Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease
Text: Luke 24:28-31
He made as though He would have gone further KJV
He acted as though He would go farther. NASB
He made an appearance of going on further, YLT
The question we want to ask today is: Would Jesus have left the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had they not "pressed Him to stay with them." I believe the answer is yes for the reasons outlined below.
The passage before us gives us much insight into the dealings of God with mankind. If we were to formulate a spiritual law from it, we would Southernize it, and say: "Squeaky wheel gets the grease."
(For those international readers to Southernize something is to say it in the idioms people residing in the southern part of the United States might use.)
When we say squeaky wheel gets the grease, we simply mean we lubricate those parts of our machinery/equipment that are making noise indicating they need/want attention. The louder the squeak the more likely we are to pay attention to it. Conversely those parts that don’t "squeak," we pay little attention to. This is a great spiritual truth. Remember Jesus taught a parable to this end: That may ought to pray and not to faint. (Luke 18)
We will break this message down into three simple parts:
Considering the Curious
Constraining Christ, (Squeaky wheel gets the grease) and,
Crying out to Christ
It is my contention that Jesus in fact, would have left the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had they not constrained Him to remain with them.
For a minute I would like you to consider who in the NT it is that got Jesus to do miracles?
The woman with the issue of blood: she broke through the crowd to touch Jesus.
Bartimaeus: He cried out, and all the more so, as the disciples tried to quiet him.
Zacchaeus: He made an extraordinary and humiliating effort to see Jesus
The Syro-phonecian woman: She regarded not Jesus classifying her and her race as dogs, but continued to press Him saying, "even the dogs eat the crumbs from the master’s table."
The paralytic: Whose friends ripped open the roof to get their friend healed.
I wander how many Bartimaeus’s there were in Jesus’ time who didn’t get healed because they didn’t make the effort to seek Him out?
Those listed above are examples of people who made great effort to reach and be touched by Jesus. Ever read this verse: Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with ALL YOUR HEART.
How must we seek God if we want to find Him? With all our heart. Making it top priority, sublimating other desires and goals. Putting that above all other desires. Pressing in, pushing on, seeking with holy determination, and passionate pursuit. You get the idea.
How about this verse? Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
According to this passage there are two things you MUST believe: 1. You MUST believe that God is. 2. You MUST believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. If believing that God rewards them that diligently seek Him, is something that God says we absolutely must believe, then it must be something that is very foundational to the Christian faith.
Do you diligently seek Him? Consider the following, and then consider your ways:
1. Considering the Curious
Exodus 3:1-4 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [even] to Horeb. Exodus 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [was] not consumed. Exodus 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. Exodus 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I.
Did you notice in verse 4 where it says: "And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him..." In other words God did not venture to speak to Moses until Moses had first responded to Gods invitation. What you don’t see an invitation? In the book of Revelation we are given a word picture of Christ’s interaction with people, "Behold I stand at the door and knock..." How is it you think Christ knocks? Do you think He actually taps on people’s hearts? In some cases he probably does. But most often I think He does some little thing to get our attention and it is only as we respond to that, that He reveals Himself in a much greater way. A nudge to prayer, a nudge to go to church, a burning bush which calls us to consider the curious.
You will notice the text says The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire, but no mention is made of Moses noticing the angel of the Lord. Instead it specifically states he was intrigued not by an angel, but by a bush that was on fire and yet not burned up. Why didn’t he notice the angel? Because, his eyes weren’t yet opened. God appeared to Him but he couldn’t ye t see Him, but he could see God’s calling card, and when He responded to that, that is when God fully opened his eyes.
God’s calling card is not God, it is an invitation to meet with Him. First the card, then the Master Himself. This is a spiritual principle.
For me it happened when I was 18 years old, in the US Navy, temporarily stationed in Treasure Island, California, waiting to be transferred to Japan. I was on Market Street in San Francisco when I heard a street preacher shouting out, "there is a burning in my heart to preach this gospel to you." Something tugged at my heart that day, I now know it was God. It began in me a search for the one who was knocking that culminated in my salvation about a year later. That preacher was God’s calling card, salvation is when I met the Master Himself.
God gave Moses a tug at his heart and Moses responded by considering this curious thing. God then spoke clearly to Him. Many times in life God will not fully reveal Himself to us, until we respond to His gently tapping at life’s door. The Lord spoke to Moses after He had seen that Moses had turned aside. O that God would teach us how to turn aside! Do you remember these lines from the old hymn, "O what needless pain we suffer, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." How oft in life do we miss God’s blessings because we did not respond to His gentle prompting. There are those who think that if God wants to say something, it is His job to make sure we hear Him. The opposite is true, we must believe that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. We must believe that He is waiting to bless those who respond to His gently prompts. Squeaky wheel Gets the Grease.
I wander how many times pastor’s have given an altar call and people felt to respond but didn’t. They leave the church and the feeling leaves with them. Perhaps all they were feeling was a gentle nudge from the Lord, and because they didn’t value it enough they missed God. They missed something wonderful. I also wonder how many times God prompted a pastor to give an altar call and he didn’t. The service ends, and the feeling ends with it, and the dismiss the feeling as unimportant because nothing happened to "make" them give and altar call. Pray that this pastor would always be sensitive to God.
2. Constraining Christ
Luke 24:28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He would go farther. Luke 24:29 And they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is [getting] toward evening, and the day is now nearly over." And He went in to stay with them.
He acted as though He would go further. He acted as though He was going to leave them. Why? Jesus wanted them to ask Him to stay. He forces Himself on no one. Here is what John Gill’s commentary says of part of verse 29:
Ver. 29. But they constrained him, The Arabic version renders it, "they held him by force": but the meaning is not, that they laid hands on him, and held him in a forcible manner against his will; but they were very urgent and importunate with him, that he would stay with them; they would take no denial. The sense is better given in the Persic version, "the disciples with importunity said unto him"; they were so pressing with arguments, that he could not withstand them:
In our previous point we spoke of God tugging at hearts to give an altar call, or to respond to one, but in this case God is telling people He is leaving while secretly hoping they will constrain Him to stay. He made as though He would go further. He probably said, "well there is the fork in the road, I will be going that way, see you guys later." But what He wanted was for them to say, "please don’t go." Jesus was courting His church, and some times in courting you put out feelers to know what your true love really feels about you. Sometimes God will put road blocks up in your way of seeking Him, because He wants you to jump over them, not be so easily swayed away from seeking Him!
3. Crying out to Christ.
Here is a third example in scripture of Christ and His waiting for us to respond before He does anything.
Mark 6:48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them .Mark 6:49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: Mark 6:50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
If you read this story in its entirety and the corresponding passage in Mt. 14, you will note that at dusk he sent them out, and He went up to a mountain to pray. While in prayer he saw them toiling in rowing, yet even though He was in prayer, and aware of their situation nothing changed. In fact about 6 hours later he comes to them walking on the water, and note from the passage: "and would have passed by them." He would have passed them by!!! They had been rowing all night long, struggling with a storm, and He would have passed them by and done nothing about it!!! What gives?
Again I believe this story illustrates the spiritual principle squeaky wheel gets the grease. He would have passed them by, but the text tells us they cried out (Vs. 49). I believe this means they cried out to God for help. I think Jesus was wanting to help them the whole time, but up until this point they were doing everything in self effort. God will let you row in circles in self effort if you want to. But if we call on His name, He will respond. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. God doesn’t force help on people. You have not because you ask not!
Close: Perhaps there are some here who have sensed that through the preaching of this message God is knocking at the door of your heart...
Perhaps there are some who need to respond to God by coming and spending a few moments at this altar...
It is interesting that the Bible pretty much ends this way: Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
God does not force, He invites, won’t you respond to His invitation this day?