Crash the Chatterbox - 6
2 Kings 13:14-20
June 1, 2014
VIDEO -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnN7G8HXLcw
How true is that video in your life? Have you ever felt that way about life? The chatterbox hits hard and hits right on our weakest spot. After all, the chatterbox knows us so well, because — — the chatterbox is always with us.
I love that the woman punched the chatterbox in the nose. He was shocked, dropped his coffee cup and walked away. But notice what she said — “See you tomorrow.” Ugh! That’s not what we want, is it? But that’s what happens in life, the doubts, the worries, the hangups, the apprehension, the dread, the resistance, the uncertainty. It’s all there, and it comes back . . . over and over again.
Well, today, we’re concluding our series on the Chatterbox. I hope it’s been a good series for you and helped you to understand a little more about yourself and find some ways to fight against the chatter we hear in our head and heart.
I want to start out with a little bit of bad news, but we’ll end with hope and good news. Here’s the bad news and I think most of you already know it. All of our lives we will have that chatterbox with us. We sometimes think – as we get older, as we gain more knowledge, as we get closer to Christ — — the chatter goes away, the road becomes easier.
We think, ‘well, I’m a Christian, life should be easier, not more difficult, yet, we realize that’s not the way it works. We think we life should be rosy, but as Lynn Anderson sang, “I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden.”
And friends, God never promised us we’d have no problems. He promised us the gift of life, He promised us His Son, He promised us His love, He promised to give us a purpose, He promised us forgiveness of sins . . . but He never promised us an easy life — just because you have faith in Christ. That’s not how it works. That would be nice, but there are too many of you here today who I look up to, who I know your stories, and it hasn’t been a rose garden. But you’ve endured despite the hardships of life.
Understand the chatterbox will never stop talking to us. Whatever it is that causes the chatterbox to kick in —
our lack of confidence
our self condemnation
our low self esteem
You can choose one of the above or add yours.
They don’t stop. Just like Peter we will hear our rooster crowing, then the chatterbox kicks in, whispering those sweet nothings in your heart and head. And you know whose voice most resembles the chatterbox? YOURS. It’s your voice. Because the chatterbox knows you best and speaks to you in order to defeat you.
The chatterbox doesn’t discriminate. Billy Graham said, “The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”
Or how about Mother Teresa journaling – “I speak of love for souls, of tender love for God, words pass through my lips and I long with a deep longing to believe in them.”
Mother Teresa wrote ~ “When the pain of longing is so great I just long and long for God, then it is that I feel He does not want me, He is not there. I feel nothing before Jesus — yet I would not miss holy communion for anything.”
Those are powerful words from two very famous and spiritual Christ followers. If it can happen to them, it can and will happen to us.
So, as we move towards the end of our time looking at the chatterbox, what can we do? Well, I want to look at a passage of scripture, it’s kind of obscure, and it’s not really talked about much. I’ve never preached on it, so that makes it a little more fun for me. And better yet, I believe it really applies to our lives.
The story can be found in the book of 2 Kings. We’re looking at the OT. If you remember a few weeks ago we looked at Elijah, now we are looking at the final story in the life of his protégé, Elisha.
Let’s look at the first part of this passage ~
14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!”
15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows.
16 Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king's hands.
17 And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot.
And he said, “The Lord's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.”
Very quickly, let’s see what’s happening — Obviously, Elisha is dying, but the king of Israel, Joash, comes to Elisha, knowing the nation was running out of chariots and horsemen and he knew Elisha was a true man of God, a prophet who could place a 911 call to God and God would respond. We see great faith by Joash.
Elisha tells him to open a window and take one of the many arrows he had and shoot out towards the east, toward Aphek. And Elisha assured Joash of victory against the Syrians in that battle.
So, all’s good. Joash is satisfied. He knows he will have victory. Time to thank Elisha, wish him well in his final days, board your chariot and tell the men that victory in this battle will be ours.
BUT . . . sometimes, don’t you just hate that word?! But, the dying Elisha isn’t finished with Joash. Elisha wants to bless Joash even more ~~
18 And Elisha said to Joash, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.”
Now, I’m not sure Joash knew what Elisha was getting at. If the prophet said to you to strike the ground, and you trusted in him, and you knew there was nobody else in the land, in the world, like Elisha, and he said “take the arrows in your bag and strike the ground with them” we wouldn’t ask, we just would. Wouldn’t you do this? Sure you would. Of course you would answer yes!
Now, here comes the thrust of the story. How many times would you strike the floor? Would you feel a little strange. Strike the floor one time and move on. Okay, old guy, I pacified you, now I need to move on. What does Joash do?
18 ... And he struck three times and stopped.
That’s pretty good. It’s maybe 2 more times than many of us would do. How did Elisha react to that generous pounding?
19 Then the man of God was angry with Joash and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”
You could hear Joash pleading, ‘But, Elisha, I didn’t know that’s what you wanted me to do. Why didn’t you just tell me to repeatedly pound the ground and I would have?’ But this was a test to see how much Joash really wanted victory.
You see, in our lives the chatterbox never ends. But how much victory do we want? Or are we willing to give in, to accept living at the corner of humdrum and mediocrity? How many times are you willing to pound the ground?
This is what I think really happened for Joash. He understood the number of times he struck the ground would symbolize the number of victories he would have. Typically when you went to war, you didn’t destroy your enemy in the first battle. It would take multiple battles and victories to finally win the war.
Elisha was watching and the king struck the ground 3 times, which seemed pretty good. I mean 3 is a holy number. It’s the trinity. But Elisha’s thinking ~
“Joash, oh man, if only . . . if only you kept it going, wow, what victories you would have had. I have the power to call upon the Lord of Hosts, the God of the heavenly armies to come to your aid and defeat your enemies.
Joash, look at what your God did to take this land? How much fighting did Joshua have to do at Jericho? What about Gideon fighting with only 300 men? Oh, Joash, what God could have done through you? If you only . . .!”
Joash should have kept striking the ground . . . we get that. But what does that have to do with us?
Too often most Christ followers, you and I, are content to settle for simply surviving the world. But God didn’t raise you up to survive the world, God raised you up to change the world through the power of the Holy Spirit, through the power and majesty of His church.
But . . . there’s that nasty word. But we get tired. We get tired of fighting. I do! Don’t you?! Sometimes, I’ll admit it, I don’t want to be the nice guy. Sometimes I want to look at that other person who did something they shouldn’t do and look at them and tell them the truth about themselves. Can I get an Amen for that? You see we’re human. But, nasty word . . . but God calls us to be different, to be like Him.
But the chatter says something different, the chatter is telling us to fight back the way the world fights back. That’s not God’s way, God’s way is too difficult. We struggle with it, because it calls us to be meek. Not weak, meek. When you’re meek, it means you have the power to do something, but you choose not to act. I have the power to yell and scream, but I choose not to. I have the power to use my words to beat up, but I choose to love. That’s power in action.
You see, with every victory Joash would win, it would mean another battle he would have to fight. Sometimes we get tired of the fight. And we give up the battle. We want to do the will of God, but how much victory do we really want?
How much of a difference do you want to make?
God has placed His arrows of faith, truth, grace, power and trust in our hands. They’re there. They always are. And God is saying strike, strike the ground. Yea! That’s right! Do it again and again and again. Don’t stop! Don’t give in to the enemy. Don’t settle for good enough. Settle for the best!
If you know Jesus, you know you’ve got heaven locked up! You know that’s your final destination . . . but are you going to wait to die to start living? Remember, eternal life starts when you embrace a relationship with Jesus. And Jesus will then give you all you need to defeat the enemy. Too often we choose not to accept victory. We’re putting on that armor day after day after day! Even on the weekends we have to put on the full armor of God. It becomes exhausting! But if we would do it, if we would proclaim victory over that chatterbox.
If we would crash the chatterbox
if we would pound the ground . . .
Then pound again . . . and pound again.
Don’t stop. Most do, most will.
Don’t go into survival mode
Don’t be content with humdrum and mediocrity.
Keep His promises
Pound the ground, make it a song,
Pound so that it becomes your rhythm.
make it your song.
Don’t go super fast, go at a steady pace
Pound the ground until it becomes natural.
Pound and pound and call out to God,
because it is only through God that we can ever crash the chatterbox.