Wednesday Night 12.12.18
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I want to welcome you tonight. Why don’t start our night by asking the Lord to be with us.
Tonight I want to take a few moments to reflect on our message from Sunday.
If you weren’t with us Sunday, we talked about Christmas being a season of Trust. A season where we are reminded if we want to walk in the promises of God, then we have to be willing to trust that God will be true to His Word.
The question then is, "How do we trust Him?”
Well, first, we have to remember that He is the God of the crazy impossible. That there is nothing impossible for God. The virgin birth reminds us of that. And the truth is, if God can cause a virgin to be with child, then he can do anything:
He can heal a broken marriage.
He deliver somebody from substance abuse.
He can heal a broken body.
He can provide financially.
He can save your prodigal son or daughter.
He can heal the rift in a friendship.
The fact of the matter is, there is nothing that is impossible for God.
So, in order to trust God, it begins by believing He can handle the crazy impossible.
Second, we have to be willing to abandon our fear and embrace our faith. Like Mary and Joseph, we have to abandon the fear of what others might say or think, and we have to walk into our faith, believing that God will accomplish the crazy impossible.
Because the truth is, when you begin to believe in the crazy impossible, there are going to be people in your life that think you’re crazy. People who think your being foolish.
And the temptation will be to listen to them.
The temptation will be to shy away from your faith.
The temptation will be to stop believing that God is the God of the crazy impossible.
But in that moment, like Mary and Joseph, we have to hold onto our assurances and continue to trust that God will be true to His Word.
But if I’m being honest with you, even if you can overcome that temptation, the temptation won’t stop there. Because while God is the God of the crazy impossible, and even if we can set our fear aside and embrace our faith, there are going to be moments when we doubt God’s promises. Moments when we question if we can trust God to be true to His promises.
Now, you might be thinking, “Well that doesn’t sound very encouraging pastor. What do you mean there will be moments when I doubt God’s promises? I mean if I really believe God is the God of the crazy impossible, and if I can overcome the fear of what others might think or say, then why would I doubt God?”
You’ll doubt Him because while God is the God of the crazy impossible, God doesn’t always do the impossible in the way or in the timeframe we’d like Him to.
And herein lies the challenge for many Christians, who unfortunately want God to work like a microwave, when God typically works like a crock pot. The truth is, God has His way and His timing for accomplishing His promises.
I mean think about it. When God made the promise to redeem mankind in , that promise didn’t come to fruition the next day, the next week, or even the next year. That promise didn’t come to fruition for thousands of years. And the reality is, the OT saints from Abraham, to Moses, to David, to the prophets, all died never seeing the promise fulfilled. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of that fact. Listen to how he puts it:
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.
The writer says all those saints died having never seen the promise of fulfilled. All they could do was look at it from afar, believing that one day God would make good on the promise.
The writer says all those saints died having never seen the promise of fulfilled. All they could do was look at from afar, believing that one day God would make good on the promise. But not only that, they understood that even if it didn’t happen in their life time, that was ok. Because they weren’t living for this life, they were living for the next. They were looking forward to the end of the promise. They were looking forward to the city that God had prepared for them in heaven.
But not only that, they understood that even if it didn’t happen in their life time, that was ok. Because they weren’t living for this life, they were living for the next. They were looking forward to the end of the promise. They were looking forward to the city that God had prepared for them in heaven.
You see, that’s the challenge you and I face. In our microwave culture we want and expect God to make good on His promises in our time and in our way. In fact, I don’t think it’s probably too far from the truth to say, that in all of Biblical history, believers today are more demanding and impatient than believers of any other time period when it comes to the promises of God. We want what we want now, and if we don’t get it, then we get frustrated, we get angry, and we lose faith in God’s promises.
We lose faith when our spouse is unfaithful, and the promise of a healthy Christian marriage goes out the window.
We want God to heal our marriage in the way we want.
We lose faith when instead of healing our loved one, they die.
We want God to heal our body now.
We lose faith when what we know God can do doesn’t happen in the way or in the timing we think it should. And in that moment we question God. We question His promises. And we question our faith.
You see, what we’ve forgotten, is that God is the God of the impossible. We forget that God can still fulfill His promises through a troubled or broken marriage. Denise and I are living proof of that. Because don’t think for one minute Denise or I wanted to go through the challenges or struggles we faced as a young married couple. But God used that trouble, and he used those circumstances to accomplish His promise that one day I would be in the ministry. It just didn’t happen in the timing or way I though it would.
We want God to
What we've forgotten, is while God can heal, He may not heal your loved one on this side of heaven, but instead He fully restores them on the other side.
What we’ve forgotten is even in the middle of a nasty divorce, God can accomplish His promise,
You see, what we’ve forgotten is that God’s promises don’t come in microwave packages that we get to set the timer on. God’s promises stretch throughout time and history. God’s promises aren’t always fulfilled in a lifetime. And the reality is, there may be promises you feel God has made to you or that you’re holding on to, that you’ll never see fulfilled on this side of heaven or in the way you thought they’d be.
The truth is, there may be promises he fulfills in your kids that you’ll never see.
There may be promises that could only be fulfilled if your love done died.
There may be promises that couldn’t have happened had your spouse not left you.
And I know when I say that, that bothers some of you. That concerns some of you. But here’s the reality, God doesn’t work on our time schedule or according to our ideal desires. God fulfills His promises in His timing and in His way. And like it or not, like the OT saints, we have to put our trust in that and not lose faith.
But here’s the reality, God doesn’t work on our time schedule or according to our ideal desire.
So, a great question would be, “How do we do that?” To be honest, it’s not easy, because to a large degree it requires not only faith and trust, but patience. Patience to believe that God will make good on His promise in His time.
But to help us, what I’d like to do tonight is at least give us some pitfalls to avoid. Pitfalls when it comes to God’s promises that sometimes cause us to lose our faith footing. And to do that, we are going to look at a promise that was made to a man named David. A promise that didn’t happen immediately. A promise that took years to fulfill. A promise that had David not avoided certain pitfalls, may have not come to fruition at all.
The promise is found in . And it’s in this passage that a young teenage boy named David is selected and anointed to be the next king of Israel. It’s in this passage that God promises David that He’s going to be King.
But here’s the problem, when God makes this promise to David, Saul is still the King. In fact, Saul is going to be the King for quite awhile longer. In fact, it’s going to be another 15 long years. Long years, because during those 15 years Saul is going to do everything he can to try and kill David and make sure God’s promise to David isn’t fulfilled.
And the truth is, David could have gotten discouraged. David could have lost faith. David could have gotten angry with God. But he didn’t. David held on to the promise, and in doing so avoided some pitfalls.
And what makes it even more difficult for David, is there are moments when he could have made it happen
So, what were the pitfalls David avoided? The first one is found in . Because following David’s anointing, David showed up on the battlefield and killed a giant named Goliath. A giant that King Saul should have killed, but was too afraid to face. The Bible records it like this:
38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:
What I want you to notice, is instead of putting on his own armor to go and fight Goliath, Saul puts the armor on David. But David’s not ready to wear the King’s armor, it’s not time yet, and so David goes with what God has given him. He picks up his sling, five stones, and he heads out to meet Goliath. Samuel goes on to write:
48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David.
The Bible says, with a sling and a stone David kills the giant. The giant King Saul should have killed.
Do you know what it would have been easy for David to do in this moment? It would have been easy for David to claim the promise. In this moment, it would have been easy for David to say, “Now’s the time!” In fact, listen to what happens next:
6 As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
Samuel says as David comes in the city, the people are singing his praises. They are saying, “Saul has struck down thousands but David ten thousands”.
At this point, it would have been easy for David to claim that he was the rightful king. After all, he’s the one who just delivered Israel. He’s the one who went out and faced the giant. Not Saul, but him.
But David doesn’t do that. David avoids the pitfall, and instead begins to serve Saul.
Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the pitfall David avoided?” The pitfall was to assume that God’s way his way.
You see, it would have been real easy for David to assume now was the time. It only makes sense. Saul has failed as King. Saul didn’t fulfill his kingly duty. It only would make sense that he would be crowned king in place of Saul now. I mean, just listen to the people.
But David doesn’t do that. David continues to wait patiently for God’s way.
And that’s the challenge for us. Because when it comes to God’s promises in our lives, often we try to make our way God’s way. Based on circumstances we assume that God’s going to work a certain way. We assume he’s going to provide in a certain way. We assume he’s going to heal in a certain way. We assume he’s going to reconcile the marriage in a certain way. I mean it only makes sense.
The writer of proverbs says:
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
The truth is, had David tried to claim God’s promise at that point, Saul would have had David executed. The truth is, God had a different plan for how David would become king.
And what was true for David’s promise is often true of our promises. Our way usually isn’t God’s way, and it’s a pitfall to think it is.
Let me give you a couple of examples of how this sometimes plays out in our lives.
Example #1 - Let’s say your marriage is struggling and your marriage is on the brink of divorce. But your trusting God, you believe God has given you a promise that He will restore your marriage. But then your spouse leaves you, and your way goes out the door.
Example #2 - Maybe you’re praying for somebody to be healed, and your claiming the promises of God. Your believing for healing. But then they don’t get better, they get worse, and maybe they even die. And your left sitting there thinking, “This wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Why didn’t God heal them? Why hasn’t God restored them? Why did they die?”
I know I’ve often wondered that about Jase Suther. I’ve often wondered, “Why would God spare Jase and then not fully heal him?”
And it’s in that moment you and I have to remember our way isn’t always God’s way. Yeah, it would make sense that God would work in a certain way, but He has a different way.
And let’s just be honest, that’s where trust gets hard. That’s where its easy to get frustrated. Which then leads to a second pitfall.
So, that’s the first pitfall, thinking our way is God’s way.
The second pitfall falls in line with the first. Because when things don’t go our way, at that point it’s easy to get mad at God. Because not only does David have to wait for God’s timing, but things start to go down hill. Samuel writes:
8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David from that day on. 10 The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. 11 And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice. 12 Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand. And he went out and came in before the people. 14 And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him. 15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them.
I’ve often heard people say, “It’s ok to be mad at God”. And I get what people are saying when they say that. I think in situations when life doesn’t go the way we thought it should, God is an easy target for our frustration. But the truth is, the proper response when our way isn’t God’s way, isn’t to get mad at God, but to trust Him more.
And that’s exactly what David did. At that point David continued to be faithful not only to God, but to Saul. Even when Saul was trying to kill him, David didn’t blame God. David didn’t curse God. Instead, David continued to trust God, and as a result, God blessed Him. Because David knew regardless of the circumstances, even though things weren’t playing out as he would like, that God was going before him.
I wonder sometimes if we are too quick to get mad at God. Too quick to question God. I wonder, if instead of getting upset when our way isn’t God’s way, if we were to just trust God more, if we might find God’s way is a better way.
To trust that maybe God has a different path for healing our marriage or dealing with our spouse.
That maybe God has a different plan for our sick loved one.
That maybe God has a different way of handling that situation at work.
That if instead of getting mad or frustrated with God, we avoided the pitfall, and trusted Him more.
This leads us to a final pitfall we need to avoid when it comes to trusting God. The pitfall, to take matters into our own hands. Something that is easy to do in the midst of our frustration. Listen to the potential pitfall that David faced.
1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’ ” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
At this point, some years have passed, Saul continues to pursue David, and David continues to flee for his life. But then one day, it would appear God’s promise is about to be fulfilled as David is presented with an opportunity to take Saul out.
The opportunity takes place in a cave where David and his men are hiding. Not knowing David is in the cave, Saul goes into use it as a bathroom. And as he’s doing his business, David is just a few feet away.
Now, I want you to think about this. At this point, Saul is in the most vulnerable position a man could be in. There will never be an easier time to take Saul out. It would seem God has delivered Saul into David’s hands.
And the truth is, He has. In fact, I think this is a test for David. A test to see if David will continue to trust God, or will he take matters into his own hands and kill Saul in a disgraceful way.
I mean think about it. Years later, David is sitting on his throne, his grand kids are sitting around him, and one of them says, “Hey grandpa, tell us about how you became king. Tell the story of how God delivered you from King Saul.”
So, David says, “Well there I was hiding in the cave. Saul came in, sat down in the stall, I snuck up behind him, and before he knew what hit him, I cut his head off.”
“Wow, that’s quite a story Grandpa. Sounds like you just murdered him.”
And that’s what it would have been. It would have been a disgraceful act of murder on David’s part.
But thankfully, David is still trusting God, and even though he could take matters into his own hands, he doesn’t. He does what’s honorable. He spares Saul’s life and continues to trust God.
And the fact of the matter is, David’s trust paid off. Because not long after that, Saul went into battle against Israel’s enemy, the Philistines, and was killed. In fact, Saul fell on his own sword to avoid capture.
You see, it was never God’s plan for David to take Saul out. God would take care of Saul. All God needed David to do was trust him. To trust that in his way and his time, he would make good on his promise to David. The Bible records it like this:
1 After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. 4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,”
David trusted the promise, and even when it didn’t happen in his way, even when it would have been easy to get frustrated, and even when he could have taken matters into his own hands, he didn’t. Instead, he continued to trust God for his time and his way.
I don’t know what promise your waiting on God for tonight, but I do know how easy it is to want God to work like a microwave. I know how easy it is to get frustrated with God. I know how easy it is to try and take matters into our own hands. But can I challenge you tonight instead of falling into one of those pitfalls, to keep trusting God? To keep trusting the promise he gave you.
Maybe for some of you, it’s a marriage promise. Listen, I know when our marriages are on the rocks or going south, how easy it is to lose faith. How easy it is to wonder why God isn’t working our way. How easy it is to get frustrated with God. How easy it is to try and take matters into our own hands. Can I just challenge you tonight in your marriage, to keep trusting God. To not fall into a pitfall.
I know when it comes to our kids, how easy it is to want God to work our way. How easy it is to get frustrated with God. How easy it is to try and take matters into our own hands. Can I just challenge you tonight, instead of falling into one of those pitfalls, to just keep trusting God for the promise. To trust that he loves your kid even more than you do.
I know when it comes to a sick loved one, how easy it is to want God to work quickly and in a certain way. How easy it is to get frustrated when they’re not healed. How easy it is to try and carry the burden ourselves. Can I challenge you tonight, instead of falling into the pitfall, to keep trusting. To trust that regardless of the outcome, that God will keep his promise, if not in this life, but the life to come. That eventually they will be fully restored and healed.
With the time we have left this evening, I would like each of us to spend some time alone in the presence of the Lord. And in this time to reaffirm our trust in God’s promise, His plan, and His timing.
To take the next few moments to reaffirm our trust in God’s plan for our marriage, for our sick loved one, for our financial situation, for our children, for whatever it is that you need a fresh touch of trust in tonight. To do what David did when it seemed all was lost. Listen to David’s prayer in as he reaffirms his trust in God.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David. 1 Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! 2 Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, 3 because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me. 4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. 6 And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; 7 yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah 8 I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.” 9 Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. 10 Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it; 11 ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace. 12 For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14 We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng. 15 Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart. 16 But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 18 He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. 19 God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God. 20 My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21 His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 23 But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.
For the next few moments, my challenge to you is to reaffirm your trust in the Lord. If you like to move around and pray, or even come up front, or stay where you are, that’s fine, but let’s take the next few moments to seek the Lord and reaffirm our trust.