Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to motivate believers with Spiritual Questions to TRUST GOD in TOUGH TIMES.
"Is the Lord among Us or Not?”
28 September 2008
U.S. Army Chaplain (MAJ) Ken Harris
504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BfSB)
West Fort Hood Chapel
BIG IDEA: Sometimes believers question God, because they find it difficult to TRUST Him in the midst of TOUGH times.
REFERENCES: John 7:37-38 (NIV) On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as[c] the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.; Nehemiah 8:1-10 (NIV) Note: Because it was the first day of a new year - Rosh ha Shanah – the priest blew the ram’s horn called shophar to celebrate; Deut. 6:16 (NIV) Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah; Psalm 81:7 (NIV) In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah; Exodus 16 (NIV); Exodus 17:1-7: Luke 4:12 NIV (The devil urges Jesus to test His messiahship by casting himself, but Jesus replies) "It says: ’Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”;
I. ANNOUNCE THE PERICOPE: Exodus 17:1-7 (NIV);
II. READ THE PERICOPE: Exodus 17:1-7 (NIV)
III. READ THE TEXT: Exodus 17:7 (NIV) And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"
IV. PURPOSE: To motivate believers with Spiritual Questions to TRUST GOD in TOUGH TIMES.
V. SERMONIC THEME: “Is the Lord Among Us or Not?”
We are living in Tough Times! Many Americans are no longer able to afford their homes. In fact, many have already loss their homes. Gas prices are high! Food cost is up! American military is currently engaged in two wars simultaneously; and many of us in attendance today will leave our families and friends and deploy to Iraq soon. And, oh yes, “our nation is currently facing arguably the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”
******* Take 5 Beats ******
MOVE 1: So, have you ever interrogated God?
a. Have you ever been in the midst of a TOUGH SITUATION where you felt like God wasn’t hearing you?
b. Have your trials and challenges ever been so great that you couldn’t even feel the familiar presences of God?
c. Have you ever felt like you had exhausted all of your spiritual resources?
d. Prayer wasn’t working.
******* Take 5 Beats *******
MOVE 2: Your spiritual books weren’t helping; and your favorite peacher/televangelist just didn’t have the right message.
a. Regardless of how one might personally feel about the 700 billion dollar Bailout of Wall Street firms’ mistakes, …
b. … it has been said that “our nation faces arguably the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”
c. Winston Churchill – the Great Prime Minister of Britain – once said, A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
******** TAKE 5 BEATS *******
Move 3: In our scripture, today, we find the Second of three accounts of murmuring caused by thirst.
a. The main issue, here, with the people of God is faith versus disobedience.
b. The people of God whose Steps had been ordered by the Lord find themselves with the Sprit of Rebellion.
c. The people challenged Moses to justify his leadership by providing water. The people of God are thirsty in the desert.
d. And they come to Moses and demand that he justify his leadership by producing water;
e. Moses appeals to God to help him in this emergency and God show him how to produce water miraculously out of the rock.
******* Take 5 Beats *******
Move 4: The fact of the matter is “although from Moses perspective, the people are illustrating a lack of faith and a stubbornness to believe God’s Word …
a. … – sometimes as believers we do have a stubbornness of heart …
b. … and sometimes as believers our faith is NOT as strong as it should be or as we would like it to be.
c. Nevertheless, God does not promise to give us what we want;
d. But, He does promise to satisfy abundantly those who TRUST in him.
e. For God always makes good of bad situations.
******* Take 5 Beats *****
CELEBRATION: A parable was once told … of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s dry well. The farmer heard the mule "braying" or whatever mules do when they fall into dry wells.
After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither that mule nor the dry well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.