Summary: Breaking out from all that keeps us small
Breaking free from the Small
Reading: 2 Kings 6:1-23
When ever you have two people watching the same event, when you come to hear the reports, the basic facts will in all probability be the same, yet the accounts of it will often vary. You only have to look at the reports in the papers of a by-election, in particular the interpretation of the results by the various parties. Look at the sports pages of the different tabloids, the winner by one will reported as annihilating or destroying the opposition, sighting the score or what ever as the evidence of the glorious win. However, another reporter will point to the determined opposition put up by the vanquished, quite possibly that the losers were in fact the “MORAL” winners, as they did not have some many booked or sent off. The same match, different perspectives.
The same is true in Christian circles, how many times have you been to a meeting, listened to the reports of others, and wondered if you were in the same meeting.
“There was a real sense of the presence of God in the prayer meeting, people were struck in awe.” “It was boring, no-one prayed or joined in.” “There was a real sense of excitement and people just exploded into praise, rejoicing and thanksgiving.” “There was a lot of noise and emotionalism.” We really got the meat of the Word in the bible study.” “I didn’t understand a word he said.”
The spies that Moses sent out to view the promised land are a graphic example of just this. The reports and the immediate effect can be seen in Numbers 13 + 14. They all saw the same things, they all saw the richness of the soil, the abundance of water, the valleys, the plains, yet they reported differently. The reports concerning the sons of Anak give us the reason why the possession of their inheritance was put off for a generation. They said;
(Numbers 13:33) “...we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
We are told in Num 14:1+2 when the people heard this; “..all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night....... all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ’If only we had died in the land of Egypt ! Or... the wilderness.”
In spite of the fact that these people had seen God’s dealings with Egypt, they had seen the ten plagues, they had seen the army of Pharaoh held back by pillar of cloud, they had seen the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, they had walked upon the sea bed, and they had seen the Egyptian army drown in the same place that they had just walked through, they had drank from the waters that were turned from being bitter to sweet, they had eaten of the manna, they had eaten the quails that were provided they had drank the water from the rock, they had had the victory of the Amalekites, when Aaron and Hur supported Moses arms. Yet still they refused to believe that God was able. The tragedy about this story and others like it in the bible, and throughout the history of the church, is that the limiting factor in the moving of God was the small mindedness of the people. To them, the task before them was all too much, it was enormous, the big one, they looked and noted the immensity of it, and it became an all consuming thing. Their focal point was upon themselves, there thinking was that of a slave, yet to our God, it was but a small thing. Their thinking and vision had become en-captivated. We do need to note here though, that in the dealings of our God with His people, there are times of small things. Jesus talked about the seed falling to the ground and there dying. He talked about the mustard seed being a small seed, yet it could spring up and become the largest of the plants of that type. Not just to be a large plant, but a place of shade from the heat of the day, into which many birds and other animals could find rest. Yet there is a process of growth that means that the seed and plant will at some stage be small. That is also a very dangerous time for the plant, a time when it is at its most vulnerable. The tree will need an axe to fell it, a sapling in the other hand often only needs the simple nipping of the fingers.
We all acknowledge the need for growth, we all pray for it. The Lord is not challenging us tonight about our lack of wanting to grow, what is being addressed is the encamping of things which keep us small. There are things which encamp around the people of God, whose sole purpose is to keep us small.