Though I have long had Psalm 42:5 underlined in my Bible, where David commands his weary soul to hope in God, it has been awhile since I have taken his example to heart. I was reminded yesterday of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones’ message on preaching to your soul when Pastor Lederman spoke on 1 Samuel 30:66. In this passage, David’s position and life were in danger and the city which had been given him had been raided and all the women and children had been captured. If I think my life is bad now, then in David’s situation I would have been in for a major shock. Yet, Scripture says that “David encouraged himself in the Lord.” As Pastor Lederman said (quoting another source): “He encouraged himself in the Lord because he believed, even sitting in the ashes, and considered with application to his present case the power and providence of God, His justice and goodness, His common practice of bringing low and raising up, His care of His people who trust in Him, and the particular promises He had given him, that He would bring him safely to the throne. With these considerations he supported himself.” Over the last few months it has often seemed like I am falling and cannot get up. Yet never have I been in so discouraging of circumstances as was David. Perhaps it is time for me to say “Hey me! Listen up! Have you forgotten the promises of the Lord? Have you forgotten the greatness of God?” For it is when we forget who God is and that He will do what He says He will do that we become faint in heart and apathetic. Complacency, that ever-contagious disease of “good enough,” is the enemy of the daily putting on of the armor of God and engaging in the battle for souls–mine and others. That I would lose my passion for Christ is not the fault of my circumstances, but rather that I have forgotten. Thus the Lord says to His people, “Remember.” When we remember who God is, we are freed from the bondage of fear, shame, guilt, and listlessness to rise up and walk forward in the power of God.
“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.’… The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’– what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’– instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.’” –D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965/2002), 20-1.