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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20190728 DITCHES IN THE DESERT

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       Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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              Pastor Ray Scott

 

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SERMON STARTER

Ditches in the Desert

 

You are a private in a rag tag army of “wanna-be” allies. You don’t trust your comrades at arms. You don’t like the commanding officer. He has forced you and about 40,000 others to march EIGHT DAYS over a hot desert with minimal food and water. One of the three commanding officers of the unlikely coalition suggests a source for water. “Let’s consult ELISHA, a prophet and a man of God to inquire of him. He knows about water. He poured water on the hands of Elijah.”

As a private in this coalition army you feel you have lost your mind from hunger and thirst as you find this out from your immediate supervisor. “Let me see if I get this straight? Our commanders have led us on this ‘wild goose chase’ in the desert without food and water. Our commanders are mad. They ask a wilderness hermit, a holy man, for instructions in what to do and he calls for a harpist to play while he mediates.”

You are almost resigned to this irrational display of desperation when the order comes down the military line: START DIGGING. You gripe: “Start digging? You want me to dig foxholes and trenches in this dry and dusty plain?"  They must be out of their minds, you gripe as the hot sweat wrings the last bit of moisture from your body. Sweat stings your eyes, runs in small rivulets down your face and causes clouds of dust to rise where they drop on the dusty ground. You dig because you’re commanded to dig. You dig all the rest of the day and into the night until your hands are cramped and blistered. They feel almost frozen to your digging instruments.

When you awaken in the morning, you are drenched with water. Water has flown uphill and across this ancient plain that was once a stream bed. Water has filled the ditches and the trenches you and your comrades have filled. You drink your fill and are astounded, but nonetheless refreshed. Even more miraculous events are immediately ahead.

QUESTIONS:

How has God asked you to obey Him in faith?

What has He asked you to do seemed unreasonable, or irrational?

What illogical demand has He recently placed on you?

What is it in you that keeps you from obeying Him:

          Fear of change?

          Anxiety about the future?

          Pride and stubbornness?

          Doubt and unbelief?

          Need to be in control of everything in your life

and the lives of those around you? Has God asked you in the midst of stress and conflict to start digging ditches in the desert?

 

Pastor Phil  <><<

 

 

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July 28, 2019 -  Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland

 

Ditches in the Desert

2 Kings 3

 

"Faith is believing that God desires victory and the best for His children, and acting in advance as though God's promises had already come to pass."           Pastor Phil  <><<

 

11 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?" So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah."

TIME: 850B.C.

 

SYMBOLS:  Water = Prosperity, Ability to win (See Phil 1:6)

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

 

                      Desert = Desolation, emptiness, waste

        Obstacles to Prosperity

                      Moab  = Frustration, conflict

 

BIBLE BACKGROUND

FOUR KINGS:

  1. Jehoram – Northern Kingdom King, Israel
  2. Jehoshaphat – Southern Kingdom King, Judah

3) Edom – Descendants of Esau

4) Mesha,  King of Moab, Producer of Sheep and Products

SETTING AND CONFLICT:

The reign and idolatry of Jehoram, King of Israel – vs. 1-3

Mesha, the King of MOAB rebels against Israel – vs. 4-5

UNHOLY ALLIANCE:

Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the King of Edom form an alliance against the Moabites – They run out of water on an eight day march to attack Mesha/Moab

GRUMPY PROPHET

The three kings go to the prophet Elisha to inquire of the Lord.

Elisha promises them water and a complete victory – vs. 11-19

 

DITCHES IN THE DESERT, cont. p.2

 

In the Progress of Faith there is. . .

I.  MAN'S JOB - vs. 13,16-19

13 Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother." But the king

of Israel said to him, "No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab." (Sarcasm)

2 Kings 3:16-19
16 And he said, "Thus says the LORD: 'Make this valley full of ditches.'
17 For thus says the LORD: 'You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink.' 18 And this is a simple matter in the sight of the LORD; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand. 19 Also you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall cut down every good tree, and stop up every spring of water, and ruin every good piece of land with stones."

          A. Man's job is to Submit to the Crusty Prophet - James 4:7

                    7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

                    1. The Crotchety prophet is talking to Kings

                    2. Submission is easy when people are nice

                    3. When they are sarcastic and mean-spirited, it's tough

                    4. The three Kings of Alliance merely wanted information

          B. Man's job is to Obey the Ridiculous - James 4:10

                    10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

                    1. Humbling ourselves is the initial act of Faith

                    2.                

          C. Possess Active Faith - Heb. 11:1

     1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

                    1. My friend, Don Silber, writes the following acrostic:

                              “We walk in FAITH,”

                              F antastic

                              A dventure

                              I  n

                              T rusting

                              H im

                    2. Now Faith is Proactive, not reactive

                    3. Now Faith Follows interior goals/principles

                    4. Now Faith God/man must participate

                    5. Faith Operates by Humility

 

In the Progress of Faith there is. . .

II. GOD'S JOB - vs. 20-24

20 Now it happened in the morning, when the grain offering was offered, that suddenly water came by way of Edom, and the land was filled with water.
21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight
DITCHES IN THE DESERT, cont. p.3

 

against them, all who were able to bear arms and older were gathered; and they stood at the border.
22 Then they rose up early in the morning, and the sun was shining on the water; and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood.
23 And they said, "This is blood; the kings have surely struck swords and have killed one another; now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!"
24 So when they came to the camp of Israel, Israel rose up and attacked the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they entered their land, killing the Moabites.

          A. Fill the ditches - v. 17

                    17 For thus says the LORD: 'You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain;

              yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your

              animals may drink.'
                    1. Supernatural act

                    2. Supra-natural - Defies logic

                    3. Denies empirical evidence

          B. Confuse the enemy

                    1. God creates confusion

                    2. Again and again in Bible narratives God confuses enemies

 

III. GOD GIVES VICTORY in the Process of Faith - vs. 21-27

          A. Faith + Obedience (humility/submission) = Victory

          B. The enemy is destroyed

 

QUESTIONS:

1. How has God asked you to obey Him in faith?

2. What unreasoning demand has He placed on you?

3. What about your anxiety/fear; pride/stubbornness;              doubt/unbelief that keeps you from obeying Him?

 

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2 KINGS 3

CHAPTER EXEGESIS

1. The reign and idolatry of Jehoram, king of Israel, 1-3.

Mesha, king of Moab, rebels against Israel, 4, 5.

2. Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom join against the Moabites, and are brought into great distress for want of water, 6-10.

3. The three kings go to Elisha to inquire of the Lord; who promises them water, and a complete victory, 11-19.

4. Water comes the next morning, and fills the trenches which these kings had made in the valley, 20.

5. The Moabites arm against them; and suppose, when they see the sun shining upon the waters, which look like blood, that the confederate kings have fallen out, and slain each other; and that they have nothing to do but take the spoil, 21-23.

6. The Israelites attack and completely rout then, beat down their cities, and mar their land, 24, 25.

7. The king of Moab, having made an unsuccessful attack on the king of Edom, takes his eldest son, and of offers him for a burnt-offering upon the wall; and there is great indignation against Israel, 26, 27.

 

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DITCHES IN THE DESERT

2 Kings 3:1-27 (NKJV)
1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.
2 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, but not like his father and mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made.
3 Nevertheless he persisted in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.
4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheepbreeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams.
5 But it happened, when Ahab died, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.
6 So King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel.
7 Then he went and sent to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, saying, "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?" And he said, "I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."
8 Then he said, "Which way shall we go up?" And he answered, "By way of the Wilderness of Edom."
9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom, and they marched on that roundabout route seven days; and there was no water for the army, nor for the animals that followed them.
10 And the king of Israel said, "Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab."
11 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?" So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah."
12 And 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.
13 Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother." But the king of Israel said to him, "No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab."
14 And Elisha said, "As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you, nor see you.
15 But now bring me a musician." Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
16 And he said, "Thus says the LORD: 'Make this valley full of ditches.'
17 For thus says the LORD: 'You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink.'
18 And this is a simple matter in the sight of the LORD; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand.
19 Also you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall cut down every good tree, and stop up every spring of water, and ruin every good piece of land with stones."
20 Now it happened in the morning, when the grain offering was offered, that suddenly water came by way of Edom, and the land was filled with water.
21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to bear arms and older were gathered; and they stood at the border.
22 Then they rose up early in the morning, and the sun was shining on the water; and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood.
23 And they said, "This is blood; the kings have surely struck swords and have killed one another; now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!"
24 So when they came to the camp of Israel, Israel rose up and attacked the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they entered their land, killing the Moabites.
25 Then they destroyed the cities, and each man threw a stone on every good piece of land and filled it; and they stopped up all the springs of water and cut down all the good trees. But they left the stones of Kir Haraseth intact. However the slingers surrounded and attacked it.
26 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him seven hundred men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not.
27 Then he took his eldest son who would have reigned in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall; and there was great indignation against Israel. So they departed from him and returned to their own land.

 

 

 

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BIBLE BACKGROUND

FOUR KINGS:

  1. Jehoram – Northern Kingdom King, Israel
  2. Jehoshaphat – Southern Kingdom King, Judah

3) Edom – Descendants of Esau

4) Mesha,  King of Moab, Producer of Sheep and Products

SETTING AND CONFLICT:

The reign and idolatry of Jehoram, King of Israel – vs. 1-3

Mesha, the King of MOAB rebels against Israel – vs. 4-5

UNHOLY ALLIANCE:

Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the King of Edom form an alliance against the Moabites – They run out of water on an eight day march to attack Mesha/Moab

GRUMPY PROPHET

The three kings go to the prophet Elisha to inquire of the Lord.

Elisha promises them water and a complete victory – vs. 11-19

CHAPTER EXEGESIS

1. The reign and idolatry of Jehoram, king of Israel, 1-3.

Mesha, king of Moab, rebels against Israel, 4, 5.

2. Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom join against the Moabites, and are brought into great distress for want of water, 6-10.

3. The three kings go to Elisha to inquire of the Lord; who promises them water, and a complete victory, 11-19.

4. Water comes the next morning, and fills the trenches which these kings had made in the valley, 20.

5. The Moabites arm against them; and suppose, when they see the sun shining upon the waters, which look like blood, that the confederate kings have fallen out, and slain each other; and that they have nothing to do but take the spoil, 21-23.

6. The Israelites attack and completely rout them, beat down their cities, and mar their land, 24, 25.

7. The king of Moab, having made an unsuccessful attack on the king of Edom, takes his eldest son, and of offers him for a burnt-offering upon the wall; and there is great indignation against Israel, 26, 27.

 

 

2001

This past week I ran across a folder marked, “House Project.”  It didn’t look like much: just a battered, worn file folder packed with dog-eared papers.  In the back I found two squares of cloth taped with a small seed in the middle.  I was puzzled at first.  Then, all at once my mind was flooded with memories of being in a rented house 10 years ago.  We had just decided and committed ourselves to planting a house church in the inner city of Sharon.  A friend dropped these two small pieces of cloth into my hands.  In faith Lois and I taped them into the back of a file folder, and began to search for a piece of property that would fulfill our needs.

 

 

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