“WANTED: DITCH DIGGERS!”
2 Kings 3:4-27
I got myself into remodeling an apartment’s bedroom into a bathroom. I thought the cost would be about $400-$500. It turned out to be closer to $1200.
Ever get involved with something that turned out to be more of a hassle than it should have been?
I think we all can testify to getting ourselves into things that later we are left wondering, “How did this happen? What am I doing this for again? How long did you say this was going to take? I don’t remember signing on for this part of the scenario.”
And that leads me to another question, “When the things that were expected are interrupted or even stopped, what do you do? What do you do when your expectations go unfulfilled? Have you had to deal with some unfulfilled expectations recently?
Israel dealt with some unfulfilled expectations—the flow of their security was coming in just fine, but something happened that messed that up! Now they had something additional they needed to do, something that wasn’t planned, wasn’t accounted for, wasn’t saved up for, wasn’t even on the radar, BUT before they could reach their goal, go further, gain more, and accomplish more, this NEW and unasked for situation needed to be dealt with.
They heard Catherine Zeta-Jones’ call to “GET MORE” but there was a hurdle…an interruption…an unexpected extra step that merged into their life from an unsuspected onramp that now needed to be taken care of before the original pursuit could be carried out.
I believe as we look at how God helps Israel to deal with unfulfilled expectations in their history we can learn how God wants to work with the unfulfilled parts in our own lives.
1. [4-8] The first thing we find is that “Moab rebels.”
This event brings the King of Israel a VISION = to crush his enemy! There is no rent for free! No security for nothing! So the question Israel deals with is:
Q. “What do we do about this unexpected problem?”
They shouldn’t have to be dealing with this right now, BUT Moab rebels! Moab cannot be predicted, cannot be controlled, cannot be kept in a pattern. People always provide mystery! And people are an unending source of unfulfilled expectations.
So Moab’s seeking an opportunity of freedom, their idea to fight and break away from their contractual agreement has put Israel into a place they didn’t ask for. Am I speaking to anybody here today?
--A husband who never asked for an unfaithful wife; a wife who never asked for an abusive husband; parents who never asked for foolish teenagers; employees who never asked to be laid off; employers who didn’t ask for dishonest workers; churches who never asked for unfaithful members.
There is a saying that goes something like this, “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep from the building a nest in your hair.”
Listen, I don’t know where this message finds you today, but some of you need to stop doing some of the things you have been doing. You need to stop making the sinful choices you have been making. You need to STOP allowing the Devil to run all over your life and start making HIM pay for a change!
You need to ask yourself this question: Am I going to allow the enemy to live around me for free?
The Bible says the enemy blinds the mind of those who don’t know Jesus from hearing the good news. But we need to remember that people who do not know Jesus Christ are people God loves, YES, but are also living blind and deceptive lives. They are still living in rebellion against the very thing they need—God’s love that can ONLY be obtained through Jesus Christ! And we as believers still need to be on our guard against their influence in our lives.
If you work in a sinful environment make the Devil pay! How? PRAY! Speak words of love and kindness often! Be positive always and moral too; but be a holy presence in that place! Make the DEVIL pay for being around you as one of God’s children!
You are God’s child. You are the child of a King, and that makes you royalty. You are bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ and that makes you worth something.
You’re not junk, you’re not worthless, you’re not trash as the world makes you feel sometimes; you are chosen, picked first in God’s eyes, the head and not the tail, at the front of the line and not at the back, you are an important part of the body of Jesus Christ on the earth—the greatest force on this planet is still the Church of Jesus Christ and nothing will EVER change that! And if you belong to that church, then you will go places my friend that this world will only dream of going!
So Israel has a vision and assembles together to march out to make the enemy PAY!
2. [9-20] “No more water...”—they reached the end of their resources.
So Israel set out to care of this problem! And they ran into another one. Ever said this, “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” It is one of the greatest self-pity statements that’s ever been made! The focus is entirely off! It is completely on the self, on the present and doesn’t do a lick of good! Here’s another statement just like it, “If it rains, it pours.” Why do we learn and quote such terrible statements! There is a greater law in effect folks than Murphey’s Law! We are people who do not live by the “seems like” but by the truth that has been revealed in Jesus Christ!
So there’s Israel! They set out to do what God had for them to do, but they ran out of their own resources. Things needed to be made right, the enemy needed to pay, but sometimes the path that takes us in that direction exceeds our own capacity! Sometimes the path God calls us to take depletes us and leaves us thirsty!
Let me tell you something, THAT is when you know it is a God-sized mission! Did the vision change? NO. Did their God change? NO. They just ran out of water! Out of water in the middle of a desert. Their original vision turned from crushing their enemy to saving their lives! The question they asked now was: “What do we do about this new problem?”
“I got married to take care of my loneliness, but the man I now live with isn’t the same man I married—he’s changed and I am running out of grace and out of love. Will this ever end?”
“All I wanted to do was make some money to support my family, but now I’m working all the time with hardly any energy left to do what I need to do at home. I feel like giving up.”
“I keep obeying my parents as God asks me to do but they don’t allow me to go to get involved in church activities anymore. They tell me I need to get a job to pay for the car they got for me, but I never asked for that and I my faith is getting weaker and weaker. What am I supposed to do?”
“We keep trying to grow and we have used up all of our resources to reach the lost for Christ, but instead of growing we continue to lose people from our church. What do we do?”
There are wrong questions. My brother told me once that the only wrong question there is, is the one that goes unasked. I replied back: Wrong questions are the ones whose answers take you in the wrong direction. Are you asking wrong questions?
“Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong to deserve this? What sin is God punishing me for now? How long must I put up with this? What am I supposed to do now?” Have you ran out of water! Are you thirsty yet, or are still in your self-pity?
Listen folks, if you have people in your life who are steeped in self-pity and you try to be a buoy in their life to keep them afloat when God is trying to take them down you are going to find yourself fighting with them against God and going down yourself! The best thing to do with people are in self-pity is IGNORE them. Let that be a good word for you—if you find yourself ignored in the next few weeks, guess what!
If you are either asking the wrong questions yourself, or keeping others in their continual habit of asking wrong questions you will stay right where you are. And as you the know, the truth is you cannot stay where you are and go with God! You cannot stay where in your self-pity and go forward with God!
To go forward with God you need to do what Israel did and ask the right question. What question was that?
3. [10-25] “Is there no prophet?” –the right question was asked!
Is there no prophet translates, “What does God have to say about this?”
When that question is asked, everything changes!
When that question is asked, the vision is cleared because the visionary is brought closer to God. Are you ready? If you have truly ran out of your resources, if you have truly come to the end yourself, if you are truly thirsty, if you have truly come to the place where you have no more answers, are you ready for a God-incidence? A GOD-incidence is a CO-incidence where God remains anonymous.
Where the vision is cleared:
A. Got A Promise = “...this valley will be filled!”
= Believe! GOD = that’s faith in God
B. Got The Word = “Dig ditches!”
= Obey! GOD = that’s hope in God
C. Got A Miracle = “There it was--flowing water!”
= Receive it! = that’s love for God
What stands between our victory and where we are is:
One Dug Ditch!
Where the vision is cleared is where faith grows!
Where the vision is clearest, faith is the strongest!
I am going to stop right there and finish this sermon in two weeks.
But some of you are wallowing in self-pity and it is time for that stop and it is time for you to make the enemy PAY!
God’s PROMISES are too GREAT for you to not have FAITH in
His WORD is too CLEAR for you to not have HOPE in
His GRACE is to WONDERFUL for you to not LOVE & TRUST
There is a GOD-SIZED miracle of grace on its way for you today, but are you thirsty for it? If not, you won’t even recognize it!
Are you digging ditches for it?
If not, how is God’s supply going to stay with you?
Are you reaching out into it, scooping it up, drinking it in?
If not, God has done all he can do to provide you what you need, so if you don’t the enemy will keep getting his way and taking your resources, you will stay right where you in your self-pity and bondage and you remain thirsty for the unknown!
You can’t stay where you are and go with God!
But where the vision is clearest, faith grows the strongest! And your faith is worth more to God than the finest gold!
Move out into faith in God’s PROMISES
Obey His WORD and live in HOPE
Drink in His GRACE for your life and open your heart to LOVE & TRUST him!
Isn’t it about time to make the devil pay for what He’s taken from you? Don’t allow him to be around you for free!
4. [21-23] Behind the scenes, God is at work!
Moab rebelled [all they saw], they mustered their army [maybe], got up in the morning and saw what looked red --like BLOOD!
“That’s blood!” Who do you think put that thought in their mind?
Q. “What is God doing over there?”
We may never know, BUT we know God is always at work!
5. [24-25] “the Israelites fought and invaded the land”
God brought the answer to them, before they had time to ask.
They were still drinking in the water, the answer to their very lives and now God not only spared their lives, bought them again if it were, and then chose to use them to destroy the enemy!
Their original vision was now brought to completion
THE RIGHT WAY = God’s way!
When God brings the answer is brought to you . . . No questions asked!
6. [26-27] Warning! Don’t go back to yesterday!
The Israelites saw the King of Moab sacrifice his son on the wall and went back in their memories past God’s miracles, past their victory, to their sin of idolatry and their beliefs about witchcraft.
They forgot about God, went back to yesterday and subsequently, gave up the fight and went home.
1. Are we going to allow the enemy to live around you?
-For free? The enemy has people blinded to Christ and to God’s love in Christ. But they have rebelled against the very thing they need!
2. Will we let the vision take us through?
When we run into hurdles, will we think the vision has changed? Will we allow ourselves to entertain thought that God has changed?
3. Question: What does God offer us?
Answer: A River! The Holy Spirit of the Living God!
A. We Have A Promise: I AM WITH YOU always
B. We Have The Word: MAKE disciples!
C. A Miracle Is On The Way!
Our Faith will grow stronger! Our Hope will be filled! And Love will overflow for God and all people!
4. What is God doing over there?
We don’t know; but we can be sure He IS doing something!
And that something will help us be victorious for Christ!
5. Will God do as He has promised? No questions asked!
The fulfillment is on its way!
What stands between our …
reaching people for Christ
and where we are is ONE DUG DITCH!
Which would you rather be: a dig ditch digger? Or a grave digger?
6. Do you want to go back to the past? to yesterday? TO your old life? God has saved you to use you! There is more to the Christian life than salvation! It is to be used by God to bring victory in His name to lost people! People in darkness, in dismay!
How do you need God? The average American doesn’t need anything, and if they did they’d never tell you. The average Christian doesn’t have the things God wants them to because they don’t believe God would give it to them if they asked!
“You have not, because you ask not!”
“Well, if I only had a shovel. If I only knew how to dig.”
We are talking about life and death here!
There are people who would rather die than dig a ditch.
Rather live off of others fulfilled promises and blessings.
Rather stay lazy than live for Christ!
To dig a ditch = we need to obey the promise of God to our expense so God can fill us with His expense!
No water? Ask God. Then dig a ditch!
Envision what God wants--move towards it--hurdle difficulties—press through--you’ll find God has been working behind the scenes to bring you a miracle and His answer!
*Ditches I have dug:
Jeff & Lorie, Shawnda, Eric & Shannon, Task Force -- SS invites --practiced!