• Do you ever need a little shade in this life?
John Maxwell tells a story that illustrates the importance of a positive attitude. A newly married woman insisted on going to the California desert so she could be near her military husband. The only place the couple could find to live was a rundown shack near an Indian village. The daytime heat was unbearable-105 degrees in the shade. The dry wind blew constantly, covering everything with dust. None of the Indians spoke English. The young wife was miserable.
Then she learned that her husband was going deeper into the desert for 2 weeks. So she wrote her mother and asked if she could come home.
In her mother’s reply were these words: "Two men looked through prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars." As the woman read those lines over and over, she decided to change. She would look for the stars.
She set out to make friends with the Indians. When they saw her genuine interest, they taught her weaving and pottery. She learned their culture.
Then she began to study the desert itself-its cacti, Joshua trees, and seashells left behind by the sands of an ocean floor.
Not only did she survive, she became known as an expert on the area and later published a book about it.
Gen 21:15-18 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, "Let me not look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation."
1. Have you ever had to make the most of a difficult situation?
2. The desert is a picture of difficulty and opportunity.
3. The bush described here is believed by some scholars to be the desert broom Tree which provides a spot of shade and a break from the sun.
4. This tree would prove to be important on the desert journey.
• Let’s first look at “Relief of Shade
A. When the Heat is On We Seek Shade
Ill. If you were to walk down the aisles of any pharmacy in America you’d find that one of their most popular products is pain killers. They have shelves that are packed with bottles Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Tylenol etc. If you want, you can buy them in huge jars holding 250 pills. Other shelves contain tubes of "rub-on pain relief" like Ben Gay and Aspercream. Or, you might want to check out various types of chemical ice packs and heating pads. Pain relief is big business in America. We spend billions every year because none of us want to hurt. As a matter of fact, Time Magazine reported in 2004 hat Americans spent about $2.6 billion in over-the-counter pain medications and another nearly $14 billion on outpatient analgesics in 2004, the most recent data available. Everyone wants to live a comfortable life.
1. Life’s difficulties sap us like heat in the summer.
2. Examples: Disease or chronic pain; Death of loved ones; Job-loss; Divorce; Rebellious child . . .
3. Some difficulties come by our own doing - Adam and Eve
4. Some by the hands of others - Sarah and Abraham with Hagar; 10 and 2 Spies
• God is Our relief from the Heat
1. He is our shade
Psalm 121:5-6 - The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
Isaiah 25:4 - For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
2. He is our shade for the NOW.
a. We still have to walk in the desert.
b. But more relief is promised - more Broom Trees along the way.
c. Jonah received and lost shade from God (Jonah 4).
C. There are times when we become shade for others.
• As Abraham, we are blessed to be a blessing
• A description of Israel. Shade was God’s plan for a nation.
Psalm 80:8-10 - You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.
Ezekiel 17:23 - On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest.
2. Jesus offers rest for the weary - Matthew 11.28-30 - Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
3. What does this say about the Church? - James 1.27; Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
II. Reflections on Shade
A. Shade is Sure
1. What do you need for Shade? Light and an Object.
2. We have the light. We just need to be available.
C. Shade is Steadfast (Indestructible, the clown cannot sweep away)
1. Remove shade by removing light or the object.
2. Influence continues - reason we are careful about what we say/do
3. God is indestructible and steadfast - no beginning and no end.
4. God wants our influence to last.
100 years after John Wesley had preached in a certain village, an English Nobleman stopped in the town to buy a drink of alcohol. He could not find a single store that sold liquor.
D. Shade/Shadow is a Symbol of a Person
1. Powerful influence of the Christian life.
2 Corinthians 3:2 - You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.
2. Be sure to express proper influence.
God makes provision for his people
a. Shade for Ishmael.
b. Wells of Water - Genesis 21:19 - Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
2. God continues making provision for us
a. Shade for the journey
b. Living water:
John 4:6-15 - Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." 11 The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock." 13 Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water."
John 7.37-39 - On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
3. A difference – God’s provisions last, Man’s do not
a. Food and Water given by Abraham did not last
b. Only what God gives lasts.
• Finish with a couple of questions.
• Where do you look for your shade? Like Hagar, do you call out to God?
• Do we seek to meet our own needs through our own resources?
• Do we expect others to come to our rescue?
• No doubt, we are to care for one another.
• But we need to look to God to provide our needs.
• Second question, what kind of provisions are you allowing God to make through your life to others?
• Are your assets available to God to use any way He desires, or are they yours?
• Historically, God’s true people have been willing to part with anything God has placed in their hands to promote His kingdom.
• We must be open to depart from anything and everything if God so calls.
• To do less than that is disobedience.
• For the past forty years Eunice Pike has worked with the Mazatec Indians in south-western Mexico. During this time she has discovered some interesting things about these beautiful people. For instance, the people seldom wish someone well. Not only that, they are hesitant to teach one another or to share the gospel with each other. If asked, "Who taught you to bake bread?" the village baker answers, "I just know," meaning he has acquired the knowledge without anyone's help. Eunice says this odd behavior stems from the Indian's concept of "limited good." They believe there is only so much good, so much knowledge, so much love to go around. To teach another means you might drain yourself of knowledge. To love a second child means you have to love the first child less. To wish someone well--"Have a good day"--means you have just given away some of your own happiness, which cannot be reacquired.
• Wouldn’t it be awesome if God’s people lived like the supply from God was unending?
• What if our message is that as long as we are generous, God will continue to show His love through us to others.
• Luk 6:38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."