Summary: God can cause good things to come out of your worst Troubles
Exodus 5:1-6:1 Pounding us Flat and straightening us Out (July 11, 2004)
Paul Li and I had a job to do last week at my house. We laid interlocking brick on my driveway. That was bad enough, but the really had work had to be done before the bricks were laid. We had to dig out 11 inches of dirt. Then lay 6 inches of gravel and 3 inches of sand. Even that wasn’t the worst; we had to pound it down. To do that we had to rent a machine called a compactor. It was very heavy. About 240 pounds. We got it and then had to figure out how to use it. First we started it. Then we tried to move it. It wouldn’t move. We played with it and found out that the way to move it was to get it pounding at the fastest speed. It then drags you around the driveway, pounding everything flat. If you keep your toes out of the way, it will do the job for you with no trouble. My driveway is now finished. It did not take long, thanks to that machine. If I had not got the machine and tried to do it by hand, I would be still pounding away.
Need: Our lives are often like that driveway. They need pounding into shape. To do that God allows trouble into our lives. Troubles are God’s compactors. They pound away at us causing us to think right, live right, and trust in God right. This is very important, for if it were not for the troubles we face, we never give a thought to God, or the danger we are in as we live in this world.
Topic: Life’s Troubles (Exodus 5:22-23; 6:1).
Theme: God can cause good things to come out of your Worst Troubles
I. Troubles teach us the Truth about his life (5:22-23).
a. One of the most important lessons we need to learn, and it is not an easy one, is that this life is not our friend.
b. If you have ever tried to do farming, or even gardening, you will know this is true. To make your garden nice you literally have to fight it. To keep it nice you have to keep on fighting it. If you do not it will beat you.
c. Living in this life is like pushing a rock up hill. You have to keep the pressure on, or it will roll back down again.
d. Our motto should be “I live, therefore, I struggle.” All of us struggle. It does not matter who we are, it does not matter how old we are, or how rich we are. We all struggle. All living things have to struggle to survive. Darwin called it Survival of the fittest.” I would call it “the troubles of the breathing.” If you breathe you are going to have trouble.
e. When we are born, what is the first thing we experience? A smack to make us cry and take our first breath. And those smacks will continue till the very last breath we take. Every day will bring it’s own difficulties. Now the fact that you struggle every day should teach you something about the nature of this life. This life is not human friendly. To struggle is to live
f. James shared last week about a Chinese man who committed suicide. What happened? He decided that he was not going to fight anymore. He gave up doing what we all have to do.
g. Nor does becoming a Christian mean that you will not have to struggle anymore. Christ told his followers very plainly that in this life they would have troubles. Our troubles do not stop until we get to heaven. There are some churches that will preach that if you are a Christian then in this life you will have blessings. That may be true spiritually, but it is not true physically.
h. Mr. Zhang (Able) was telling me this week in the car that Chairman Mau once said, “To fight against heaven, the earth and your enemies is delightful.” Even Mau knew that life was a struggle. Though I don’t think it is delightful - it might be necessary, but not delightful.
i. This life is like those pit bull terriers. The owners will tell you how well behaved they are, how loyal, how gentle, but then you will hear about one that turns on a child and rips it to pieces. Ah, now we see the real nature of the dog. But we should have known it from the beginning, it was obvious. Just look at its jaws and teeth. It does not have teeth like that so that it can eat grass. No, it has jaws like a lion so that it can act like a lion. Those teeth are warning us that it is savage and dangerous. It is the same with the world. We think it is nice, and gentle, until it bites us and then we begin to see its real nature.