Summary: How can we prepare our lives for the great blessing of God? A great sermon for preparing for a time of special spiritual emphasis, revival, 40 days of Purpose, etc.
"Make this Valley Full of Ditches" - II Kings 3:5-18
INTRODUCTION: How many of you have ever had a dream where you had to do something -- maybe make a speech -- or play a recital -- or go to work -- or drive a car -- and you discovered in your dream, much to your horror, that you were not prepared at all? Perhaps you had forgotten your notes, or had forgotten to practice, or had forgotten some vital piece of clothing! J One of the weirdest one’s I’ve had is one where the car is hurtling down the interstate, and no one is in the driver’s seat!! And no one in the car seems concerned about it. . .they’re all talking and having a good time… and I’m in the back seat going nuts! IF ONLY someone had prepared by putting someone in the driver’s seat before we got on the road!
Well, at least in those kinds of things, you wake up -- hopefully. However, I think you would all agree that preparation is a very vital practice!
THE theme of this passage: If we want God’s blessing, we may have to dig some ditches! In other words, we need to prepare for God’s blessing. Here are some examples from the Bible:
- Israelites marched for 6 days before the walls fell.
- Paul was alone for 3 years in Arabia after his conversion.
- Jesus prayed all night before selecting his disciples!
How did the Israelites prepare?
- Obeying when it seemed foolish.
"OK, boys, here’s what we’re gonna do! Everyone get busy digging ditches!"
Can’t you just hear the complaints? "DIG DITCHES?! I came here to fight! What’s this going to do? Is the king of Moab going to trip and fall into one of these ditches -- maybe break his neck? This has got to be the dumbest battle plan I’ve ever heard of! I don’t know about you, but I think it’s high time we got a new general!!!"
Is there anything that recently God has been talking to you about that seems like a really foolish thing? Have any of you ever noticed that if you allow it to happen, a small pile of things will pile up that you’d really rather not talk to God about?
Some of those things seem so foolish -- surely God doesn’t really care if I have a little tension between me and that person!!! I mean, our personalities don’t fit together!
- Obeying when it seemed difficult.
"This ground is too hard! And I didn’t bring my shovel." Have you ever tried to dig a ditch with a spear or a sword? In those days, no one carried a shovel into battle!
Have you said recently, "God I CAN’T do that!!" Is there anything in your life that God has talked to you about that would be really difficult for you to take care of? Daddy preached on repentance a while ago --
Perhaps it’s something in your life that you would need to repent of. That can be very difficult!
It could be going to a person and making something right. That’s not easy!
- Obeying completely. (see v. 17, 22)
How completely are you obeying God? How thoroughly? When God says "Dig a ditch in this area of your life," will it be a river-sized ditch, or a mud-puddle sized ditch?
They obeyed so completely, that (17) there was enough for the army, and their horses, and their cattle as well! Not only that, but (v. 22) there was so much left over that the king of Moab saw the sun shining off the water that was left, and thought that it was blood. They said, "All right! The kings got mad at each other, and their armies killed each other! Let’s go clean up what’s left!" A great victory was won that day, because they had obeyed thoroughly enough.
What did the Israelites receive?
- Water to relieve their thirst.
Are you thirsty? I don’t mean for what the water fountain can give you! Are you thirsty for more of God? Do you want to know Him better? Do you want to sense His presence more in your life? Do you want to have more of His power for living? Do you want to have more of His help when you try to tell others about Him?
God has put me here on this Sunday morning to hold up a big sign beside your highway: "THIRSTY?" You know, we get so satisfied with being shallow in our walk with God! We get so used to not hearing His voice clearly! We get so used to our relationship with God being just a FACT and not a DYNAMIC, daily relationship, that I think it would help if sometimes we pass a great big spiritual road sign that says "ARE YOU THIRSTY FOR SOMETHING BETTER?"