Summary: What do we do when we do God's will and things don't work out the way we intend for them to work out?
Take Courage, You Must Also_________________
Have you ever did something you felt led by the Lord to do and you believed you had a good motive for doing so, and it still seemed to blow up in your face? David had been running for his life trying to get away from King Saul. I can imagine David had been thinking, “what can I do to show Saul that I’m still wanting to be on his side?”
The Philistines, who were Saul’s enemy were destroying the city of Keilah. David asks the Lord, “should I go and help the city of Keilah, and the Lord says yes go up.” David is thinking this is a win-win situation. Saul will see that I’m fighting against his enemies, and let go of his anger toward me, and the people of Keilah will welcome me with open arms and surround me with appreciation.
David’s men didn’t want to go so he inquired of the Lord and second time and God said. “ go, I will surely give them over to you.” David does so and the Lord is true to his word. He defeats the Philistines and liberate the city, but then nothing follows the Script that David had in mind.
Saul sees David’s action not as an olive branch to be reunited, but as serious military blunder in that he is inside a walled city that could easily be taken. The people of Keilah appreciated what David had done, but not enough to have his back against Saul. They will turn on David in a minute if it meant a chance to save themselves.
David watched his future plans fall apart, and he became greatly discouraged. It was Jonathan, Saul’s son, who came and helped David to find his strength in God. He told David, “don’t be afraid, eventually we all know that one day you’re going to be King.” But that’s not what David was feeling inside. Doing God’s will in God’s timing was very frustrating for him.
Paul and Silas and a few other fellows, were just eager to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were going to light a blazing torch for Jesus through the province of Asia with church planting, only to discover the Holy Spirit would not allow them to preach there. They figured out then, let’s bring the good news of the gospel to all the lost souls in Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to go there.
I mean, what’s up with this, hadn’t Jesus told them to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Then Paul received a vision of a man from Macedonia and decided, this is where God wants us to preach the gospel in power and plant a few churches. Little did they know a severe beating and jail time was waiting for them there in Macedonia.
One morning, I got to church about 5:45 in the winter, and there was a homeless woman on the porch sleeping under some covers. I woke her up and told her she could warm up inside if she liked. She came in and went to sleep in the classroom. The following Sunday the woman was there again sleeping.
I shared this with the staff and with Session and we felt the Lord was calling us to start some type of homeless ministry for people overnight. We went to the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless to see what the need was as they saw it. They told us what was really needed was a warm space from 7am to 6pm when the women and children had to leave the shelter on Saturdays.
The response from the church to serve during those hours was overwhelming. We scheduled people and activities and meals were all organized. The Northeast Ohio Coalition told us to expect 25 to 50 people as they let others know about our overflow backup option. We were so glad to be able to move for God in this way. The first week, the shelters sent us 0 people. The next week 0 people. The next week 0 people. We concluded, maybe the Lord hadn’t called us to this ministry. We had wanted to go in this area, but somehow the Spirit of Jesus didn’t allow it.
When you read chapters 20 and 21 of Acts, you get this picture that Paul has a burning desire to get to Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost. We don’t know what Paul was wanting to happen when he got there, but it must have been something big, because nothing could stop him. Prayers and prophecies of warnings of being chained up were brushed off, with Paul saying “I am ready to die in Jerusalem if that’s what it takes.”