastor pointed out. 1 Samuel 30:17 describes how David and his men went after the Amalekites and fought all through the night.
“If you want to recover what you have lost, you cannot be passive about it,” the pastor stated. He shared the story of Glenn Cunningham, an American middle-distance runner. When he was 8, Cunningham’s legs were gravely injured by fire, and the doctors predicted that he would never walk again. But the young boy would wheel his wheelchair out to the garden daily and push himself onto the ground, dragging his legs at first, then taking slow steps, and eventually running. With such perseverance, Cunningham went on to run the fastest mile in 1934.
THREE: DAVID WENT THROUGH A PRUNING PROCESS
Reading 1 Samuel 30:10, Pastor Zhuang said that sometimes, a Christian has to let some people in his life go. “They have been close to you, or you have been emotionally attached to them. But there might come a time in your life that they cannot go with you to where the uncertainty lies; then you have to let go of that (relationship).”
David would have struggled when 200 of his men decided that they did not want to cross Brook Besor with him. But in John 15:2, Jesus said that the pruning process is done so that a tree can bear more fruit.
“There are wrong relationships that are weighing you down. If you want to cross over to the other side, you need to cut them off,” the pastor said giving examples of ungodly relationships, pornography, alcohol, and online gaming habits that a believer must get rid of to get to where he wants to go.
FOUR: DAVID SHOWED HONOR AND KINDNESS TO THE WEAK
David encountered a young Egyptian while he was pursuing the Amalekites. The Egyptian was a servant that the Amalekites had abandoned because he was sick. Instead of killing the Egyptian, who was from the camp of his enemy, David fed him and spoke to him in kindness. This resulted in the Egyptian leading them to the Amalekites’ camp (1 Sam 30:11-13, 15).
“This man was not there by accident,” the pastor preached. “David’s kindness and honor towards this slave were instrumental to the recovery of his family.”
He went on to preach that sometimes showing kindness and honor by forgiving and sparing one’s offenders can become the key to recovering what one has lost. “This story is not just about the attackers but about how you respond to your attackers,” he noted.
Elaborating on forgiveness, Pastor Zhuang defines it as “the gift you give yourself. It is a decision not to be imprisoned by the toxic emotions that stay in our hearts, based on what happened in the past. So it is a refusal to allow what happened in my past to affect that which will take place in my future.”
He urged the church to “let go of the offenses and the negative emotions. Forgiveness is all about freeing yourself.”
In closing, the pastor shared a testimony of Stephan and Rebecca, a couple in CHC. They got married in the church in 2005 but experienced many business failures along the way. In 2010, they opened a bakery and found success. They became busier and eventually stopped attending church. When they expanded the business overseas, Stephen fell into an ungodly relationship. When Rebecca found out about it, she became depressed and suicidal. Their pastor, Tan Yah Lan reached out to them and reminded them of God’s grace. In that year, their business’ revenue fell by 50 percent but Stephen found solace in the Word. He went back to church and began studying the Word of God. He cried out to God and confessed all his sins to his wife.
Slowly through commitment and effort, Stephen and Rebecca’s marriage began to heal, their family was recovered and even their business experienced transformation and restoration.
“No matter how bad your situation is—it could have started off badly or gone bad—it may seem impossible in your eyes but God can recover it all for you,” declared Pastor Zhuang, ending the service by praying for the church.