Summary: In this sermon we briefly examine the greatest hindrance to God's plan for our lives.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us in this room. God doesn't choose, call and save a soul JUST to leave him/her sit it out on the sidelines to just attend Church every week. No, He has a plan for each one of us, young or old.

We, the Church, are the body of Christ and each member, every single one has a function, has a purpose. The body has many functions, the eyes sees, the ear hears, the mouth speaks etc, but while there are those parts with special, greater functions, there are many, many other parts with rather less 'special' functions, the hairs on your head, finger nails, your neck etc, but all are needed to make up the body.

While the numbers of those 'special' parts of the body are limited, I have 1 nose, 1 mouth, 1 heart; others are more numerous, blood cells etc. And no matter what function, or what purpose you are called to do you are needed for the Church to fulfil its purpose- sharing the Gospel with a lost world.

Maybe we are called to be missionaries, maybe we are called to be evangelists, maybe we are called to be pastors or some other office in the Church. Maybe God has called us to be the next John Wesley or Hudson Taylor. Maybe He has called us to be the next Gladys Aylward or Elisabeth Elliot or maybe He's called to just be lights in our workplace or salt in our homes (I use the word 'just' for effect and not to imply that it's a lesser work of some kind).

Maybe our whole lives will be lived just to reach 1 person for one moment in time. We read a story of a man born blind and the crowd ask 'Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his sins or his father's sins?' and Jesus answers 'He was born blind so that today, in the sight of you all, I may heal him!'

Maybe we are here just to glorify God in our daily living- no great works, no great followings, no great sermons, just a simple godly life! There was a man in the Bible College I went to whose life made the biggest impact on many of the students. This man, Mr. Williams, was a Cambridge graduate, a very clever man, who dedicated his life to serving the purposes of God at the Bible College. As soon as it was light he'd be working, and he'd work until it was dark, every day without fail. He didn't teach a class or preach a sermon, and we had some great teachers and preachers at the College, but his life of dedication and service to God, even in the menial tasks of cutting the hedge or chopping fire wood, touched our hearts more than anything else.

But whatever God has for you, whatever He has called you to do, the greatest hindrance, the greatest danger is unbelief.

Let's look at this passage for a minute. The situation the people find themselves in is this- the Syrians have come to invade Israel, and the King of Syria has besieged Samaria. That is they have surrounded the place so no one can leave nor get in. As a result, there is no food and soon there is a great famine, so great in fact that the head of a donkey was sold for 2lbs of silver and a pint of dove's droppings sold for 2oz of silver. We're even told that the situation gets so bad that a woman boiled her own baby so she could eat it. This is the dreadful state the people are in, this is the point to which they have come, and so the King calls for the prophet Elisha because he wants to kill him.

And Elisha comes and says 'tomorrow, at about this time, 14 pints of flour will be sold for 2/5s of an ounce of silver and 28 pints of barley will be sold for the same price' considering the famine and the price of dove's droppings were 20 times more expensive, this could have been a little difficult to believe. But then we look at who said it. It wasn't any ordinary man, it wasn't some politician trying to win points or save his skin, this was Elisha! Now Elisha was well known to the king and all the people for being a man of God. They knew he was the successor to Elijah, and they all knew of Elijah! They all knew of his Mt Carmel victory and the other great works he'd done. And they knew Elisha had the same Spirit! They knew how he purified the water in Jericho, they heard how 2 bears had mauled 42 youths who had mocked him, they remembered the time they went up to fight Moab and after 7 days of marching there was no water for the soldiers nor the animals so Elisha said 'Dig pits in the ground for the LORD says 'tonight you shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain but tomorrow the valley will be filled with water so you may all drink', they knew how the widow's oil didn't run out until ever pot and jar in her village had been filled according to his word, they had heard how Elisha had raised the Shunammite woman's son from the dead and how he purified a pot of poisoned stew with some flour. They knew about Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army who was a leper, who came to Israel looking for healing and that Elisha, the man of God, healed him. They remembered how, just recently, when the Syrian army was planning it's attack did Elisha warn Israel of exactly where and when the Syrian armies would be, and how, when the Syrians came to capture Elisha he prayed to God and they were all blinded and then led by Elisha as captives into Samaria. They would have also heard about what happened when Elisha's servant was afraid when he saw the Syrians coming and how, when Elisha prayed, he saw the mountains around 'full with horses and chariots of fire around Elisha'

They knew these things! They were familiar with these great works of God! They knew through hands on experience that Elisha was a prophet of God, and when Elisha speaks, God speaks through Him! How unbelievable the words he said may have been given the severity of the famine, they were not Elisha's words but rather they were God's words! And they should be believed! 'Nothing is impossible for God'

Yet the officer of the king didn't believe! Even knowing the miracles of God first hand over the years, he didn't believe God now! 'Look' he said 'even if the Lord made windows in heaven, could this thing be?' to which Elisha answered 'in fact, you shall see it with your eyes but you shall not eat of it!'

And at that very time, just outside the gates of the city, 4 lepers were discussing their future. What are we doing here? If we just sit here we will die, if we go into the city, there is a famine and we will die. Let's then go over and surrender to the Syrians, and if they keep us alive we shall live, and if not then we shall only die'. And so they went, and when they got to the camp they found it empty! In the night before the Lord had caused the Syrians to hear the sound of a great army coming against them so they fled and left everything they had there- including all their food! The lepers went back and told the king who sent his people out to check and plunder the camp. And they brought back all the provisions and '...So a seah of flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said' but the officer of the King who didn't believe the Word of the Lord was trampled at the gate by people rushing to get food, just like the Lord had said.

The Jews, just having been delivered from slavery in Egypt, were promised a 'land flowing with milk and honey' and followed Moses through the wilderness to the very border of Canaan. There Moses sent 12 spies into the land to spy it out, and when they came back 10 reported a mission impossible, and only 2 believed God would deliver. And the people, remember had lived through the 10 plagues, they had seen the power of God and experienced His protection. They saw the Red sea part and walked through it. They saw the pillar of cloud that guided them by day and the pillar of fire that guided them at night. Yet they couldn't believe God now! 'Let's go up and take the land for surely God is with us and will deliver it into our hands!' the 2 spies said 'let's go back to Egypt!' cried the people! And because of that, because of their unbelief none of them, except for Joshua and Caleb, the 2 spies, would enter the Promised Land! Because of their unbelief they didn't enter God's rest! Because of their unbelief, they wondered around the dessert for 40 years until the very last of that generation had died! All because of unbelief!

And that's the danger! God had a purpose for us, He has a plan, but not only does He have the pan He also has resources for us to accomplish it. If we need wisdom, ask. If we need leadership skills, ask. If we need patience, ask. If we need the finances, ask. 'God's will done God's way will never lack God's supply'. The only danger is unbelief! And unbelief will cause us to miss out on what God has! Unbelief will cause us to miss His rest, to not experience His peace in our heart and fell His joy! Unbelief will leads only to death, maybe not physical death right away, but definitely spiritual death! The only thing that can stop God's plan being fulfilled in our life is unbelief!

The only way we can truly believe God is if we truly Expect God! William Carey said 'Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God' but I say let's go further than that. Let's not just expect God for the great things but for the small things as well, let's expect God in and for everything. And let's not just attempt things for God but let's do things for Him! Attempt can mean just a 'trying' or a trying and failing. But our God is not a failing God! He is a God of the impossible! I'd find it difficult to feed just 1 person with 2 loaves and 5 fish, but God fed more than 5000! There is no failing with God!

So we come down to this, unbelief is the biggest danger to our spiritual lives! It is the only real hindrance to the plan of God in our lives! Yes, we will face trail and yes we will face opposition from both the world and from the devil, but both have been overcome, they should hold no fear for us! But unbelief is the danger! We must believe God, we must! And the only way we can truly believe God is if we truly Expect God!