Summary: You have heard me say this before that TRIALS WILL BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU OR THEY WILL BRING OUT THE WORST IN YOU. I want to say to you this morning that if you are going through a trial it is God’s purpose to use it to bring out the best in you, and t

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Provoked to Action

This Morning we will be preaching on this thought: of being "Provoked to Action."

We have been discussing 40 day periods in the bible, some are reading Rick Warren’s book, "The Purpose Driven Life," which takes advantage of the 40 day principle in the Bible and provides a 40 devotional/topical study to help people walk in their purpose.

The idea of a designated purpose driven spiritual emphasis comes from the bible, and may have been popularized by David and Karen Mains, out of Canada, with their 50 Day, Spiritual Adventure.

It has not been my purpose not to pick one topic for 40 days, but to go through those things which happened for 40 day periods in the Bible and expound on them.

This Morning we will be reflecting on what happened to David and the children of Israel with Goliath and how it provoked David to Action.

1 Samuel 17:1-11; 16; 20-26

You will note in this passage (v. 16) that Goliath taunted the Jews for 40 days.

Their response to that taunting is found in vs. 11, and 24. They were fearful and fled.

You have heard me say this before that TRIALS WILL BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU OR THEY WILL BRING OUT THE WORST IN YOU. I want to say to you this morning that if you are going through a trial it is God’s purpose to use it to bring out the best in you, and the devils purpose to use it to bring out the worst in you. Who’s purpose do you want to see fulfilled in your life?

The forty day length of the provocation teaches us something about us as people. Sometimes things need to be purposefully addressed in our lives before change will come.

40 days simply can be understood as a trial that lingered. A taunting that continued. A trial that mocked. The purpose of which, is for something in you to rise up and tear down the enemies stronghold and provoke you to action.

Paul was followed around by a demon possessed girl for three days, before he finally got provoked enough to do something about it and cast the demon out.

We ask ourselves why did he put up with it for 3 days? Why do people put up with demonic harassment?

I think the reason this happened is because there is this principle in life that sometimes we accept things we shouldn’t until they come to what we call an intolerable level.

Bishop Joseph Garlington has a message on critical mass that has greatly impacted my life. In it he relates critical mass is the minimum mass of fissionable material that will support a sustainable chain reaction. He speaks of how God orchestrates things in our lives to bring us to critical mass.

Being provoked to action is our response to those times when God brings us to critical mass.

Bishop Garlington speaks of God bringing us to a place we were are desperate for God, and sometimes nothing will happen till we get to that place. I think the episode with Paul and the demon possessed girl is a microcosm of that fact.

So my message today is that if you are in a time of harassment, it is because God and the devil are trying to provoke you to explode, you can explode upward as Hannah and David and Paul did or you can explode downward and fall into fear, fleeing, and failure.

Our message in entitled, "Provoked to Action." If we were speaking about failures we might say, "Provoked to Run and Hide," "Provoked to Curse God," "Provoked to immorality," "Provoked to Fear and Worry."

But we are not speaking of failures, we are speaking of those who walked in victory when provoked.

In the OT the word provoked comes from a Hebrew word "Kaw - as" and it means -anger, provoked, grieved, indignation, sorrow, vex, wrath, and wroth. Most often it is said of God that He was "Provoked to Anger."

We can understand it as someone slapping you and observing your reaction. We read that Hannah the mother of Samuel was provoked for years by her husbands other wife. The bible says in 1 Samuel 1:6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

Her adversary provoked her to get this response out of her: Fretting, the Hebrew word means literally to thunder, or as we would understand it to explode.

It is interesting that the verse calls the provocateur "her adversary." The bible makes it clear that there is one called the adversary, and his name is the devil. So in this passage the adversary is provoking Hannah to action, he is attempting to make her explode. And she does, she explodes upward with prayer that was heard on high.

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