Summary: Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in life, and we can choose to either retreat, stay where we are, or go forward. God calls us to arise and go forward!
THE RESCUE #4: LET’S GO!
OPENING JOKE: While on maternity leave, a woman from our office brought in her new bundle of joy. She also had her seven-year-old son with her. Everyone gathered around the baby, and the little boy asked, "Mommy, can I have some money to buy a soda?" "What do you say?" she asked. Respectfully, the boy replied, “You're thin and beautiful.” The woman reached in her purse and gave her son the money.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY:
• The Syrians were waging war with Israel and they came to Samaria to lay siege to it.
• Soon the resources in the city ran out and the people began to starve.
• The famine was so great the people were pushed to cannibalism to stay alive.
“1 Then Elisha said, "Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria." 2 So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, "Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" And he said, "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it." 3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, "Why are we sitting here until we die?” (2 Kings 7:1-3).
• A great question! Where are you? What are you doing with the life God has given you?
• Lepers = like the walking dead.
THREE OPTIONS: Retreat, Stay, or Go Forward.
“If we say, 'We will enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” (2 Kings 7:4).
THE BIG IDEA: Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in life, and we can choose to either retreat, stay where we are, or go forward. God calls us to arise and go forward!
“If we say, 'We will enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there.”
• The first option was to go back to the city…but this was a step backwards.
• If we go backwards in our spiritual life, consequences await us as well.
• The children of Israel had this temptation: “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: "Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (Num. 11:4-5).
HOW TO WE BACKSLIDE OR RETREAT?
• We pick up old sins we have previously been forgiven of or delivered from.
• We neglect our personal devotional life and don’t pray or read our Bibles anymore.
• We don’t go to church regularly or make it a priority anymore.
• Some of you have already gone back. God’s challenge to you today:
“Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings." "Indeed we do come to You, For You are the Lord our God.” (Jer. 3:22).
“…they said to one another, "Why are we sitting here until we die?” (v.3).
“And if we sit here, we die also.” (v.4).
• They could have stayed where they were but that would have resulted in death.
• When we choose to stay where we are spiritually, we will eventually stagnate.
HOW DO WE GET STUCK?
• By sins – bad habits become bondages or addictions that we can’t break free from.
• By guilt or shame – over the bad things we’ve done in the past.
• By hurts or offenses – we can’t let go of the past
• By fear of the future – we are afraid to move forward.
• By laziness or complacency – it takes work to move forward.
• The backslider’s progression: Walk, stand, then sit:
• “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalm 1:1).
• God’s antidote = go to Jesus:
• “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1).
• Some of you are stuck. God’s encouragement to you today: