Myth: God Will Always Bless Me
– Good morning Celebration Church.
– Every time I have an opportunity to speak at churches, retreats, or camps I always begin by celebrating my family for the reason that they are such a huge part of our ministry and God uses them to prepare me and make me a better minister because he has called them to be my first ministry. So I wanna introduce you to them, this is my lovely bride Mary Grace and our daughter Kyleigh Faith, who is just a big bundle of joy.
– Again, good morning Celebration church. Today is the day the Lord has made and we are going to rejoice. We are going to celebrate.
– Man, I love y’all’s name, Celebration Church, but I don’t just love y’all’s name, I love Celebration Church. This church has been a church that is sort of a home away from home for me because Celebration Church has been so instrumental in my spiritual formation. It’s awesome just to come back every so often and see many of the people that have poured into me when I was an awkward teenage boy.
– I am honored that Pastor Kirk would give me this opportunity to speak to God’s people and I hope you know how blessed you as a church to have this man of God lead y’all in ministering to this area.
– I really think that this is really special. That I get to be immersed in your world today just for a few moments, I hope you don’t take it for granted because you can begin to take things for granted that we have become accustomed to whether it’s a relationship or an opportunity or blessing that God has put in our life and we can begin to feel entitled for something that we used to feel grateful for. I said that you can begin to feel entitled for things that you use to be grateful for.
-So I hope that today as we get to have this honor to gather today at this great church that your hearts will be filled with gratitude that we get to gather in this place and corporately worship God. That we can come to a place like this where we can get equipped and enabled to do ministry. Where God gives to His sons and daughters encouragement when we need it most. We should just be grateful that God has given us another day. That God has given us another chance. We should be grateful for what God is doing. I hope that we are all grateful for the opportunity that God has given to us.
-I’ll be very honest with you this month has been pretty hectic and I’m not asking that you have petty for me. From having to help prepare for student ministry events, church meetings, VBS, family trips, and etc. I know that many of you can relate to the busyness that life sometimes brings and I got caught up believing a myth that many of us often practice in our daily routines. The myth that God will always bless me.
-But I want to share with you today for all those who have a promise that God has made you and you sense that God is calling you to do something but at this point in your life you’re not seeing the results, the blessings of the promise that you feel like God has made you. That can be a husband that you’re praying for, that can be like a restoration of a relationship that went wrong, or that can be waiting for and a sense of calling in your life. Just for everyone here today who has ever had something that God spoken to you about, inside of you, but you weren’t seeing it around you.
-This message is meant to be an encouragement to you as we see from God’s word how He blesses.
-Let’s turn to our bible to 2 Kings 3 and we are going to study from the life of what I believe is one of the most underrated characters in the bible, Elisha. Not Elijah this is Elisha and he is the successor of Elijah, but he doesn’t get as much notoriety and air time as Elijah in the bible which is interesting because he did twice as many miracles as Elijah did, but he seems to not get as much street cred as Elijah.
– So I want to preach a sermon today on what I believe is an underdeveloped and under communicated story in the bible about Elisha the prophet and I pray that God will encourage us all today.
– Let me give you a little bit of background and context to what going on here. That will help set the stage for what God wants to say to your life today.
-The best way that I can explain Elisha at this moment in the story is that he is kinda like the rookie prophet for Israel and the kings have not really called upon him yet to prophesize to the whole nations.
– And then they run into trouble. And the one thing about trouble is that trouble will have you look for God in places you haven’t looked. And that’s why sometimes it’s a good thing that we get to go into a little bit of trouble because most of us wouldn’t even pray if we never went through anything. So the fact that she broke up with you or he told you that he doesn’t like you anymore might not
feel very good but it might force you in a place on depending on God that you wouldn’t have been in otherwise.
-But today I am wanna share with you about a word that Elisha gave to the kings of Israel that has such application for our lives. So, let’s put it in context. The kings of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel had come together with a 3rd party and they were going to attack this enemy king.
-So we are going to pick up the story at 2 Kings 3:9 and I think the Scripture will be on the screen. 9 So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.
– I told you that they were in trouble. That’s the biggest trouble you get in. It’s not like they had a test and they forgot. It’s not like they feel a little depressed today because they ate a little too much last night and there jeans feel a little tight this morning.
– That’s trouble you have no water you’re dying. This is severe this is dire.
-Now watch this in verse 10 10 “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the LORD called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?” – That’s the way I read it…
11 But Jehoshaphat asked,
– I love this “Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?” An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.”
-You see how they are kind of demeaning him like… Elijah’s water boy is here. Elijah got taken up to heaven. Elisha took over and he around here somewhere and when he says that in verse 12 watch Jehoshaphat’s response he said..
12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
– Watch verse 13 it gets interesting
– Elisha shows up on the scene and appears in front of these powerful people who have the authority to let him live or put him to death and they need him and the nation is in trouble and the men have no water and watch Elisha’s response… here is why I love him so much. I love Elisha, he has a little attitude.
– Verse 13 13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.” – Oh snap, as one the students would say, “Shots fired.” See, that’s not like the introductory remarks you wanna give at a church service. First time up on the stage, he’s like, “what do you want, you haven’t called for me, all this time you been worshipping other gods, you haven’t inquired of the Lord, but now you run out of water and you want some God in your life. You want God to come fix everything.”
– Don’t we do that sometimes with God though? It’s like we are doing our own thing. We are living our own life ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Lord is trying to call us into something and then we run into some trouble. We run out of water. We come to a place where we need God and then we are like “oh God come fix my situation,” but I want to tell this entire auditorium something, you can’t expect God’s blessing when your living your life your way. If you want God’s results, you got to do it God’s way, (I wish someone hear today will clap your hands or say amen), because there are some things only God can do.
– Now that’s Elisha’s opening remark. I love this prophet and then the kings’ shoot back at him. “No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the LORD who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.” 14 Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you.
– In other words, here’s the deal. These armies had much more technical ability than the armies they were fighting against. They should have been able to win the war, but they learned a lesson that you are going to have to learn at some point in your life cause I know your handsome, I know you popular, I know your good with people, I know that you got it going on in Jesus name, but only God can send the rain. Only God can send the rain.
– Turn to someone next to you and tell them only God can send the rain.
– See that’s one thing that I appreciated about my education at Liberty University which is a Christian University in Lynchburg, VA. They understood these two dynamics. I was at a university where I could sit under the finest instruction possible for my field of Study, but they had such a reverence for God that they had a convocation (chapel hour) every MWF which was devoted to the Word. I don’t care if you are a mother, a student, working at some big company. We all have to understand and desire to be in God’s presence. We have to have a hunger for His word because no matter how gifted you may be or how talented you are, we have to come to the understanding and say we need you Lord because God’s the only one that can make it rain.
– So after Elisha sets them straight on that fact, in verse 15, and this is the part that I came to preach to your about. I’m going to encourage you. You’re about to leave here energized today. I got up this morning with so much energy and left the house today and said to myself that I got to encourage Celebration Church because there are some people in this room today that feel like God has greater things for them, but there not seeing them right now. And maybe there in a situation where there is no rain. You can’t see God’s blessing coming true in your life. So here’s the word of the Lord from Elisha’s mouth,
– In verse 15, armies are dying of thrust. The kings need a breakthrough. They need a blessing from God. They need something only God can give and here is what Elisha says after his little attitude speech. Verse 15 15 But now bring me a harpist.”
– I wrote in my notes that you got to be kidding me. Because this is a matter of life and death. These armies are about to die and this cat is calling for some background music. Give me a harpist…
– Really Elisha?!? Really?!? This is the first time in front of the kings. The armies are dying and you want some background music.
– In fact I wanted to demonstrate this… I just wanted to do a little illustration. (Get one of the band members to help me with this.)
– You know how you have seasons in your life or encounters in your life, where you really believe.
– This was a custom in the days. That when the prophets wanted to deliver a word from God they would call out a train musician who would facilitate that prophesy. So it wasn’t that bizarre to the kings, but it’s bizarre to us. And I think it’s a great metaphor for like before Elisha gave the word of the Lord, he created an atmosphere that is conducive to what he’s about to say. So many of us have been in those atmospheres where they are super charged with faith. Moments where you feel like God can do anything. So the bible says that when the harpist started playing, Elisha started prophesying.
– And when he starts speaking, he starts speaking words of hope and faith and possibility and potential and blessing and it’s an awesome thing. So when you come to church and when God is stirring up something in your life, your faith arises and you believe that there’s nothing impossible for God.
– How many of you today believe that nothing is impossible without God? There’s nothing He can’t do. There’s no situation that He can’t change.
– Alright, here’s the demonstration. Get ready but not yet…
– I’m going to say 4 lines. Pretty standard preacher/pastor lines. Motivational rhetoric. I’m going to say these 4 lines and I want you to see how it feels to you and then (our harpist) is going to help me and I’m going to say the same 4 lines again. I’m going to show you the difference.
– Alright, here’s my lines
You can do it.
You can make it.
Don’t give up.
No matter what.
– Pretty encouraging I mean who wouldn’t wanna hear that. Pretty good. Now watch what happens when my harpist plays… (Harpist), I want you to play the most beautiful thing you have ever played in your life. I want it to fill this room. I want it to be like the closing of the Billy Graham crusade. Millions are coming there coming from all over the world… Right now there coming… Come on (Harpist), Come on…. Help me… Here watch this… Keep going…
You can do it.
You can make it.
Don’t give up.
No matter what.
– Stop (Harpist)…. Now hold up…. See the beautiful thing about working in Student ministry. I get the opportunity to watch our student’s worship God and it fires me up it does not only occur on Sundays but at events, at VBS, at theirs schools…. And I get fired up and excited and I begin to look around the room and I start imagining that this person will begin a revival in their schools, that this guy will go into the film industry and show God’s light where it desperately needs to be seen. And I look at not only our students’ lives but at y’all’s and I start imagining stuff about your life and what it can become.
– And the harpist is playing… Come on (Harpist)… and it’s exciting… it’s God inspiring, it’s amazing, it’s like whoooo am going to do this for God and I’m going to change the world in the film industry…. Then stop….
– You don’t got no camera. You got 12 followers on Instagram.
– It’s like real life hits. Have you ever had the harpist playing… Do it again… Do it again…
– I’m going to read my bible, I’m going to pray, I’m going to fast like John Piper, I’m going to change the world, I’m going to seek the Lord… Stop!
– And you got to go back to school. Anybody know what I’m talking about? How you can have great inspiration. You can have incredible inspiration. The harpist is playing, word of the Lord comes, but if you have inspiration without implementation you don’t really have a vision you just have a daydream.
– See a lot of people think they have a vision from God and while the harpist is playing. While the harpist is motivating, while people are speaking into your life, come on, while people are challenging you to dream big for God. It’s inspiring but then real faith plays out in the plains of reality where you don’t have to only believe that God can do it, but faith without works is dead. (Harpist), you did awesome. Thank you so much.
– I was thinking about this… And I was struggling to give a real life experience that we could all connect with, but it hit me as I was having my quite time this week. I opened the bible that one of my mentors gave me and in it he wrote a quote from Jim Cymbala’s book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. I wanna share it with you…
“I despair at the thought that my life might slip by without God moving greatly through my behalf”
-I knew when I was 16 that God had a big plan with my life. That God wanted to use me to reach a generation that is consistently getting sacrificed on the altar of preferences, but at that time I just didn’t know how it was going to come to pass.
– So what does Elisha say while the harpist is playing that will help you get to a place from knowing that God wants to do more in your life to actually experiencing it… This is one of the greatest things that you can ever discover in scripture hiding in the library of 2 Kings 3.
– It says in the latter part of verse 15 While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the LORD says:
– How many of you in this room today really desire to hear from the Lord? You don’t care what some student pastor has to say? You really just want to hear his voice. You want to know what the Lord says. Okay Elisha sets it up…
This is what the LORD says:
– And here’s the command the prophet gives to the kings… Alright? they need water, they need rain, they need a miracle… Listen to what Elisha instructs them to do.
Make this valley full of ditches.
– Wow! He goes on to say in verse 17 some pretty incredible stuff. 17 For this is what the LORD says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. 19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”
– Verse 20 says that there was a happy ending… 20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.
– And we all want that for our lives. We all want our land to be filled with water. We all want God’s blessings and promises to come to pass. We all want to have an impact for God. We all want to be beyond the place where we are, but before the prophet talks about the water that’s coming into the land. He instructs the kings to start digging ditches.
– And here’s the encouraging word I came to bring you today. You ready? If you want God to send the rain, you need to dig a ditch.
– I thought y’all were fired up… I thought that when I said a line like that… I was imagining it in my head y’all all fired up to hear that…. Let me retry…
– If you want God to send the rain in your life, you need to dig a ditch. Some of y’all aren’t clapping because y’all are smart and your way ahead of me. What does that mean?
– That means that you don’t just sit around and pray for God to do something. You actually grab a shovel and start preparing for what He wants to do in your life because I bet the kings would have much rather heard something like this “yeah God is going to send the rain if your just think some positive thoughts about hydration. The rain will come. Just believe. Rain will come. Believe that your good
enough, you is kind, you is smart you is important, and God is gonna send the rain.”
– Right? No wrong, watch this…
– You want rain? Get a shovel. You want blessing, dig a ditch. Dig a ditch for the blessing your expecting even before you even see it. Now that’s a word for this entire congregation. That’s what our experience in the midst of preparation is all about. Digging ditches for what God wants to do in your life, so that when he sends it your be ready to receive it and give Him the glory.
– I wonder what ditches God is calling you to dig today. I love how the prophet didn’t just say dig a ditch. If you noticed he said “make this valley full of ditches.”
1 more things I wanna share with you today….
It’s hard to dig a ditch in the valley. The valley is the low place. Valley often represents in Scripture a depressed place. A low place, but the valley is the place where you need to believe in God the most. The time I can’t feel him. The time I can’t see him. The time I don’t know how He’s going to do it. Is the exact time that I need to trust Him like never before.
-When thought of uncertainties try to take root in my heart, His Word directs me to have confidence in Him!
– There is someone in here today that you feel so worthless and you feel so useless for God and maybe you made some mistakes and maybe you did some things that in your eyes would disqualify you from God’s service, but the Lord sent me to encourage you and share with you that if you begin to start digging ditches in your valley and believe in Him that He is a good God who can turn your mistake into a miracle that God can still reign in your life and use you in ways that you would never imagine.
– There’s someone in here that is praying for their future husband that you will have one day and your like, “God send me my man. Please send him now.” You can’t make God send you a man. You can’t force God to send you the right person. Here’s what you can do. Focus on allowing God to prepare you to be the right person, so when God sends the right person you’ll be ready.
– “God I want to plant a church. I want to reach lost people.” Why don’t you go across the street and lead your neighbor to Christ and show them the love of God? Quit waiting for what you want and work what you already got.
– “What do you have in your hand Moses?” A staff. Feed these people… All we have is 5 loafs and 2 fish. Bring them to God. What do you have right now that you can offer to God and he will turn it into a sign for people to be reached?
– You can’t make it rain but you can dig a ditch. I would be so encourage as your speaker today if right now as I’m speaking you would be thinking about the ditches that God has called you to dig, preparing for the life that He has called you to live.
Myth: God Will Always Bless Me