Summary: The difficulties of life are key sources for understanding and trusting God. The request to know God better is often accompanied by trials.
1. Unanswered Prayer
A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert-like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.
The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren.
After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.
Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.
Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessing, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"
"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."
"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."
"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"
"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."
2. Sometimes God gives us what we ask for and sometimes he gives us what we need
3. I Want to Know You Better! Psalm 13 (Mark)
4. Getting Our Attention: Times of Despair (1-4)
a. Mule and 2 X 4 -- warning, don't ask for more of God too lightly
b. Getting to know God requires letting go/death of the flesh.
I. Moses' Story with Israel is Our Story of Salvation
A. Israel in Egypt via Joseph
B. The Beginnings of Moses' Deliverance of the People
1. Moses' Arrogance
2. Moses' Humiliation
3. Moses' Encounter with God at the burning Bush -- Exodus 3.13
C. Moses Vs. Pharaoh
1. Courageous Confrontation
2. Increased distress -- 5.1-9; 15-21
D. God's Name Is Declared and Honored -- 5.22-6.9 (MARK and note the 4 cups)
Henry Blackaby said, "You never find God asking persons to dream up what they want to do for Him...Without doubt, the most important factor in each (Biblical) situation was not what the individual wanted to do for God. The most important factor was what God was about to do." (Experiencing God, page 66)
He adds, "God reveals His purposes (His tasks) so you will know what He plans to do... When God came to Noah He did not ask, 'What do you want to do for me?' He came to reveal what He was about to do. It was far more important to know what God was about to do. It really did not matter what Noah had planned to do for God. God was about to destroy the world. He wanted to work through Noah to accomplish His purposes of saving a remnant of people and animals to repopulate the earth." (page 99)
1. El Shaddai -- God Almighty/Provider
There was a single mother who had heard a Biblical financial teacher say, "Quit looking at your job as the source of your income. Look at your job as only one avenue, one channel the Source, El Shaddai, uses to bring finances into your life. Begin to teach your children to look to their heavenly Father as their Source, not the parents."
Her little daughter, one day told her that she wanted a bike, like all the other children. Her mother, at first was about to reply, "Honey, momma does not have extra money," because this was her typical response. However, she remembered what the teacher said in the seminar, so she told her daughter, "Let's ask the Lord for a bike". They prayed together and thanked God for hearing their prayer.
A few days later, the little girl received a check in the mail, payable to her personally. On the way to town to cash the check, they noticed a man placing a bicycle out by the side of the road. The mother stopped the car and asked the man what he was going to do with that bike. The man replied that his daughter had quickly outgrown the use of it and he was going to sell it. The little girl asked the man how much he wanted and he replied, "For you, $25.00." which was exactly the amount of the CHECK the received in the mail!"