Intro: Part 4 of a series of messages on:
WHY DIDN'T MY MOUNTAIN MOVE?
This series was birthed on a question a woman asked her pastor, when her sick child died... "Why didn't my mountain move? I prayed, I believed, I spoke to the mountain, but my child died." The pastor she asked, replied:
SOME MOUNTAINS IN LIFE ARE TO BE CLIMBED.
SOME MOUNTAINS IN LIFE ARE TO BE CONQUERED.
SOME MOUNTAINS IN LIFE ARE TO BE COMMANDED.
SOME MOUNTAINS IN LIFE ARE CORDONED OFF. (My addition to his reply)
This week we will be discussing: Some mountains are to be conquered.
We like when mountains fall into the sea, we like when by the grace of God we are permitted to climb the mount and enjoy fellowship in His presence, but the mountains you have to conquer, though these mountain yield the sweetest of fruits, is the one believers like the least. You see this one involves real work.
I like what one preacher once said along the lines of this topic. If God puts a mountain in your way, and you try to sidestep it, you will find that God puts it right back in the middle of your path. You see some mountains can only be dealt with by conquering them.
Caleb said "give me my mountain"
If you try to speak to a mountain you are supposed to conquer, nothing will happen.
Some people quit smoking in an instant, for many others it will be one of the biggest knock down drag out fights in their life.
They will say: "God if you love me take this away." God says if you love me:
Roll up your sleeves, dig in your heels, put up your dukes, and I promise you, you will be the last person standing.
Isn't it wonderful when God supernaturally causes the fruit of the Spirit to be revealed in your life, for example take the gift of, "longsuffering." When its a fruit of the Spirit, and it is God's character being expressed through you its easy. But what about when He challenges you to live out your Christian walk, and bring your anger and frustration with others under His control with no obvious support in your "feelings." That is a bird of a different feather. That is conquering a mountain, and not simply watching it fall into the sea.
Consider Caleb's request:
Jos 14:12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims [were] there, and [that] the cities [were] great [and] fenced: if so be the LORD [will be] with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
The Anakim were giants who live in seriously fortified cities. The first sight of them caused the hearts of 10 of the original 12 spies to search out Israel to melt in fear.
Nu 13:28 Nevertheless the people [be] strong that dwell in the land, and the cities [are] walled, [and] very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
Nu 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, [which come] of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Caleb was a visionary for God! He saw the impossible, believed God, and didn't consider for a second an easier route.
David once said, "I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing." (1 Chron 21:24)
Some things in life will never come to us, unless we count the cost and pay the price, even though God has given them to us! The promised land was given to the Jews by God, some of their enemies God supernaturally removed by sending hornets in to chase them away. Many others the Jews were required to conquer and remove.
The sad truth is that over and over again we read in the book of Judges that the children failed to drive out the inhabitants. This was despite this warning from God: Nu 33:55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them [shall be] pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
Too many Christians have places in their heart from which they have never evicted the enemy, and the result is unnecessay trouble.
Joshua like Caleb, possessed a different spirit, listen in to this conversation he had with the tribe of Joseph:
Jos 17:14 ¶ And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me [but] one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I [am] a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?
Jos 17:15 And Joshua answered them, If thou [be] a great people, [then] get thee up to the wood [country], and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.
Jos 17:16 And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, [both they] who [are] of Bethshean and her towns, and [they] who [are] of the valley of Jezreel.
Jos 17:17 And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, [even] to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou [art] a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot [only]:
Joseph's descendents complained they didn't have enough room. Joshua responds by telling them to go whoop up on some giants and take it from them. They answer back, "but they have chariots of iron." ...There it is, the little excuse, everyone has on that special shelf, that we bring out everytime we want to explain away our failure to conquer our own personal mountain.
The problem is that those excuses only work with others who also use them. Joshua would have none of that!
Joshua in an inspired pastoral moment says to them, 1. You are a great people, with great power. 2. You will extend your borders. 3. You will drive them out, even though they are strong.
I think what he was really doing was being a cheerleader, and trying as hard as he could to get their eyes off the problem and on who they were in God. Remember this verse: "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
As long as you focus on the chariots of iron, you will walk in defeat. When you remind yourself that it is Christ in you the hope of glory, that you will go from defeat to victory.
As we have said serveral times in this message, there are times God supernaturally deals with our problems, other times He is our personal cheerleader telling us to be bold and strong in the Lord. He stands on the sidelines and watches to see what we will do.
Here is an example of that very thing from scripture:
Jud 3:1 ¶ Now these [are] the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, [even] as many [of Israel] as had not known all the wars of Canaan;
Jud 3:2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;
Jud 3:3 [Namely], five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath.
Jud 3:4 And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
I know the bible says if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. But it also talks about being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Being a Christian doesn't mean fear of public speaking instantly dissappears. For many that is one of the five lords of the Philistines, God has left to test you with.
Read the passage in Judges again: God left 5 lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, Sidonians, and the Hivites. He didn't leave just one issue to test them with, but quite a few of them! Don't you think its about time you stopped waiting for God to just get rid of them, and started kicking them out. He will help you, but you need to put forth some effort.
The next time you feel like saying, "God if you love me take this thing away," remember He may be saying, "If you love Me, fight and demonstrate your love.
As I close think about the following:
You are a great people. You can dispossess your enemies. You can forgive when it is hard. You can do better with your finances. You can loose weight. You can quit smoking. You can have a better marriage.
How many today are under conviction that they have only been giving to God that which cost them nothing, or little?
How many are facing an enemy with chariots of iron? You are a great people you will drive them out, and conquer your mountain.
Prayer for those facing battles.