Summary: By presumption, 3 Kings left God out, then had to backtrack to God for help. God's message: you can't fight spiritual warfare until you have repented of sin, indifference, disobedience, selfishness, and neglect. Then the anointing will flow!
A. HUMOR: PLAYPEN
1. A young mother complained to her friend about the difficulties of child rearing, especially the lack of peace and constant pestering by her small children.
2. Her friend smiled and said, "What you need is a playpen to separate the kids from yourself!" So the young mother bought a playpen.
3. A few days later, her friend called to ask how things were going. “Awesome! I can't believe how nice it is" she replied. "I get in the pen with a good book and the kids don't bother me one bit!"
B. DEFEATED BY SNOWFLAKES
1. It pays to not leave God out of your calculations! Napoleon proposed to invade Russia. A bystander said, “Man proposes, but God disposes.” Napoleon replied, “I propose and I dispose.” But that was to leave God out of the reckoning, and it proved fatal.
2. For God dealt with Napoleon through one of the tiniest, most fragile creations, the snowflake. In 1812,
Napoleon Bonaparte entered Russia with 410,000 men; within that year, he exited Russia with only 9000 men! Boasting resulted in the loss of his crown, his army, and his liberty, but God was vindicated.
5But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 So at that time King Joram….7 sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?" "I will go with you," he replied.
8 "By what route shall we attack?" he asked. "Through the Desert of Edom," he answered. 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. 10 "What!" exclaimed the king of Israel. "Has the LORD
called us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?"
11 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD through him?" An officer of the king of Israel answered, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here…”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. 13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What do we have to do with each other? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother." "No," the king of Israel answered, "because it was the LORD who called us three kings together to hand us over to 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 look at you or even notice you. 15 But now bring me a harpist." While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha 16 and he said, "This is what the LORD says: Make this valley full of ditches.
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 hand Moab over to you. 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."
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. 22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked
red—like blood. 23 "That's blood!" they said. "Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!"
24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.
D. THESIS AND TITLE
This morning we’re looking at the critical importance of prayer and how it is key to God’s interposition. The title of this message is, “Digging Ditches.”
I. FORGETTING GOD & ITS CONSEQUENCES
The reason this whole situation arose was because Israel’s kings forgot God.
A. AHAB’S LINE ABANDONED GOD
1. Joram was the son of King Ahab, whom the Bible describes as one who “sold his soul to do evil.” Ahab was the son of Omri and was married to Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon.
2. She established the worship of the Phoenician gods, especially Baal-Melcarth, and had Temples built and idolatry spread throughout the kingdom. Joram had no respect for Jehovah, despite the miracles worked by Elijah.